Pepperdine's Theegala Qualifies for U.S. Open
His sophomore season just ended with the second-best scoring average in program single-season history.
MALIBU, California -- Sahith Theegala added another chapter to what has been a tremendous year for the Pepperdine men's golfer, as he shot a 7-under 136 on Monday at a U.S. Open Sectional qualifier to earn a spot in his first U.S. Open.
The top six golfers were slated to advance from the qualifier held at Big Canyon Country Club and Newport Beach Country Club, and Theegala (Chino Hills, Calif./Diamond Bar HS) tied for fourth place, one stroke better than the cut.
Theegala was way off the pace after opening his day with an even-par 71 at Newport Beach Country Club. But he came storming back thanks to a 7-under 65 at Big Canyon Country Club. He had nine birdies in all, including a stretch of seven in eight holes midway through the round.
"I'm super excited, obviously," Theegala told the SCGA after his two rounds. "At the start of that stretch, being realistic, even if I played well here, I'm not going to make it. So I'm just going to have fun, hit shots and see what happens. And I got on a run of birdies, started making everything. I felt confident in my ball striking and felt like I could hit it anywhere near the hole and have a chance of it going in."
The U.S. Open is next week (June 15-18) at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis. This is just the second time known that a Pepperdine golfer has qualified for the U.S. Open while still a student-athlete, with Theegala joining Andrew Putnam in 2010. Theegala will become the seventh Wave overall to play in the U.S. Open.
This won't be the first professional tournament Theegala has played this year. In February, Theegala won the Collegiate Showcase ahead of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club, giving him a spot in the nearby PGA Tour event. Theegala made the cut and finished in a tie for 49th place.
Theegala just completed a remarkable sophomore season in college with a tie for 19th place at the NCAA Championships. He's been named to the GCAA/PING All-West Region and All-West Coast Conference first teams, and he was the WCC's co-Player of the Year. He was also a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus Award. Full All-American teams have yet to be announced.
Theegala posted a season scoring average of 70.95 (second-best all-time in Pepperdine single-season history). He had five top-10 finishes, while his 12 top-20 results (out of 14 tournaments) rank tied for fourth in program single-season history, and his 21 below-par rounds rank third. He won the Southwestern Invitational at North Ranch Country Club in February.
He ended the season ranked #16 nationally by Golfstat and #33 by Golfweek/Sagarin.
Theegala helped Pepperdine to a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Championships and to a #20 national ranking by Golfstat (the best finish and ranking for the program since 2004).
Another Pepperdine alum, Michael Putnam, was the first alternate out of a qualifier in Columbus, Ohio.