Men's Golf Heads to Dallas for SMU Event

Clay Feagler (Tim Cowie photo)
Sept. 21, 2017

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MALIBU, California — The Pepperdine men’s golf team, coming off a solid start to the 2017-18 season, heads to SMU’s Trinity Forest Invitational this weekend. It’s the first of two trips to Dallas this fall.

EVENT INFO — The Trinity Forest Invitational will be held at the par-71, 7,302-yard Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, Texas. A single round will be played each day between Sunday and Tuesday (Sept. 24-26). Live scoring will be available on Golfstat.

FIELD — In addition to Pepperdine, the 13-team field also includes host SMU, Auburn, Ball State, Clemson, Florida, Iowa, Kansas State, North Texas, Oregon, Texas, Texas Tech and USC.

PEPPERDINE LINEUP — The Waves’ lineup will feature junior Sahith Theegala (Chino Hills, Calif./Diamond Bar HS), sophomore Clay Feagler (Laguna Niguel, Calif./Dana Hills HS), sophomore Joshua McCarthy (Danville, Calif./De La Salle HS), sophomore Hunter Epson (Long Beach, Calif./Wilson HS) and freshman RJ Manke (Lakewood, Wash./Bellarmine Preparatory School). Manke will be making his college debut.

RANKINGS — The Waves opened the season ranked tied for 23rd in the Bushnell Golfweek coaches poll. Lance Ringler of Golfweek picked the Waves 15th in his preseason rankings.

EVENT HISTORY — This is the inaugural Trinity Forest Invitational.

LAST TIME OUT — The Waves took fifth place at the season-opening Gopher Invitational (Sept. 10-11) at Windsong Farm Golf Club, while Sahith Theegala took third place with a 6-under 207.

THEEGALA — Junior Sahith Theegala is halfway toward one of the best careers in program history. The 2017 All-American ranks #1 all-time in Pepperdine history in scoring average (70.92) through two-plus seasons.

Theegala owns two of the top five single-season scoring averages in program history: 70.95 as a sophomore (#2) and 71.06 as a freshman (#5). He has 41 career below-par rounds, already #6 in Pepperdine history, in 78 total rounds. He’s finished in the top 20 in 20 of 27 career tournaments, including T-19th at the 2017 NCAA Championships. He has one career victory (the 2017 Southwestern Invitational).

Theegala earned All-American third team status from the GCAA and honorable mention from Golfweek in 2017, and he was a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus Award. He was the 2017 WCC co-Player of the Year, the 2016 WCC Freshman of the Year and is a two-time All-WCC first teamer. He ranked #16 by Golfweek in the final 2017 individual ratings.

SUMMER 2017 HIGHLIGHTS — Sahith Theegala qualified for the U.S. Open (his second professional event of 2017 after he tied for 49th place at the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open in February) ... Theegala, Roy Cootes, Clay Feagler and Joshua McCarthy all qualified for the U.S. Amateur, with Theegala reaching the Round of 32 (he was a quarterfinalist in 2016) ... Theegala won the Sahalee Players Championship.

ROSTER — The eight-man roster breakdown is one senior, two juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen (six returning letterwinners and two newcomers). Four of the five players are back that helped the Waves finish second at the 2017 WCC Championships, third at the NCAA Stanford Regional and 13th at the NCAA Championships. All four — Sahith Theegala, Roy Cootes, Clay Feagler and Joshua McCarthy — made the 2017 All-WCC first team and all of them were also preseason All-WCC picks for 2018. They led the Waves to their first appearance at the NCAA Championships since 2011 and the program’s best result since 2004.

BEARD — Former Pepperdine All-American Michael Beard, a two-time WCC Coach of the Year, is in his sixth season as the Waves’ head coach. He returned to Pepperdine in December 2012 after spending the previous season-and-a-half as an assistant at Arizona State. He earned WCC Coach of the Year honors in 2016 and 2017. The Waves won the 2015 WCC title and advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2017. Beard competed for the Waves between 1999-2002 and was a GCAA All-American honorable mention selection in both 2000 and 2002. He was the medalist at the 2000 NCAA West Regional and the 2002 WCC Championships and was a four-time All-WCC first teamer. He has still played in more rounds (162) than anyone else in Pepperdine’s history. After playing professionally for several years, he served as an assistant coach at Pepperdine for one season and helped the Waves to make the 2011 NCAA Championships.

HOME EVENTS — The Waves will host two tournaments in the spring. The Waves Challenge will be held from January 29-30 at Saticoy Country Club in Somis. It will be the Waves’ first tournament there since winning the WCC Championships in 2015. The Southwestern Invitational will once again be held at North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village from February 26-27. The Waves are the defending champions at that event.

FOLLOW ONLINE — The squad is on Twitter (@PeppGolf), Facebook (/PeppGolf) and Instagram (peppgolf). You can also follow @CoachMBeard on Twitter.

PEPPERDINE GOLF HISTORY — Thanks to its victory at the 1997 NCAA Championships, Pepperdine will always be known on a national level for its outstanding men’s golf program. The Waves have made nine appearances at the NCAA Championships since 1993 and have achieved NCAA Regional berths in 22 of the last 26 years. In the West Coast Conference, they’ve won a league-best 18 championships since 1987 and have finished either first or second in 24 of the last 31 years. The Waves have been successful sending players to the pros and had a program-best four alums on the PGA Tour in 2015.

ABOUT PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY — Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men’s sports — one of just 18 schools to have accomplished this feat — and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment, is the only school without football and is the only university that has not been affiliated with a “major” conference. The Waves have won a total of 25 team or individual national championships in their history. Pepperdine has also earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that’s given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). Located in scenic Malibu, California, the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation’s most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #46 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.



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