‘Exceptional’ Indian-American Golfer Sahith Theegala of Pepperdine University

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Sahith Theegala, a junior at Pepperdine University, Malibu campus, posted the most dominant individual victory in the history of the institution at the golf tournament Jan. 30. This photo is from the Waves Challenge. (Photo: Jeff Golden courtesy Pepperdine U)

Sahith Theegala, a junior at California’s Pepperdine University, Malibu campus, made his university proud when he posted the most dominant individual victory in the history of the institution at the golf tournament Jan. 30. At the tournament played over two days at the Saticoy Country Club, his team also scored a record-setting total in its own Waves Challenge category, a release from the university said, a 37-stroke victory over an earlier 33.

“This was the largest margin of victory that one of our players has ever won  – and by a wide margin — 16 shots over our previous record of 9,” Roger Horne, assistant athletic director for golf, told News India Times. The record of 9 shots was set by Dean Kobane at the 1989 West Coast Conference Championships.

“He (Theegala) had the advantages of playing on our course, but it’s a very tough course and he really managed to play very exceptional golf over the two days,” Horne said emphasizing the description of Theegala’s game.

For Theegala, the favorite thing about golf is how “the mental toughness needed to play this sport at a high level is unbelievable and it requires your attention all the time, even though it may not necessarily require the most physical ability,” the young man says on his profile carried by the university.

Born in Orange, Calif., Theegala is the son of Karuna Theegala and Muralidhar Theegala. He has one sibling, Sahan.

Theegala is majoring in sport administration, and on his bio posted on the University website, he says he chose to attend Pepperdine because of “the amazing coaches, great location, awesome campus, close to home, the school’s small feel, the good academics and the great golf facilities.” He enjoys basketball, video games, cars and chess, and one of his favorite movies in Bollywood’s 3 Idiots and his favorite musical groups are Blasterjaxx and Keys N Krates. Henrik Stenson is his favorite pro golfer, and he likes the television show Black Mirror. He loves Thai fried rice.

Though still young, Theegala’s career achievements include having the best scoring average (71.00) in Pepperdine history after two seasons. Plus, he is already sixth on the Waves’ all-time below-par rounds list with 38. In 26 career tournaments, he has achieved 19 top-20 finishes and seven top-10 results. He has won several recognitions along the way, including earning the Golf Coaches Association of America/PING All-American third team status. PING is an American manufacturer of golf equipment. The Indian-American youth also got the Golfweek All-American honorable mention honors as a sophomore; the West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Year and an All-WCC first team and GCAA/PING All-West Region selection. He was a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus Award; was ranked #16 nationally by Golfstat and #33 by Golfweek/Sagarin, and the list goes on and on.

He qualified for the 2017 U.S. Open in the Junior/Amateur category;  Won a Collegiate Showcase event to earn an exemption into the PGA Tour’s 2017 Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club, where he made the cut and finished tied for 49th; was named the Southern Golf Association’s Amateur of the Month for February 2017; and numerous other achievements.

Theegala graduated from Diamond Bar (Calif.) High School in 2015; played four years on the varsity and was on the All-Sierra League first team all four years. He was the Sierra League’s Athlete of the Year as a senior and the League MVP as a junior.

At the latest tournament in Saticoy Country Club, Theegala shot 11-under and crushed the field with a school-record 16-shot margin of victory, which led to his second college win. The Waves finished with a two-day total of a 13-over 877 (297-297-283) at the par-72 Saticoy Country Club, far ahead of second-place UC Santa Barbara (914), the university website said.

 

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