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Theegala earns spot in Genesis Open

February 13, 2017

By Julia Pine

Pacific Palisades, Calif. - In front of family, teammates and coaches, SCGA Member Sahith Theegala earned the biggest exemption of his young career, shooting a 1-under par 69 at the Genesis Open Collegiate Showcase Monday at Riviera to secure a spot in this week's PGA TOUR event.

"This is an unbelievable opportunity," said Theegala of Chino Hills. "This will no question be the biggest tournament I've ever played in, and I'm just looking forward to making the most of it and having some fun."

In an event unlike any other, the Collegiate Showcase gives NCAA athletes from participating schools the opportunity to tee it up with a PGA Pro alum from their college and compete for the final exemption into the Genesis Open field. Theegala, playing with PGA Professional Jeff Gove, won not only the individual competition, but also the Team Challenge, earning $50,000 for the Pepperdine golf program.

"This is a unique event unlike any other," said the VP & Championship Director of the Tiger Woods Foundation Mike Antolini. "This is the only PGA TOUR event to also include an NCAA competition, and we congratulate Sahith on today's play and welcome him into the Genesis Open field!"

Theegala topped five other collegiate golfers to earn the berth, just beating out Tyler Collier of UCLA by a stroke. Theegala made the turn at 2-under par, and held the outright lead throughout the entire back nine, extending his advantage to 2 with a late birdie on No. 17. The buffer ended up coming in handy, as Theegala three-putted 18 for his only blemish of the day, capping a 1-stroke victory with a two-footer for bogey in front of a gallery that included many of the Theegala family.

"They are always out supporting me, and it feels great to have them here," said Theegala. "They obviously want what's best for me, and their support means a lot."

Theegala, who played Riviera for the first time on Wednesday, will play an official practice round tomorrow in advance of Thursday's first round of action.

The appearance in the Genesis Open will be the first PGA TOUR start for the Pepperdine sophomore, who is coming off a tremendous year of golf. After an impressive run at the 2016 U.S. Amateur that resulted in a quarterfinals appearance, Theegala also made the quarterfinals of the SCGA Match Play Championship. This year's U.S. Amateur will be held here at Riviera CC.

Others competing in the Collegiate Showcase event, which is in its third year, were Colorado’s Jeremy Paul, Kentucky’s Tyler McDaniel, Texas’ Gavin Hall, UCLA’s Collier and Washington’s Corey Pereira. PGA TOUR players Jordan Spieth, J.B. Holmes and Kevin Chappell were among those who played alongside the collegiate players from their respective alma maters.

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Handicap Index: 13.4
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Congratulations! That’s awesome. Best of luck to him this week!