June 12, 2017: It is not often that a nineteen-year-old collegiate kid gets to strut his stuff at a major tournament. Just as Indian golf fans were hurting from the absence of Anirban Lahiri, relief comes in the form of Sahith Theegala, son of migrant Indians and a sophomore in Pepperdine University. The 19 year old is making waves in the amateur circuit in the USA and it will not be a major surprise if he struggles to sleep Wednesday night, in anticipation of his debut at the US Open.
Sahith though isn’t entirely a stranger to the big league. He won a collegiate showcase to pinch his way into the Genesis Open earlier this February. Sahith played with Phil Mickelson over that weekend after making the cut in his very first event on the PGA TOUR.
Sahith started the Genesis with a brilliant 67 before posting a nervous 73 in the second round. But that was just about enough to help the Indian American stay over for the weekend. Sahith ended the week in a tie for 49th place, playing in the exalted company of Phil Mickelson and J B Holmes. It was an experience at the Riviera that will be hard to forget for the 6’3” amateur golfer.
Entering the weekend at 2-under, Sahith showed tremendous poise under the lights. Playing in the company of Mickelson, Sahith held his own with admirable scores of 71 and 71 in the final two rounds. The confidence he gained at the Riviera in February will clearly be reinforced when he has a go at the Erin Hills course this week for the US Open.
“I was almost too excited to have expectations,” he said. “I’ve been playing well, but playing well here kind of shocked me.”
“The experience of playing with Phil,” added Theegala. “It’s something I’m never going to forget.”
At Erin Hills this week, Sahith will be encouraged by the fact that the USGA chose to tend the fescue at four of the holes. Their action makes those holes more manageable, giving increased hope to Sahith and the thirteen other amateurs in the field this week in Wisconsin.
Sahith Theegala has an 0857 am tee off from the tenth hole, playing with Daniel Miernicki and Tyler Light. India will be rooting for the young man and his family to enjoy a great week in Wisconsin.