Pepperdine’s Theegala Wins Haskins Award

Sahith Theegala of Pepperdine on Friday was named winner of the 2020 Fred Haskins as national men’s college player of the year in a telecast on Golf Channel.

Theegala, a fifth-year senior from Chino Hills who is a graduate of Diamond Bar High School, beat out the other two Haskins Award finalists, John Augenstein of Vanderbilt and Davis Thompson of Georgia.

“Ever since I started college I had a goal to be one of the top college players when I was done with school,” Theegala told Golfweek. “I look at the guys that have won the Haskins Award … all these guys are winners on Tour and legends of the game.

“I went through the list and literally recognized every one of them. The thought of being on a list with names like that means the world to me.”

Theegala, who missed last season because of a left wrist injury, was ranked No. 1 in the nation by Golfstat and Golfweek/Sagarin when the season ended because of concerns over the Coronavirus pandemic.

Pepperdine was No. 1 on the men’s team rankings.

A two-time All-American, three-time All-West Conference and four-time All-West selection, Theegala captured the Alister MacKenzie Invitational and the Southwest Invitational this season while finishing in the top 10 six times and the top 20 in all eight events the Waves played.

Theegala, who won a school-record four times in his Pepperdine career, posted a school-record 69.04 scoring average this season, finishing under par in 17 of his 24 rounds. He also holds the Wave’s record with a 70.61 career scoring average.

“I knew he was really good,” Pepperdine Coach Michael Beard said of impression of Theegala as a freshman, telling him he could be al All-American. “Most of the things I did that freshman year was look for opportunities to encourage him and let him know how good he really was.

“He can be a sweet, kind, thoughtful person, and at the same time he’s a cold-blooded killer on the golf course. He’s not out there to play to prove that he belongs, he already knows he does.

“It’s been so neat to see how he’s come in and how he’s leaving (school), both in golf and how he is as a person.”

Theegala’s amateur victories include the 2020 Australia Master of Amateurs Championship, the 2019 Southern California Golf Association Championship, the 2017 Sahalee Players Championship, the 2015 Orange County Championship, the 2014 Los Angeles City Championship and the 2014 Coronado City Championship.

Previous winners of the Haskins Award include Tiger Woods of Stanford, Phil Mickelson of Arizona State, Justin Thomas of Alabama, David Duval of Georgia Tech, Patrick Cantlay of UCLA, Graeme McDowell of Alabama-Birmingham and Northern Ireland, Curtis Strange of Wake Forest, Matt Kuchar of Georgia Tech, Bill Haas of Wake Forest, Luke Donald of Northwestern and England, Justin Leonard of Texas, Scott Simpson of USC, Ben Crenshaw of Texas, Jay Haas of Wake Forest, Bob Tway of Oklahoma State, Brad Faxon of Furman and Bobby Clampett of BYU.

Other winners in recent years include Matthew Wolff (2019) of Oklahoma State and Agoura Hills, Calif.; Norman Xiong (2018) of Oregon and Canyon Lake; Beau Hossler (2016) of Texas and Rancho Santa Margarita; Maverick McNealy (2015) of Stanford and Portola Valley; Patrick Rodgers (2014) of Stanford; Michael Kim (2013) of California and San Diego, and Kevin Chappell of UCLA and Fresno.

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