Sahith Theegala of Pepperdine got a knock on his door in Chino Hills and learned that he had been selected as winner of the 2020 Ben Hogan Award for his play in college and amateur events over the last year.
Theegala, a redshirt senior, said the award came as a surprise even though he already had claimed the Fred Hawkins Award as the best player in college golf during the 2019-20 season, which was cut short by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s definitely a big surprise that they came knocking on my door with the award there, but it was super cool,” Theegala said. “It’s so special for me, and my family and my coaches. It meant the world to me. Winning the Ben Hogan Award, that’s something that’s going to take some getting used to, but I’m super excited.
“If I don’t have my teammates there or my coaches there or my Pepperdine family there or my actual family there to push me, I don’t think I get this award. We were so competitive as a team this year. Those guys pushed me every step of the way to become better. Obviously being the No. 1 team in the country, that certainly helped.
“We had a couple of All-Americans and were such a deep team that every time I went to practice or stepped into a tournament those guys were pushing me really hard, so I attribute a lot of this to my Pepperdine team.”
Theegala beat out the two other finalists, John Augenstein of Vanderbilt and Ricky Castillo of Florida, for the Hogan Award.
Theegala, who missed last season because of a left wrist injury, was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the Golfstat and Golfweek/Sagarin national rankings when the season was halted after winning the Alister MacKenzie Invitational and the Southwest Invitational this season. He finished in the top 10 six times and the top 20 in all eight events the Waves played.
In addition to claiming a school-record four victories during his career with the Waves, Theegala posted a school-record 69.04 scoring average this season, finishing under par in 17 of his 24 rounds. He also holds the Waves’ record with a 70.61 career scoring average.
In addition to his victories for Pepperdine, Theegala won 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.
Theegala became the fifth player to earn the Haskins and Hogan awards in the same year. The others were Patrick Rodgers of Stanford (2014), Ryan Moore of UNLV (2005), Bill Haas of Wake Forest (2004) and Hunter Mahan of Oklahoma State (2003).
And Theegala also is a finalist for the Jack Nicklaus Award, another national player of the year honor, and the winner will be announced next month.