Pepperdine's Sahith Theegala grabs another one of college golf's top honors, winning the Ben Hogan Award
Sahith Theegala couldn’t claim the trophy he most desired in the 2019-’20 college golf season—an NCAA team title for his Pepperdine Waves. That doesn’t mean he’s not grateful for the other prizes that have been coming his way.
On Tuesday night, the fifth-year senior who made his pro debut last week in an Outlaw Tour event, won one of college golf’s biggest individual honors, claiming the 2020 Ben Hogan Award, given to top player based on his play in college and amateur events.
Theegala topped fellow finalists John Augenstein of Vanderbilt and Ricky Castillo of Florida, to pick up his second national POY award after earning the Fred Haskins Award last month.
In an ordinary year, the Hogan Trophy Award Foundation and the Friends of Golf present the award to its winner at an black-tie gala at Colonial Country Club. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic that abruptly forced the end of the college season in March prevented the dinner from taking place in Fort Worth. Yet Eddie Merrins and Sal Cimbolo, representing the Friends of Golf, came to Theegala’s house in Chico Hills, Calif., and presented him with the crystal trophy while also giving him an invitation to compete in the 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge.
“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.”
Theegala finished the abbreviated college season with two individual wins in eight starts, four additional top-10 finishes and no finish outside the top 20 while boasting a 69.04 scoring average in 24 rounds.
Once again in claiming an individual prize, Theegala couldn’t help but suggesting the honor was more of a team accomplishment.
“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,” Theegala said. “We were so competitive as a team this year. Those guys pushed me every step of the way to become better. Obviously being the number one 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.”
There remains one more national college golf POY honor still to be handed out: Jack Nicklaus Award during the week of Memorial. Theegala is among the finalists. Should be take the top honor, it will mark only the fifth time in the last 17 years that one players has grabbed all three honors, the last coming in 2014 with Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers