Doug Ghim tops Sahith Theegala in extra holes at U.S. Amateur

Doug Ghim tops Sahith Theegala in extra holes at U.S. Amateur

Amateur

Doug Ghim tops Sahith Theegala in extra holes at U.S. Amateur

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – After Sahith Theegala’s drive on Riviera’s famed par-4 10th hole hit a Bottlebrush plant and the Pepperdine junior got up and down for birdie to take a 1-up lead in his Round-of-32 match on Thursday, Theegala’s father picked up part of the plant that had broken off on impact.

Good luck, Murli Theegala thought, so he carried the Bottlebrush with him all the way to the 19th hole. Unfortunately for the Theegala’s, however, that’s where Sahith’s run at the 117th U.S. Amateur was ended by Texas senior Doug Ghim.

“I’m obviously disappointed, but I lost to a great player,” Theegala said. “He’s probably ranked top 10 in the world, easily (Ghim is seventh in the WAGR), and I know how good he is. So there’s nothing to be really bummed about here.”

The matchup had the look of a semifinal or final match (seven birdies were made between the two players), but that’s how things play out sometimes at this championship. Theegala, who uncharacteristically struggled with his putter, had a chance to win, too. He took the 17th hole with birdie to bring the match back to all square, but Ghim responded on the next hole, getting up and down from left of the 18th green to force extra holes.

“Played 18 perfectly,” Theegala said. “I hit three shots that I thought were perfect, too. And he hit an unbelievable chip from the left side to control that spin and get it only a couple feet past. You can’t do much better here.”

The second time around the par-4 first, Theegala mis-clubbed, finding the front bunker. Ghim knew he couldn’t follow Theegala in there.

“I was like, it doesn’t matter where it really is as long as I’m right of the bunker and right of the pin,” Ghim said.

So he hit in onto the back-right fringe and walked away with a winning par. Ghim moves on to face Joey Vrzich in the Round of 16 while Theegala turns his focus to what figures to be a promising year at Pepperdine.

“Sahith played great, and I was just doing my best to not let it get away,” Ghim said. “I knew Sahith wasn’t going to make that many mistakes, and so I did my best to hang in with him; made a couple of putts.

“Unfortunate it ended the way it did, but I’ll take a ‘W’ any way that I can get them.”

(Fly the ‘W’, maybe? Ghim, of Arlington Heights, Ill., has been wearing a Chicago Cubs hat this week.)

While Theegala posed for photos with family and friends to cap his week, Ghim and his father (and caddie), Jeff Ghim, headed in for a quick lunch and then to the range. They have another 18 holes today.

As for that Bottlebrush plant, Murli Theegala is bringing it home to plant it in his yard.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home