COTO DE CAZA, CA (August 23, 2016) -- Sometimes match play just isn't fair. Turning in two of the best rounds of the day, Corby Segal and Sahith Theegala couldn't both advance on to the semifinals of the 2016 SCGA Match Play Championship, as there had to be one winner and one loser in their epic quarterfinal match Tuesday at Coto de Caza G&RC. With an incredible round of 6-under par, Segal managed to beat Theegala 1 up to advance to the Championship's semifinal.
"I'm kind of choked up right now," said Segal after the match. "He's a really nice man and a great young player. It was very special to shoot 6-under and beat him 1 up. It was quite a match."
Segal got off to an incredibly hot start, collecting birdies on each of his first three holes and jumping out to a 2 up lead over the Pepperdine University sophomore. But Theegala would win holes 7 and 10 to tie the match, and from there, the two would put on one of the best displays of golf this tournament has seen all week, matching each other shot for shot.
"I started off really well, making some birdies right away, and I put myself in a good frame of mind," said Segal.
But Theegala, who is fresh off a quarterfinal appearance at the U.S. Amateur last week, would win the 11th hole with a par to take his first lead of the afternoon, one that was quickly wiped away by a Segal birdie on the following hole. Then on 14, Segal would knock in a 4-foot putt for birdie to take a lead he would never relinquish, although it would get stressful down the stretch.
On Coto de Caza North Course's 15th hole, a 175-yard par 3, Theegala looked like he would tie the match, sticking his tee shot to about 8 feet while Segal left his in the frontside bunker. But his short game is always what keeps him alive, and Segal would hole the bunker shot, right ahead of Theegala matching his birdie with a great pressure putt just seconds later.
The two would par out the rest of the way, with Theegala sniffing birdies on holes 17 and 18, missing by a combined 12 inches, and leaving his comeback attempt just short.
"I told him a story about a time I left a big putt about 6 inches short in the Mid-Am a few years ago," said Segal. "I remember telling myself moving forward not to leave those putts shorts, and I could tell he knew what I meant. If either of his putts had gone just two inches further, they both would have been made."
For Theegala, the loss ends an incredible stretch of golf that began 16 days ago at the Canadian Amateur, where he finished 7th. He then played two rounds of stroke play and four rounds of match play at the U.S. Amateur, before his three rounds of golf in two days here at Coto de Caza. The Chino Hills resident has played 13 rounds of tournament golf in the last 16 days.
Segal, however, is not done yet, as he will look to become the first mid-am to win this Championship. However standing in his way is high schooler and defending champion Dan Erickson, who defeated Robbie Foster of Indio in 20 holes to advance to the semis for the second straight year.
On the other side of the bracket, five-time SCGA Mid-Am Champion Tim Hogarth is looking to win his first SCGA Match Play title, and will face Tyler Gulliksen of San Diego at 7:50 a.m. Wednesday. Gulliksen was pushed to the brink Tuesday, defeating veteran Dan Sullivan in 21 holes to claim his semifinal spot, draining a 30-foot putt in extra holes to secure the victory. Hogarth made his way to Wednesday action with a 1 up win over Satch Hermann.
The final match will take place right after the semifinals on Wednesday.