Sahith Theegala (L) and Alex Smalley lead at -4
(John McCoy/Elite Performance Coaching photos)
JOHNSTOWN, PA (June 13, 2018) - At the end of a day lengthened by soggy conditions, delayed tee times and strong winds, Sahith Theegala
’s round ended on a high note. Theegala, the Pepperdine standout and the reigning Sahalee Players champion, chipped in on the 18th green for a share of the Sunnehanna Amateur lead after one round at Sunnehanna Country Club.
Thanks to overnight rains in Johnstown, Pa., start times for the first round were delayed by two hours on Wednesday. Conditions were not easy and changed from wind and rain to sun and back throughout the day. Add the weather to thick rough and slick greens, and top players struggled. Theegala and co-leader Alex Smalley
were among just eight players to post a round under par on Wednesday.
Smalley, of Wake Forest, N.C., climbed into a share of the lead with a birdie on the par-4 closing hole. Most recently, Smalley helped his Duke team to a quarterfinal run at the NCAA Championship. Last summer, Smalley won stroke-play qualifying at the U.S. Amateur.
Smalley led the field in par-4 scoring, playing those holes in 5 under. It was two shots better than any other player.
Behind Theegala and Smalley, California natives Seb Crampton
and Justin Suh
are tied for third at 3-under 67. Suh made the turn with a bogey at No. 10, then ran off three birdies in a row. He ended with a bogey that knocked him to 3 under, one shot off the lead. Crampton also bogeyed the 18th to drop out of the lead.
The Sunnehanna, a prestigious amateur event with a 65-year history, features a deep field
. On Wednesday, however, those top players struggled to get around this A.W. Tillinghast gem. Most notably, Collin Morikawa
, the No. 2-ranked amateur in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Ranking
and the 2016 Sunnehanna champion
, posted 6-over 76 for a share of 80th. There were no birdies on his card.
, runner-up at the NCAA Championship, also went without birdies. He posted a 4-over 74 that left him tied for 61st with a group of players that included Brad Dalke
, the 2016 U.S. Amateur runner-up who led Oklahoma to a national championship a year ago, and Austin Eckroat
, a member of the Oklahoma State team that won the national championship last month.
, a three-time Walker Cupper and Pittsburgh native, managed to do one better and was tied for 44th. Smith, who has won five USGA championships and won the Sunnehanna in 2011
, is lending his voice to tournament committee for the first time
ABOUT THE Sunnehanna Amateur
The Sunnehanna Amateur was inaugurated in
1954 -- it was the first country club
sponsored 72-hole stroke play competition for
in the United States. The
tournament is played on a classic A.W.
design. Only one other amateur
tournament in the United States can list the
Chick Evans, Arnold Palmer, Julius
Boros, Art Wall, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson,
Woods, and Rickie Fowler as
contestants: the United States Amateur. Its
format has been emulated by
countless amateur tournaments across the
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