Joe Highsmith (Pepperdine Athletics/Twitter photo)
A pair of Pepperdine teammates are in the lead after the opening round of the Sahalee Players Amateur. The event at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash., is one of the first major amateur events on the West Coast, but that’s unimportant for the leading Waves. Both men have made noise across the country already this summer.
Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Wash., fired rounds of 70-68 on an opening 36-hole day to reach 6-under and the solo lead. His senior teammate Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills, Calif., is right behind him at 4 under (72-68).
Theegala spent the past 10 months recovering from a wrist injury that resulted in surgery. Before last month at the Sunnehanna Amateur in Johnstown, Pa., Theegala hadn’t teed it up in a tournament since the 2018 U.S. Amateur. Still, Theegala finished 12th at that event. The Sahalee should produce plenty of good vibes – Theegala won this event in 2017.
As for Highsmith, the Sahalee comes on the heels of two top-25 finishes on the East Coast. Highsmith was in the final group at the Sunnehanna, but slipped to eighth place. He finished 23rd at the Northeast Amateur two weeks later.
All of these Pepperdine headlines could bode well for the Waves come September. Theegala, healthy again and with a year of eligibility remaining, will be back on the roster. The next generation looks good, too. Three days ago, incoming freshman William Mouw won the California Amateur in Monterey.
Behind the Pepperdine duo at Sahalee, Canadian Chris Crisologo played his way to 3 under with steady rounds of 70-71. Oregon native Riley Elmes is fourth at even par.
Another Pepperdine player, Joshua McCarthy, is 3 under and part of a three-way tie for ninth.
Defending champion Cole Madey, who plays for UCLA, opened 72-77 and at 5 over, is tied for 18th.
ABOUT THE Sahalee Players Championship
Inaugurated in 1992, the Sahalee Players
Championship (SPC) at its inception strove to
annually showcase the best amateur golfers in
the Pacific Northwest. As the stature of the
club continued to grow as a result of hosting
the 1998 PGA Championship and 2002 World
Golf Championships-NEC Invitational, the SPC's
founders decided to make the SPC a truly
international amateur event. As such,
invitations to the Sahalee Players
Championship are extended only to the finest
amateur players worldwide. Those asked to
compete will face the same challenge as the
professionals at the PGA Championship and
WGC-NEC Invitational — 72 holes at stroke
play over Sahalee's demanding South and
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