Joe Highsmith (L) and Sahith Theegala (Pepperdine photos)
Barring a historic comeback or a historic collapse, the 25th Sahalee Players Championship will go to one of two Pepperdine University teammates.
Joe Highsmith (Lakewood, Wash.) and Sahith Theegala (Chino Hills, Calif.) separated themselves from the field in the third round at Sahalee Country Club, pulling so far ahead that it looks like everyone else is playing for third place.
Not only are they the only two players under par through 54 holes, they are 9 under and 7 under par, respectively.
Highsmith, a former Washington State Amateur champion, overcame two front-nine bogey 6s to post a 3-under 69 to maintain his lead at 9 under.
Theegala, who won the 2017 Sahalee Players in a playoff for his first big national amateur win, was five shots behind after Highsmith birdied the par-5 11th hole, but finished fast with birdies on the final four holes to pull within two shots with a 69 and an 7 under total.
The next low score in the elite field is 1-over, shared by a large group of six players, including Chris Crisologo (Canada) who started the day at 3 under but struggled to a 76.
The defending champion Cole Madey (West Linn, Ore.) is also in that group after a 68, alongside Oregon Amateur champion Spencer Tibbits (Vancouver, Wash.), Derek Hitchner (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Mason Anderson (Chandler, Ariz.).
A Theegala win would complete a remarkable comeback from a wrist injury that sidelined him for 10 months and derailed an ascent to the top 10 of the amateur golf rankings.
Either way, odds are that the champion will be carrying a Pepperdine Waves golf bag when play concludes on Wednesday.
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
View Complete Tournament Information