- Pepperdine Men's Golf photo
Pepperdine senior Sahith Theegala
(Chino Hills, Calif.), a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers basketball fan, donned the jersey of his boyhood hero Kobe Bryant en route to winning the Southwestern Invitational at North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, Calif.
Theegala found out during the tournament practice round that Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash not far from where Theegala lives.
Understandably devastated by the news, Theegala was able to summon the perseverance to lead his team to a victory, while closing out the individual title for himself with a 6-under 66 in the final round.
Before he closed out the win with a two-putt on the final hole, he pulled out a black No. 8 Kobe jersey and donned it for the finish.
“He was my sports idol, as well as millions and millions of other people,” said Theegala to Brentley Romine of the Golf Channel
. “To lose him a couple days ago was absolutely devastating and heartbreaking, and I was just really happy I could pay respects to him.”
For Pepperdine, it was a dominating 17-shot win over Arizona State and USC and a fast start to the spring season. For Theegala, it makes him 2-for-2 on the year, having won the prestigious Australian Master of the Amateurs
earlier this month. He also won the Alister Mackenzie Invitational
for the Waves in October.
It was his second individual win in the Southwestern Invitational, having first won it in 2017
ABOUT THE Southwestern Invitational
54-hole men's college tournament with team (best
scores of five players) and individual competitions.
Southwestern Invitational is the combination of two
tournaments: the Southwestern Intercollegiate
(started by USC in 1978) and the Jones Invitational
(hosted by Pepperdine since
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