Golf-Theegala channels Woods with iconic Masters chip
By Frank Pingue
AUGUSTA, Georgia (JP) – Sahith Theegala may not have garnered much attention when he arrived at Augusta National this week but the Masters debutant left a lasting impression, most especially when he evoked one of the greatest shots in the tournament’s rich history.
The highlight of the day for Theegala came when he evoked memories of Tiger Woods’ 2005 chip at the par-three 16th hole that remains one of the best shots in the history of the Masters.
The iconic Woods chip is also 25-year-old Theegala’s first memory of the Masters.
Theegala missed the green with his tee shot but then, with patrons surrounding him, he chipped onto the green and watched as his ball curled down a slope and speed into the side of the hole for a birdie, prompting wild scenes.
“You should have seen how many people said, ‘Do it for Tiger’, ‘Tiger chip-in’, and all that stuff when I was over there,” said Theegala.
“I can’t wait to watch the replay because I don’t know what I did. I don’t even know the angle the ball took. I was just blacked out when I hit the chip because I was just so happy to get it on the green.”
Theegala, an American-born golfer of Indian descent, began the final round 11 shots back of 54-hole leader Brooks Koepka. In the final round, he mixed seven birdies with two bogeys for a five-under-par 67 that left him at five under on the week.
Theegala, who went out in the first pairing, was within four strokes of the lead when he stepped up to his penultimate hole, which he bogeyed, and despite coming up short it was still a round that he will never forget.
“I think once I get some time to look back at it, I’d say it’s the most enjoyable round of golf because I played really well, and the energy was so good,” said Theegala.
While Theegala’s effort was not enough to walk away with the Green Jacket, he will leave Augusta National with a much greater belief that his game is trending in the right direction.
“It just gives me a little bit more confidence and just makes me a little bit more comfortable with the best guys in the world, and I know I still have a long way to go to kind of get to that level that I think I can get to,” said Theegala.
“It’s just going to require a lot of work and a little bit of luck.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue, editing by Pritha Sarkar)