Sahith Theegala finally has a PGA Tour title to his name after he rounded off a fine week to capture the Fortinet Championship at the Silverado Resort in Napa, close to where he grew up.
Theegala, 25, enjoyed a very impressive rookie campaign last season, although he twice failed to convert a 54-lead into victory.
However, despite a group of big names queuing up behind him, including two-time Major winner Justin Thomas, Theegala stayed in control on Sunday, much to the delight of his friends and family who had turned out in large numbers to cheer him on.
It was the first tournament of the FedExCup Fall, and one that the former star at Pepperdine will remember for a long time.
“It doesn’t feel real,” he said after the win. “It’s probably not going to set in for while. But man, that was a lot of good golf.”
Theegala entered the final round with a two-shot lead and could have been forgiven for letting his mind drift back to last season when he found himself ahead with 18 holes to play on two separate occasions.
However, he laid down a marker straight from the off, making birdie at the 1st, and he made further gains at the 4th and 5th.
Despite not having total control of his ball off the tee – he missed over 50% of the fairways over the course of the week – Theegala’s touch around the greens was exemplary, and when he birdied the 14th with a 20-footer he had extended his lead to four shots.
This was not a tournament that he was going to let slip from his grasp, and after posting a 68 he finished the day where he started, two shots ahead of the field.
Mutual respect 👏@JustinThomas34 was there to congratulate @SRTheegala after his win @FortinetChamp. pic.twitter.com/vPtX2iUbUxSeptember 18, 2023
S.H. Kim, who was the co-36-hole leader with Theegala, finished runner-up at 19 under. Ryder Cup-bound Thomas, in a bid to validate his Ryder Cup captain’s selection, finished alone in fifth, his best result since a solo fourth at the WM Phoenix Open in February.
Max Homa, who will also be appearing in Rome in two weeks’ time, finished tied seventh on 13-under par.
This week was all about Theegala, though, and as the crowd chanted his name, his…