Sahith Theegala wins the Fortinet Championship in Napa for his first PGA Tour victory

NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Sahith Theegala made more than enough birdies to cover his mistakes as he played into the lead Sunday, shooting a 4-under 68 for a two-shot victory at the Fortinet Championship, his first victory in 74 .starts on the PGA Tour.

Theegala, 25, who started the day with a two-shot lead, stood out by playing his first five holes in 3 under while being followed by a large group of cheering friends and relatives, including his parents .

“No matter the good or bad golf, they support me. It’s a team win,” Theegala said, his parents beside him on the 18th green. “It’s not just a win for me, it’s a win for the whole family.”

Theegala finished with seven birdies and three bogeys, including one after hitting a tee shot that landed in a fairway bunker on a different hole. With a three-shot lead, he hit his drive and layup into the rough on the par-5 18th hole and chipped in for a 6. He finished at 21-under 267.

SH Kim (68) was second and Cam Davis (70) was another shot behind.

Justin Thomas had his worst round of the week in his final preparation for the Ryder Cup in Rome, closing with an even par 72 to finish six shots behind. Max Homa, two-time defending champion and American teammate of Thomas, finished with a 69 to tie for seventh.

A Californian and the son of Indian immigrants who played in college at Pepperdine, Theegala reached the Tour Championship as a rookie last year, then missed out on a spot before a return to East Lake last month. Along the way, he had close visits to Phoenix, Hartford and Sea Island, endearing himself to fans.

Theegala overcame his mistakes this time with consistent iron play and superb putting. His three bogeys were one more than in the first three rounds combined. Each time, he stood up.

Theegala dropped a shot at the par-4 sixth hole after hitting his tee shot directly into a fairway bunker at No. 9. He responded by hitting a wedge to 13 inches from the hole for birdie at the par-4 eighth, then made another bogey at #10.

Theegala birdied three of the next six holes, and after a par at the 17th, he enjoyed the cheers from the gallery as he walked to the green on the 18th.

Kim, one of the best putters on tour, played bogey-free and made four birdies on the back nine.


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