Sahith Theegala finished the first two events of the FedEx Cup playoffs in the top 15, but it wasn’t enough to push him into the Tour Championship, missing out by one spot. Here the 2023 Fortinet Championship Recap!
After that disappointment, Theegala didn’t pick up a club for a week and a half and also switched irons for the first time in seven years.
The moves paid off, as Theegala won his first PGA Tour title at the Fortinet Championship in Northern California.
“It doesn’t feel real,” Theegala said after the victory. “It’s probably not going to set in for a while. But man, that was a lot of good golf, and that was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.”
Theegala, who opened the tournament at +1850 and was one of our picks to win last week, was sixth here last year and was in contention in 2021 before a rough final round set him back on the leaderboard.
There would be no such trouble for the Southern California native, who had a large contingent of family come to wine country to cheer him on in the final round—around 35 friends and family. Theegala bogeyed his final two holes but had no trouble in winning with a 21-under 267, two shots ahead of S.H. Kim.
“I go to bed at night these last few days and I’m like, I can’t believe how many people are cheering for me and rooting for me,” Theegala said. “… They meant everything. Just like the way I am, I kind of keep my head down and keep going and stay focused, but I secretly just loving the cheering. It gets me fired up. And just knowing that I have that support no matter the good golf or the bad golf, they just have my back, and I hope they know that I have their back, too.”
Theegala’s 64 on Friday was the winning move, as he didn’t look back after that, carding a 67 on Saturday and 68 on Sunday.
Kim’s runner-up finish helps him in the PGA Tour’s new fall schedule format. The highest finishers outside the top 50 in the standings will earn entry into the first two Signature Events on the 2024 PGA Tour schedule.
Also needing a round was Justin Thomas. Despite shooting a 72 on Sunday after opening the day just two shots off the lead, the 2021 PGA Championship winner needed a strong finish before the Ryder Cup in two weeks, and he got it with a fifth-place finish.
Ahead of Thomas was Australia’s Cam Davis in third, and Eric Cole placed fourth. Brendon Todd was sixth, while two-time defending champion Max Homa tied for seventh with Troy Merritt, Callum Tarren, and Matt Kuchar.
For Justin Thomas, Max Homa, and 10 other top American golfers, the Ryder Cup competition begins on Sept. 29 from Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome. The PGA Tour takes a break until the Sanderson Farms Championship, taking place in Mississippi in three weeks’ time. Mackenzie Hughes is the defending champion of that event.