JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — In his first weekend in contention on the PGA Tour, California rookie Sahith Theegala is handling the pressure and his golf just fine in the Sanderson Farms Championship.
Theegala began the back nine Saturday at the Country Club of Jackson with three straight birdies, had an eagle chip spin 360 degrees around the cup and finished with a 5-under 67 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.
Cameron Tringale had a pair of eagles from long range with his putter and his wedge to match his career best on the PGA Tour with a 62. He was one shot behind, along with Sam Burns and Denny McCarthy, who each shot 65.
Theegala was at 18-under 198.
“Definitely a little nerves in there for sure,” Theegala said. “But I think people have said before pressure is a privilege, and I’m trying to use those nerves to my advantage.”
Will Zalatoris, the rookie of the year last season while playing on unlimited sponsor exemptions, was tied for the lead entering Satuday with Theegala and Nick Watney. Zalatoris didn’t make a birdie over the final 12 holes. He shot 72 and fell five shots behind in a tie for 16th.
Watney took a late double bogey on the 16th hole and shot 71, leaving him four back.
Theegala was the consensus NCAA player of the year as a senior at Pepperdine, a season that was cut short by the pandemic. He had to bide his time between the Korn Ferry Tour and limited PGA Tour starts until making it to the big leagues with ease at the Korn Ferry Tour finals.
His brilliant back nine could have been even better. Theegala drove through the green on the reachable 15th and hit a beautiful pitch that somehow spun all around the cup without dropping, sending him to his knees in disbelief.
“I can’t wait to see the replay of that to see what happened because it literally looked like more than a 360,” Theegala said. “I didn’t have the greatest vantage point, but it was literally…
Source : cbssports