Sahith Theegala Gets Hot, Takes Share of Lead at Fortinet

Sahith Theegala Gets Hot, Takes Share of Lead at Fortinet
Sahith Theegala of the United States plays a shot from a bunker on the 11th hole during the second round of the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., on Sept. 15, 2023. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Field Level Media

Sahith Theegala holed out for eagle from a greenside bunker and added seven birdies to finish in a tie for the second-round lead at the Fortinet Championship on Friday in Napa, Calif.

Seeking his first win in his 74th tour event, Theegala fired an 8–under 64 to move to 12–under 132, tied with South Korea’s S.H. Kim, who shot a 67 on Friday at Silverado Resort’s North Course.

They are one shot clear of South Korea’s Sangmoon Bae, who posted a second-round 66. Eric Cole (66) is alone in fourth at 10 under, and Kelly Kraft (69) sits in fifth at 9 under.

Theegala began his round on the back nine, where he birdied three of his first six holes before registering his only bogey of the day at the par-4 16th hole. The California native got the stroke back at the par-5 18th before he drained a double-breaking, 48-foot birdie putt at the par-3 second.

“I was able to get off to a good start, birdied all the par 5s and just kept it rolling from there,” Theegala said. “I made a couple of momentum putts on early, on 3 was probably the biggest one. Yeah, it was a great round.”

Theegala’s eagle came at the par-5 fifth, where his shot out of the sand bounced softly and tracked straight into the cup from more than 47 feet out. He finished the round with birdies at Nos. 6 and 9.

Kim is looking to join Nico Echavarria (Puerto Rico Open) and Vincent Norrman (Barbasol Championship) as rookie winners this season

“I started off with a birdie today and overall I’m happy with my round,” Kim said. “There was a couple of obstacles at the end, but I’m glad I saved some pars to keep the momentum going. ... I just want to show some consistency in my game like I did the first two rounds and look forward to the weekend.”

Bae is aiming to join Max Homa and Brendan Steele as multiple winners of the event.

“You know, always excited to be here,” Bae said. “Always happy to play here, so nothing special. I was trying to keep playing my golf. Then today a little windier than yesterday. (It) was a little struggle putting speed on the green, but it was good.”

Homa, the two-time defending champion, and Justin Thomas are among the five players tied for sixth at 8 under. Playing one last tournament before they head to Rome for the Ryder Cup later this month, Homa carded a 66 on Friday and Thomas hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation en route to a 67.

“It was good,” Homa said. “I thought it was clean. I had a couple, a couple weird holes, but other than that, I feel like I did OK. ... I need to play a bit cleaner if I’m going to make a run this weekend, but the game feels pretty good. Just taking care of some kind of sloppy golf swings.”

Australia’s Lucas Herbert, who opened with a 9–under 63 to lead after one round, tumbled down the leaderboard Friday thanks to a 75. He is now tied for 19th at 6 under.

Notable names missing the cut of 3 under par include Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink at 1 under. Johnson and Cink will turn their attention to Rome as the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s captain and vice captain, respectively.

The Fortinet Championship is the first of seven events in the newly designed “FedEx Cup Fall” series. Players need to finish the fall in the top 125 of the points standings to retain full eligibility for the 2024 season. The top 50 players from this summer’s FedEx Cup playoffs are already locked in.