Indian-American Theegala comes close, finishes 2nd to Schauffele at Travelers

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – SEPTEMBER 06: Xander Schauffele of the United States plays his shot from the 11th tee during the third round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 06, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

CROMWELL, Conn, JUNE 27: Indian-American Sahith Theegala came ever so close to his maiden PGA Tour title and he seemed to have done everything right including some great birdie putt, till he came to the 72nd at the Travelers Championship.

Leading by one over Olympic champion Xander Schauffele, the Indian-American Theegala put his tee shot into the bunker and the lie was right up the face of the trap.

He was unable to come out of it with his first attempt and the blasted his way out with the second. By the time he ended he had a double bogey after his bogey putt lipped out.

Schauffele won his sixth PGA Tour title with a three-stroke swing on the final hole, hitting to 3 feet for birdie. A stroke ahead entering the day, Schauffele finished with a 2-under 68 at TPC River Highlands to beat Theegala and Poston by two strokes. The Olympic champion had a 19-under 261 total. Theegala shot a 67, and Poston had a 64.

For Schauffele this was the sixth PGA TOUR win and the second this season after teaming with Patrick Cantlay to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April.

Earlier Theegala birdied the short par-4 15th hole to pull into a tie for the lead. He looked calm and composed and ready for his maiden success. On the 17th Theegala was in the divot for his bad lie but hit his approach to just inside 11 feet and converted the birdie to take the lead.

Then came the error of judgement. He hit his drive on 18 up against the front lip of the left fairway bunker. His attempt at a miracle shot failed and the ball moved only a few inches. By the time he was through with sand he had played three shots and the pitch with his fourth went further. On his fifth shot the ball lipped out and the double-bogey turned his one shot lead to a one-shot deficit.

Meanwhile, the third-round leader Xander Schauffele, playing behind him, birdied the 18th hole for a 68 and took a two-shot win over Theegala (67) and J.T. Poston (64).

Theegala was near the top of the leaderboard all day and grabbed a share of the lead on 15, driving the green on the par-4 hole and making a 4-foot birdie putt. He overtook Schauffele with an 11-footer for birdie on 17. Then came the drama of the 18th and Theegala will have to wait for his first win.

Theegala was trying to become just the second rookie to win this season, joining Chad Ramey, who won in the Dominican Republic.

Amateur Michael Thorbjornsen was fourth at 15 under after a 66.

Rory McIlroy, who shot an opening-round 62, also finished at 9 under with a 67 on Sunday. He said he won’t play again before the Open Championship at St. Andrews next month.


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