NAPA, California — Indian American golfer Sahith Theegala finally captured his first PGA Tour title, building a big lead early and closing with a 4-under 68 in the Fortinet Championship to win by two shots over S.H. Kim.
With nearly three dozen family members and friends from Southern California cheering him on, Theegala started at Silverado with a two-shot lead and birdied three of the opening five holes. No one got close to him the rest of the way.
Justin Thomas, playing for the first time in six weeks, birdied the last hole for a 72 and finished alone in fifth. This was his only tuneup ahead of the Ryder Cup that starts Sept. 29 in Rome. Two-time defending champion Max Homa shot 69 and tied for seventh.
Theegala made a bogey on the final hole of the BMW Championship that kept him out of the Tour Championship, ending his season on a sour note.
Even though he already is set for all the $20 million signature events next year, he wanted to play at Silverado because he loves the tournament and competition.
It paid off in a big way. The victory gets him into the Sentry Tournament of Champions and assures his spot in the Masters.
Elsewhere, Ryan Fox overcame a three-shot deficit and a triple bogey early in the final round with six birdies on the back nine – the last one from 6 feet on the 18th hole – for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot victory over Aaron Rai and Tyrrell Hatton in the BMW PGA Championship.
Ludvig Aberg, the Swedish rookie, never recovered from an atrocious start of his own. He took two double bogeys on the front nine with poor chips and missed putts. He missed five putts from inside 6 feet. He closed with a 76 and tied for 10th.
That turned the back nine at Wentworth into a free-for-all among four players chasing the flagship event on the European tour in the rain and a one-hour delay from lightning in the area.
Hatton opened with five birdies in seven holes and had the lead until he drove out-of-bounds on the 15th and did well to make bogey. A birdie on the 18th gave him a 66 and a momentary tie for the lead. Rai two-putted for birdie on the 18th for a 68 and joined Hatton.
That set the stage for Fox, who chose to lay up on the 18th and hit wedge to 6 feet.
Europe had five Ryder Cup players finish in the top seven in their final start before going to Marco Simone to face the Americans.