Little-known Sahith Theegala shot a 64 in the second round of the WM Phoenix Open and will enter the weekend at TPC Scottsdale with a two-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele, and three clear of Patrick Cantlay.
The PGA Tour rookie, who’s in the field on a sponsor’s invite, got his second round off to a terrific start, carding a hat trick of birdies on his first three holes. He then closed with a pair of back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13-14 and 17-18 to reach 12-under par.
“Pretty great,” said Theegala, when asked to describe his position at halftime. “I haven’t had time to let it set in and hopefully I don’t think too much about it because obviously what I’ve been doing has been working the first couple days.
“But, yeah, again, just thankful that I’m here and trying to make the most out of the opportunity. No expectations at all, honestly.”
Two back was the headlining duo of Koepka (66) and Schauffele (65).
The defending champion, Koepka, carded a second consecutive round of 66 to sit 10-under par.
“I thought I drove it really nice,” said Koepka. “Excited to see the driver to what I want. Striking it good, maybe lost a little bit of speed there on a few putts, come up a little short, maybe not hit hard enough. But the greens they’re getting fast, they’re getting firm, it will be interesting to see what they’re like tomorrow.”
Schauffele, who finished runner-up to Koepka in 2021, chased an opening 67 with a second-round 65.
“Yeah, relatively stress free, which is always nice around the property, there’s a lot going on,” said Schauffle. “So overall pretty pleased with how everything went.”
Three off the pace was a third headliner in Cantlay, who carded a bogey-free 66.
“I drove the ball and putted really well today,” said Cantlay. “I didn’t hit a lot of great iron shots, but I hit a couple close coming down the stretch on 6 I believe.
“When the greens are this good and you can get in a nice rhythm you can make a bunch of putts out there and today I did.”
Taylor Gooch (64), Max Homa (65) and Adam Hadwin (68) were T5 on 8-under par.
WM Phoenix Open
Top 10: Leaderboard
1. Sahith Theegala -12 (-7)
2. Xander Schauffele -10 (-6)
2. Brooks Koepka -10 (-5)
4. Patrick Cantlay -9 (-5)
5. Talor Gooch -9 (-7)
5. Max Homa -9 (-6)
5. Adam Hadwin -8 (-3)
8. Tom Hoge -7 (-5)
8. JT Poston -7 (-5)
8. Abraham Ancer -7 (-4)
8. Alex Noren -7 (-3)
8. KH Lee -7 (-1)