WM Phoenix Open: Sahith Theegala Leads Brooks Koepka By One Shot

Sahith Theegala 2022 WM Phoenix Open
Sahith Theegala salutes the crowd after his final putt of the day during the third round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on Feb 12, 2022 in Scottsdale, AZ. (Photo by Zachary BonDurant / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Playing on a sponsor’s invite, Sahith Theegala will enter the final round of the WM Phoenix Open holding a one shot lead over Brooks Koepka.

The PGA Tour rookie, who holds a world ranking of 318, overcame a double bogey on the par-4 second hole, finishing his final 16 holes with five birdies against just one more dropped shot, en route to a Saturday round of 69.

“What a day,” said the 24-year-old Pepperdine product. “So many ups and downs, I mean it was wild.

“First of all Xander and Brooks were great to me. I think I really enjoyed playing with them and they were awesome to play with. They would say good shot and stuff like that. So I thought that was cool, they could just go do their own thing, but that was really cool.

“So many ups and downs today. Obviously really bad start and proud of the way I fought back there.

“But still trying to take it all in. There’s just is so much going on there too. Which is a good things I really enjoyed the fans out there.”

Brooks Koepka 2022 WM Phoenix Open
Brooks Koepka and Sahith Theegala leave the tee box at the 17th during the third round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on Feb 12, 2022 in Scottsdale, AZ. (Photo by Tracy Wilcox / PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

One off the pace was defending champion, and four-time major winner, Koepka, who carded a 68 which included three bogeys against six birdies, highlighted by a clutch gain on the par-4 17th.

“Yeah, putted it beautifully,” said Koepka. “The only difference was between today and yesterday was just a few putts were hit a little bit harder, gave them a chance. They were great lines yesterday and just a touch of pace was off, but today it was beautiful.

“Struck the ball really nicely, but felt like the wind kind of was swirling around a little bit and a couple holes just teeing off first you don’t get the advantage of seeing other guys, but struck it solid, very pleased with how everything is going.”

Xander Schauffele, who finished runner-up to Koepka in 2021, seemed like he may run away with it early on when he turned on 4-under 31 and led by two shots. But the reigning Olympic Gold medalist got sloppy down the strtech, closing with a 2-over 38 to drop back into a tie for third.

Xander Schauffele 2022 WM Phoenix Open
Xander Schauffele tees off at the 17th hole during the third round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on Feb 12, 2022 in Scottsdale, AZ. (Photo by Zachary BonDurant / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Joining Schauffele in the T3 spot was Talor Gooch (67), Patrick Cantlay (68) and Scottie Scheffler, who carded a tournament-low 62.

“I would say first of all I hit a really good wedge shot into number 10,” said Scheffler, who is seeking his maiden PGA Tour title. “I had a terrible lie in the middle of the fairway, I don’t know what happened, it was just sitting like in a hole, basically. I hit a really good shot in there to kind of get the day started.

“Outside of that probably the putt on 18 was probably the best shot of the day. And I hit a decent amount of shots on the front nine too, putts just weren’t falling as much as they were on the back.”

One further back was a logjam of five players, headlined by two-time Phoenix Open winner Hideki Matsuyama, who signed for a 66, highlighted by a hat trick of birdies on Nos. 15, 16 and 17 to reach 11-under par.

Tournament headliners Jon Rahm (68) and Justin Thomas (68) were a few shots further back on 8-under par.

WM Phoenix Open

Top 10: Leaderboard
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 3 Score)
1. Sahith Theegala -14 (-2)
2. Brooks Koepka -13 (-3)
3. Scottie Scheffler -12 (-9)
3. Talor Gooch -12 (-4)
3. Patrick Cantlay -12 (-3)
3. Xander Schauffele -12 (-2)
7. Hideki Matsuyama -11 (-5)
7. Alex Noren -11 (-4)
7. Tom Hoge -11 (-4)
7. Adam Hadwin -11 (-3)
7. Max Homa -11 (-3)

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