Sahith Theegala earned his first PGA Tour title on Sunday by claiming a two-shot victory at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif.
The 25-year-old California native made a splash early in his pro career and qualified for the FedEx Cup playoffs earlier this season, but a victory was missing from his resume until Sunday, when he shot a final-round, 4-under 68 at Silverado Resort’s North Course.
Theegala finished at 21-under 267 to beat out runner-up S.H. Kim of South Korea, who posted a final-round 68.
Kim moved from 83rd to 57th in the standings of the inaugural “FedEx Cup Fall” series, which for the first time is using the seven events after the Tour Championship to finalize eligibility for next season. The top 125 at the end of the fall will retain their full PGA Tour cards. Being in the top 60 — like Kim is now — will qualify players into two signature events next winter, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Invitational.
Theegala is locked in after making the final 50 during the playoffs, but he said earlier this week he is playing because he loves the tour’s California events. Now he can say his first victory on tour came in his home state.
After starting the day with a two-stroke lead, Theegala carded four birdies and one bogey on the front nine on Sunday. His second bogey came at the par-4 10th hole, but he closed out the win with an 11-foot birdie putt at No. 12, a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 14 and a 7-foot birdie at No. 16.
That was plenty of cushion for him to absorb a bogey at the final hole, even after Kim finished with four birdies on the back nine.
Cam Davis of Australia (final-round 70) finished third at 17 under. Eric Cole (70) was fourth at 16 under and Justin Thomas (72) placed fifth at 15 under, his highest finish since February.