Sahith Theegala fired a six-under par 65 in cold, windy and rainy conditions

To grab the lead at the PGA Phoenix Open when darkness halted the first round.

The 26-year-old American, who was third at TPC Scottsdale in 2022, made seven birdies against a lone bogey to top the leaderboard.

“I played really well,” Theegala said. “It’s not often where every part of the game clicks during the course of the round.

“But it felt like through the bag I did something good with every club… made the short putts when I needed to. Really happy with the start. The weather was not good.”

Ireland’s Shane Lowry, the 2019 British Open champion, and South Korean Kim Seong-hyeon were next in the clubhouse 67 with three-time major winner Jordan Spieth of the United States the only player in the clubhouse on 68.
Heavy rain in the early afternoon left the TPC Scottsdale layout unplayable and halted competition for 3 1/2 hours.

“It was horrible, as tough (as) conditions I can remember for a while,” Lowry said.

Half the field of 132 had yet to complete the first round when sunset arrived, some players having as many as 16 holes to finish when play resumes Friday morning before starting their second rounds.

Among those still on the course, American Andrew Novak fared the best, one adrift of Theegala, at 5-under through nine holes.

Theegala won his only PGA title last September at the Fortinet Championship by two strokes over Kim.

Theegala began on the back nine with a birdie, added another at the par-3 12th and sank a birdie putt from just beyond 16 feet at the par-5 15th.

After holing out from 80 feet for birdie at the par-4 second, Theegala added a tap-in birdie at the par-5 third and sank a six-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fourth.

Theegala found a greenside bunker and made his lone bogey at the fifth but responded with an eight-foot birdie putt at the sixth.

“It felt very close to really bad, just because of the cold,” Theegala said. “All we were trying to do at that point was just stay dry and stay warm.

“We were just so focused on surviving that…. I didn’t even think about it, just trudging along and trying to keep the grips dry and not miss the golf ball on a swing.”

Novak, chasing his first PGA title, was in the first group of the second wave and began on the back nine.

He birdied 11, made bogey at 12 then holed out for eagle from 28 feet at the par-5 13th, then reeled off three birdies in a row by sinking seven-foot putts at the par-5 15th and par-3 16th then making a 15-footer at the par-4 17th.

Other contenders among the late starters included Canada’s Nick Taylor and American Cameron Young on 3-under, after six and five holes respectively.

Lowry, seeking a third PGA title after his major win at Royal Portrush and the 2015 WGC Bridgestone Invitational, needed nearly nine hours to complete the round due to the break.

“It was tough,” Lowry said. “It was cold, as cold as I can remember for a while, especially on the PGA Tour.

“You go out there and grind it out, make pars if you can, and give yourself the chances to hole the putts and that’s what I did so I’m pretty happy.” 토토사이트

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