Sahith Theegala fired off an 8-under 64 on Friday at the Fortinet Championship to sit atop the leaderboard at 12-under. He made seven birdies and an eagle in his round on Friday, taking the lead ahead of the afternoon wave by two strokes.
Despite his impressive play, some reporters were more interested in why the 25-year-old chose to play in the event.
“Why are you playing this week?” the reporter boldly asked.
“Yeah, that’s a — actually, I don’t think that’s a great question,” Theegala responded.
The reporter followed up with ‘Is it a decent question?”
“I’ll put it in a lower tier,” Theegala said.
While the question appears harmless, the former Pepperdine golfer clearly didn’t appreciate it being asked.
The Fortinet Championship is part of a seven-event stretch for the new FedEx Cup Fall.
These tournaments allow players who finished outside the FedEx Cup top 50 to earn some points. They’re eying for a spot to play next year, along with some more perks with the new 2024 schedule.
Guys ranked Nos. 1-50 in the FedEx Cup points have already earned their way into next season, so they don’t necessarily have to play these events. Theegala finished the season 31st in the FedEx Cup standings.
However, for the Southern California native, he jumps at the opportunity to play in this tournament.
“I love California events and West Coast swings. I love poa annua. I love this golf course,” Theegala said. “This was one of my first sponsor invites I got, and one of my best friends lives in Napa. It’s just a great event for all my family and friends to come out to. I guess, more importantly, I just really like the golf course. It’s just good vibes.”
While some aren’t playing this fall because of their ranking, others are.
“I’m just going to play three events in the Fall,” Theegala said. “You know, it’s tough. I’m such an addict, it’s tough for me to sit around and do nothing, too. I felt like three weeks was ample break. I was fired up missing East Lake by one, so I just kind of wanted to play a tournament ASAP.”
He narrowly missed being at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, with only the top 30 advancing.
That itch Theegala had has put him in contention to win his first PGA Tour event. He already has seven top 10s on the season. The Orange, California native will also tee it up in Naples, Fla., with Rose Zhang in the new mixed event, the Grant Thornton Invitational.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.