Sahith Theegala Has Chance To Grow After Another Difficult Defeat

Sahith Theegala, Travelers Championship,(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Sahith Theegala, Travelers Championship,(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Heartbreak again for Sahith Theegala after 18th hole collapse at the Travelers Championship.

Sahith Theegala is giving Mito Pereira a run for his money when it comes to gut-wrenching defeats this season. It appeared as though Theegala was about to win for the very first time on the PGA Tour on Sunday at the 2022 Travelers Championship.

The 24-year-old out of Pepperdine University had just made birdie on the 17th hole to take the lead for the very first time at -19 when he stepped into the 18th tee box.

Theegala held a one-shot lead over Xander Schauffele at the time and he appeared to be in a position to force a playoff at worse.

Finding the fairway was critical so taking an iron off the tee was seemingly the sensible decision, but much like Mito had done on the 18th at Southern Hills, Sahith instead opted for an aggressive approach and pulled driver on the last.

He then proceeded to hit his drive in the one place that he could not afford to, the tee shot swung to the left of the fairway and landed in one of the narrow fairway bunkers.

Theelgala was cruelly punished for the errant shot as his ball landed near the front of the bunker leaving him with a tricky second to even get it out and back into play.

Pereira was punished when his drive off the 18th tee found the penalty hazard back at the PGA Championship last month, and Theegala would suffer a similar fate on Sunday at TPC River Highlands.

Feeling the rush of the situation he found himself in, Theegala elected to stay with the aggressive approach when attempting to take on the green with his second. It was another questionable decision as he could have chosen to punch out into the fairway instead.

The 24-year-old compounded his error with his second shot as he was unable to advance the ball out of the bunker at all after his shot struck the lip and essentially rolled back into the same spot.

He would eventually find the green with what was his fourth shot before having his bogey putt agonizingly miss. The double on the last ended his chances and the whole thing was difficult to watch.

Twitter reacts to Sahith Theegala’s misfortune at the Travelers Championship.

Deja Vu for Sahith Theegala

Sunday wasn’t the first time this season that Theegala had suffered a difficult loss. Sahith had a similar experience at the WM Phoenix Open back in February when he was right in contention until his drive on the 17th took an unlucky bounce and into the water hazard.

It was a heartbreaking finish for Theegala as he was unable to recover and get into a playoff alongside Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay.

He gained a lot of fans that week for how he handled the whole situation.

“I thought I — sorry. I thought I hit a great shot on 17. It was cutting. As long as it’s another yard right, I think that’s perfect. Kick straight and it’s good. Kicked left into the water there. But definitely proud of the way I played this week,” Theegala said back in February.

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The way Sunday ended at this week’s Travelers Championship will be difficult for Theegala to swallow, but he plans to take the experience and grow from it as he put it after his round saying:

"“I mean obviously I know and all the guys out here know how hard it is to win and how few opportunities there are to win. That’s why something like this is really, really going to hurt. It’s really going to hurt. But just going to grow from it.”"

The 24-year-old is easy to root for so no matter what happens moving forward he can take solace in the fact that he will have plenty of people pulling for him to eventually get over the line.