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Theegala misses win by one shot, finishes 2nd; Bhatia 14th as Kirk wins Sentry

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Kapalua, Jan 8 (PTI) Indian-American golfer Sahith Theegala missed a 10 foot putt on the 18th hole to finish second in the Sentry, the opening event of the 2024 PGA TOUR season.

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Theegala fired a sizzling 10-under 63 to finish at 28-under but Chris Kirk, the overnight leader playing in the final group, carded 8-under 65 to finish at 29-under, that included a superb second shot to set up a birdie on the 17th to go one ahead.

He parred the 18th and won the title.

Akshay Bhatia, the other Indian-American in the field, who was second after 54 holes, had a double bogey start after two bogey-free days and finished with 2-under 71 to drop to Tied-14th place.

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Bhatia, one shot behind at the start, drove his opening tee shot into the native grass and never contended thereafter.

Theegala missed a 10-foot birdie chance at the par-5 closing hole and shot 63, while Jordon Spieth, whose tee shot on the 16th plugged under the lip of a bunker for a bogey, missed a 15-foot eagle putt on the 18th and shot 65 to finish third at 27-under.

Korean Byeong-Hun-An (66) was fourth at 26-under.

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Theegala said: "Obviously 18 hurts a little bit but I think Chris (Kirk) hit an incredible shot on 17 there, and then if we were tied or if I was at 29, I think he would probably pull off a birdie there as well (on 18).

"Yeah, I really wish I could have had that second shot on 18 back. It's not how it works." Theegala had a great final day. After four birdies in a row from second to sixth, he added one on ninth to turn in 5-under. Another birdie followed on 11th and four more came in a row from 13th to the 16th. That birdie on the 16th gave him a one-shot lead.

Then he parred 17th and missed a 10-footer for the 11th birdie of the day and finished one behind.

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Sungjae Im got into the PGA TOUR record books with 34 birdies, beating Jon Rahm’s mark of 32 set last year.

While he was delighted with his record, Im was still somewhat disappointed with his third round of 73 on Saturday which knocked him out of contention in his search for a third PGA TOUR title.

This is the second birdie record on TOUR which Im now proudly holds as in 2021, he snared 498 birdies to set a new record for most birdies during a season, breaking the previous mark of 493 by Steve Flesch in 2000. PTI Cor ATK ATK

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