Phoenix Open: Sahith Theegala leads, loves ‘drunken’ chants as weather delays mount

Sahith Theegala fired the round of the day Thursday despite Mother Nature afflicting her pain on TPC Scottsdale all afternoon.

A 3-hour, 30-minute delay halted play, which forced only half the field to finish their rounds.

Theegala was one of the lucky ones to do so and carded a 6-under 65 to seize the lead.

“I played really well,” Theegala said.

“Usually, it’s one or two things that hold up the round, but it felt like through the bag, I did something good with every club. It was a great feeling; I made the short putts when I needed to, and chipping in is always nice.”

Theegala chipped in at the par-4 2nd—his 11th hole of the day—to get to 4-under overall. But one of his favorite moments of the day came at the famous par-3 16th, where fans serenaded the former Pepperdine star with plenty of chants.

TPC Scottsdale, WM Phoenix Open

The 16th hole during the 2024 WM Phoenix Open.
Photo by Ben Jared/PGA Tour via Getty

“The last name chants are always great,” Theegala said.

“It’s when they try and yell the first name when they’re a little drunk that some letters get added or omitted. I know they’re rooting for me, so it doesn’t bother me at all. I love it.”

The WM Phoenix Open, also known as “The People’s Open,” has the largest galleries of any PGA Tour event each year. It features plenty of partying, usually leading to hilarious chants and questionable decision-making in the gallery.

But the players have learned to appreciate these antics, as embracing them is the only way to do.

And yet, embracing the fans has been difficult thus far at the 2024 WM Phoenix Open. Along with Thursday’s suspension, a frost led to a two-hour delay on Friday morning. Half of the field has not even completed their first rounds yet, whereas, typically, half of the players have 36 holes finished by this point.

Hopefully, Mother Nature can cooperate from here on out, much to the delight of fans.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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