Two of professional golf’s rising stars have teamed up for the newest PGA Tour-LPGA co-sanctioned event, the Grant Thornton Invitational.
Sahith Theegala and Rose Zhang will tee it up together in the December event, which will be held in Naples, Florida.
When Theegala first found out about the event, he immediately thought of Zhang. It was an easy choice who he wanted to play with, per Gabrielle Herzig of Sports Illustrated.
“I half-jokingly asked her [to team up] before she even turned pro,” Theegala said. “Playing chess out here.”
Zhang, a phenom at Stanford, turned pro after winning back-to-back individual NCAA titles and breaking Tiger Woods’ collegiate record.
She would go on to win in her LPGA debut at the Mizuho Americas Open and qualify for the American Solheim Cup team.
“She’s just such a beast,” Theegala said.
“It’s so impressive how she shuts out all the noise and just plays her game. She goes about her business. She’s a straight baller. She seems like such a hard worker, too.”
Theegala is no slouch, either. He is one of six male collegiate players to complete the trifecta of trophies when he took home all three in 2020.
Like Zhang, his 2023 season was a strong one.
The former Pepperdine golfer posted seven top-10 finishes and made 24-of-28 cuts. But Theegala finished 31st in the FedEx Cup standings and missed out on the Tour Championship in Atlanta by one place.
“I’m just happy she’s going to be carrying my butt in a few months,” Theegala said.
The two Southern California natives have known each other for a while. They have used the same trainer for six years too.
Theegala thrives in team-based events. He and Tom Hoge won the 2022 QBE Shootout, also held in Naples, Florida.
Now, he and Zhang will give the Grant Thornton Invitational a try as they hope to become the first winners of the event.
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.