New kid on the block Sahith Theegala excells in Arizona

Graeme McDowell and Seamus Power among the late starters on Friday evening

The new kid on the block brought some game. Sahith Theegala, a 24-year-old rookie on the PGA Tour, still chasing his first professional win having graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour, added a second round 64 to his opening 66 to claim the midway clubhouse lead on 12 under par 130, three strokes clear of Patrick Cantlay, in the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale in Arizona.

Theegala, possessing a wonderful short game, had eight birdies and a lone bogey in his round as he moved into the lead in just the 11th event of his PGA Tour career.

Hitting the ground running with four birdies in his opening five holes, Theegala - born and raised in California - suffered a bogey on the eighth after driving into a fairway bunker but had four birdies on his homeward run, including back-to-back birdies on the 17th and 18th.

Cantlay, the world number four playing in Phoenix for the first time, added a 66 to his first round 67 for a 133: “I still feel like I’m learning the golf course a little bit. This was only my third trip around, so as I get more comfortable with the lines off the tee, I think the key to this golf course is driving the ball in the fairway. . . . I think we definitely had a benefit being on that side of the draw. I played well and was able to carry the momentum through the 36 holes.”

Graeme McDowell, who opened with a 68, and Seamus Power, who had a 71 in the first round, were among the later starters in the second wave of the second round.

On the DP World Tour, New Zealand’s Ryan Fox added a 69 to his opening 63 to claim the halfway lead in the Ras al Khamaih Classic in the UAE, his 36-holes total of 12-under-par 132 giving him a three stroke lead over a sextet of players.

The two Irish players in the field, Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin, both missed the cut.

Meanwhile, advance ticket sales for the Horizon Irish Open at Mount Juliet in July have been so strong that all the general admission tickets for the final round have been sold out.