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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Hoge and hurting Theegala rally to win Shootout crown

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Miami: Americans Sahith Theegala and Tom Hoge won the QBE Shootout, combining for a 10-under par 62 in Sunday's four-ball format to become the first rookie champions in 11 years.


Theegala, who pulled a muscle on the opening hole of the final round, sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the last hole for the victory in the 54-hole exhibition event at Tiburon in Naples, Florida.


Hoge and Theegala were deadlocked for the lead with countrymen Ryan Palmer and Charley Hoffman on the final green.


After Theegala, a son of Indian immigrants, made his dramatic putt, Palmer missed a 15-foot birdie putt and Hoffman missed from 12 feet to give Hoge and Theegala the triumph.


"It's nice to get a little taste of competition and taste of victory because it's so hard out here, so many great players," Theegala said. "Feels really, really good."


Hoge and Theegala finished on 34-under 182 with Palmer and Hoffman on 183 and US three-time Shootout winners Matt Kuchar and Harris English third on 184.


Theegala, 25, matched his best US PGA Tour finish with a share of second at last month's RSM Classic.


Hoge, 33, won his only PGA title last February at Pebble Beach.


Theegala and Hoge, who began the day two back of Palmer and Hoffman combined to birdie eight of the last 11 holes after a slow start.


"I made a bad swing on the first hole and I kind of saved it and I pulled my oblique," Theegala said, pointing to his left side.


"It got better as the round progressed. I knew it wasn't too big of a deal so I was just trying to keep my partner in it. Tom played so well. It started freeing up at the end so I was able to make a couple better swings."


Hoge hung tough as they managed only two birdies and five pars in the first seven holes.


"With Sahith on the first hole getting a little banged up, I knew I was going to have to carry him a little bit off the start," Hoge said.


"I knew he was going to hit some good shots for me down the stretch like he did and what a great putt at the last."


Hoffman and Palmer led after shooting 56 in Friday's opening scramble format and shot 62 Saturday in modified alternate shot. -- AFP


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