“I was here nine, ten years ago,” said one of the rising stars on the PGA Tour, where he’s twice come close to landing a maiden victory this season.
“I played Carnoustie, and I'm like this is the hardest course I ever played. I birdied 18 to break 90, shot 89. But these conditions are so firm, so much fun. I love it.”
Theegala, whose father moved from India to the US in 1987, sits six shots off the lead in the season’s final major after opening with rounds of 69-68.
He only got into the field due to withdrawals. “To get that call and not be an alternate, to relieve some of the anxiety, it was awesome,” he admitted.
“Especially because of the magnitude of the event and not only my first Open, but St Andrews, the 150th.
“So I was very, very excited. It honestly took me a couple days to kind of settle down here. I got here, and I was almost too excited.
“I was walking the course on Monday even, and I wasn't really focusing in paying attention on the prep work. I've just had a ton of fun, even the last two days being on the course. It's a blast.”
He’s particularly enjoying the challenge of facing monster putts on the huge double greens on the Old Course. “I love it, absolutely love it. It's the best. You don't get to do this anywhere else,” he said, smiling.