Barracuda Championship 2023: Akshay Bhatia Playoff Victory

Barracuda Championship 2023: Akshay Bhatia Playoff Victory

Akshay Bhatia Claims First PGA Tour Win With Playoff Victory at Barracuda Championship

The alternate events on the PGA Tour give a golfer a chance to win their first-ever event with many of the top golfers playing elsewhere, and for the second week in a row, that proved true. PGA Tour rookie Akshay Bhatia, 21, outlasted Patrick Rodgers in a playoff to win the Barracuda Championship 2023 at Tahoe Mountain Club in Lake Tahoe on Sunday while the top stars in golf were taking part in the Open Championship in England.

“I knew that if I got into a position like this, I would do it because I had at every level,” Bhatia said after the win. “I know I can hit the ball. I’m a top-20 ball striker on the Tour this year, but it was all about getting some putts to fall for me.”

Rodgers, who led going into the final round, was also seeking his first win. Bhatia birdied 18 to receive three points in the Modified Stableford scoring system that’s used for this event. Rodgers parred the hole for one point, which left them tied at +40 after 72 holes.

Rodgers was the victim of a bad break when the pair replayed the 18th hole as the first playoff hole. Rodgers’ drive landed in another player’s divot, which forced a bad second shot. Bhatia ended up parring the hole with a tap-in for the championship.

“It was a tough break for Patrick to be in a divot, but his time is coming,” Bhatia said. “The feelings I’ve had today are something I’ve had like no other. Even winning on the Korn Ferry Tour was nothing like this today.”

Due to it being an alternate event, Bhatia earned 300 FedEx Cup points instead of the typical 500, and the win does not come with a berth into the Masters next year. He is, however, in the PGA Championship and The Players Championship, and he has a chance to reach Augusta due to getting into the FedEx Cup playoffs next month.

Earlier this year, Bhatia was fouth at the Mexico Open at Vidanta and finished runner-up at the Puerto Rico Open. He was ninth last week at the Barbasol Championship as well.

Rodgers finished runner-up for the fourth time in his career and remains winless at the age of 31. He did, however, snap a run of three straight missed cuts and had decent finishes of 29th in the PGA Championship and 32nd at the U.S. Open.

Julien Guerrier, of the DP World Tour in this joint event with that circuit, finished third after shooting a +20 (a 61 on the scorecard) to jump from 48th at the start of the day. He finished three points behind Bhatia and Rodgers. Swede Jens Dantorp tied Guerrier for third place.

Ryan Gerard was fifth while Chesson Hadley, Erik van Rooyen, James Hahn, and Beau Hossler tied for sixth. Last week’s winner, Vincent Norrman, wound up tied for 25th.

Up Next

The PGA Tour returns to the United States to play the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Minnesota. It’s the penultimate event before the FedEx Cup playoffs begin, and Tony Finau is the defending champion.

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