Bhatia wins the Texas Open and takes Masters

"It's a dream come true. It's been a crazy week, where everything really happened. And now I'll be playing the Masters, I can't believe it," expressed Bhatia's satisfaction at the end of the tournament

by Andrea Gussoni
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Bhatia wins the Texas Open and takes Masters
© Getty Images Sport - Raj Mehta / Stringer

First dominating, then suffering due to a shoulder injury, and finally winning in the playoff to secure the last available spot for the Masters Tournament. In the USA, a success worth remembering and recounting for Akshay Bhatia (63 70 68 67).

The American clinched victory with a birdie on the first hole of the playoff at the Valero Texas Open, narrowly defeating his compatriot Denny McCarthy (68 70 67 63) after both had finished the regulation 72 holes with a total of 268 (-20) shots.

This marks Bhatia's second career triumph on the PGA Tour (following his win in 2023, also after a playoff, at the Barracuda Championship), where he has competed in 54 events. Bhatia has earned himself a spot in the Masters, the first male Major of 2024 scheduled from April 11th to 14th at Augusta, Georgia, United States.

Akshay Bhatia, results

Leading from the first round, 22-year-old Californian Bhatia began the fourth round in San Antonio with a five-shot lead over his competitors. Just when it seemed like he had the tournament in hand, McCarthy mounted a comeback, making eight birdies in the last nine holes, including seven consecutive from the 12th to the 18th.

Bhatia, despite a shoulder issue and the intervention of a physiotherapist, had to produce a feat to postpone the outcome to the playoff, where the former world amateur number 1 emerged victorious. The feat earned him $1,656,000 out of a total purse of $9,200,000 and propelled him from 87th to 34th position in the world ranking.

Now 12th in the FedEx Cup standings, in Texas he outpaced Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, world number 2, who finished 3rd with 277 (-11) ahead of American Russell Henley, 4th with 278 (-10). "It's a dream come true. It's been a crazy week, where everything really happened.

And now I'll be playing the Masters, I can't believe it," expressed Bhatia's satisfaction at the end of the tournament. Akshay Bhatia, born on January 31, 2002, is an American professional golfer. He gained attention by making his debut on the PGA Tour in 2019 at the age of 17, securing a spot through a sponsor exemption for the Valspar Championship.

Later that year, he turned professional and participated in his first professional event at the Sanderson Farms Championship. As an amateur, Bhatia has achieved notable success, representing the United States at prestigious events such as the Junior Presidents Cup in 2017, the Junior Ryder Cup in 2018, and the Walker Cup in 2019.

He made history by becoming the youngest and first high schooler to represent the United States in the Walker Cup. Additionally, Bhatia showcased his talent on the international stage by representing the United States at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, where he won two silver medals.

Bhatia's journey to the upper echelons of golf began earlier, as he made it to the finals of the Drive, Chip & Putt competition at Augusta National in 2014. Notably, his victory at the Valero Texas Open in 2024 made him the first-ever finalist of the Drive, Chip & Putt competition to qualify for the Masters Tournament.

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