American Indian Akshay Bhatia wins Barracuda Champs, earns full status on PGA TOUR -
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American Indian Akshay Bhatia wins Barracuda Champs, earns full status on PGA TOUR

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Akshay Bhatia.

Khel Today Bureau 

TRUCKEE, Calif: American Indian Akshay Bhatia birdied the last hole to get into a play-off and then beat Patrick Rodgers in it at Tahoe Mountain Club to win his first PGA TOUR title at the Barracuda Championship on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Bhatia, who turned pro at 17, has now earned full status on TOUR and with it a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs. He was thus far playing under special temporary membership since his runner-up finish at the Puerto Rico Open in March.

Bhatia converted a birdie from about 15 feet on the par-4 18th hole to finish with 40 points in an event that is played under the modified Stableford scoring system that awards five points for eagle and two for birdie while deducting a point for bogey and three for double bogey. The slender left-hander had nine points on Sunday.

That final birdie was good enough to match Rodgers, who missed a birdie attempt from roughly the same distance on the 18th and scored six points in the final round.

In the playoff, Rodgers’ tee shot on the 18th settled in a divot and he messed up his approach. His pitch was well short and he two-putted for bogey. Bhatia left his birdie putt just short and tapped in for the victory.

The 31-year-old Rodgers remains winless in 246 PGA TOUR starts.

The tournament was co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, and two players from that circuit tied for third. Julien Guerrier scored 20 points on Sunday to finish with 37 alongside Jens Dantorp, who had 15 points in the final round.

Ryan Gerard, also a special temporary member, was fifth with 36 points. He totalled just six points over the final two rounds.

Bhatia largely struggled his first three years after bypassing college to turn pro. He won in the Bahamas on the Korn Ferry Tour at the beginning of 2022 but still fell short of earning a PGA TOUR card.

Now he’s eligible for some of the richest events in golf, including THE PLAYERS Championship and PGA Championship.

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