Indian-American Akshay Bhatia takes lead in Detroit on PGA Tour

Akshay Bhatia, Indian American golf phenom, practicing on the course. PHOTO: screenshot from YouTube video @Akshay Bhatia

Detroit [US], June 28 : Indian-American Akshay Bhatia, already a two-time winner on the PGA Tour at the age of 22, continued his rise on the Tour, as he shot 8-under 64 at Detroit Golf Club to take the lead at the Rocket Mortgage Championship on the PGA Tour.

The wiry left-hander, who won the Valero Texas Open this season just before the Masters, was Tied-fifth last week at the Travelers and played in the final group alongside World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who won the event in a playoff with Tom Kim of Korea.

Bhatia, who missed the cut in Detroit last year, had a fantastic finish with birdie-eagle-birdie in his last four three holes, according to a release.

On his birdie-eagle-birdie finish, Bhatia said, “Yeah, it’s always nice to finish like that. This tournament’s always kind of a birdie-fest, so birdies and eagles help a lot. It’s nice to finish that way.”

He went on, “I putted great. I missed one green today, so I got that up and down. All in all, I hit it pretty nice with the irons and I made some putts. Driver, 3-wood didn’t feel too good, but I’ve got some time to go work on that.

On his recent run, he said, “I’ve been playing good the last three weeks. I feel like the results haven’t been where I’ve wanted them to be, but I’ve been playing pretty solid. I’ve been right there for, you know, over 40 holes I would say the last couple weeks. It’s just I’m having some hiccups either Saturday or Sunday.”

The highlight for Bhatia was the chip-in for eagle from 83 feet on the 17th hole and he closed with a birdie for an 8-under 64.

England’s Aaron Rai, whose parents have an Indian-Kenyan connection, shot 66 and was Tied-fourth.

Tom Kim, playing his ninth straight week he shot 73 and was T-115 needing a strong second round to make the cut.

Taylor Montgomery and Michael Kim were a stroke behind Bhatia. Montgomery had a 6-under 30 on his front nine and added one more birdie on the back in a bogey-free round.

Defending champion Rickie Fowler shot 66, closing with three straight birdies. Will Zalatoris, Eric Cole, Matti Schmid and Rai also were at 66.

Born in Northridge, Los Angeles, California, Jan. 31, 2002, the 6ft 1inch tall, 22 year old Bhatia credits his parents Sonny and Renu Bhatia with his success. He began playing at a very young age and has several championships to his credit over the years. He became a PGA player in 2019. Rhea Bhatia, his older sister, is also a professional golfer. He currently lives in North Carolina.



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