Akshay Bhatia made par on the first playoff hole to beat Patrick Rodgers and win the Barracuda Championship on Sunday in Truckee, Calif.
Bhatia, a 21-year-old playing on a special temporary membership, is now fully exempt on the PGA Tour through 2025 thanks to his first career victory in the tour’s alternate event opposite The Open Championship.
“I knew that if I got into position like this I could do it,” Bhatia said on the Golf Channel broadcast. “I’ve done it at every level. Man, I felt uncomfortable out there. I made a really bad double (on No. 5). I hit some really bad shots, but then I kinda made some really nice (birdie) putts on 8 and 9 and started hitting some really good shots coming in.”
The tournament at Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood course is the only PGA Tour event that uses the Modified Stableford scoring format. The highest score wins, with points awarded for double eagles (eight), eagles (five) and birdies (two). Pars are worth zero points, while bogeys are minus-1 and double bogeys or worse are minus-3 points.
Bhatia entered the day three points off Rodgers’ lead but caught up with a plus-nine in his final round to finish plus-40 in regulation. Bhatia — who had two bogeys and a double bogey among his first five holes — sank a birdie putt at his 72nd hole to hit plus-40 before Rodgers finished his round.
Rodgers had a birdie putt at No. 18 to win outright, but it missed badly to the right, and he finished his round plus-six.
Replaying the par-four 18th, Rodgers got an unlucky break when his drive landed in a divot in the fairway. His second shot didn’t reach the green, and after getting on the surface in three, he missed a long par putt.
That allowed Bhatia to two-putt for par to win a title that could change his young career.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” Bhatia said. “I was telling my caddie that your brain and everything, you can feel all this adrenaline, all this shakiness.”
Julien Guerrier of France (plus-20 Sunday) and Jens Dantorp of Sweden (plus-15) tied for third at plus-37. Ryan Gerard (plus-3) was fifth at plus-36.
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