Tue, 24 May 2022

Exuma [Bahamas], January 20 (ANI): Young Indian origin golfer Akshay Bhatia has become the third-youngest player to win a Korn Ferry Tour (KFT) as he secured a two-stroke victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay on Wednesday.

He joined Australia's former World No. 1 Jason Day and Korean star Sungjae Im as the only teenagers to win on the development circuit which is the pathway to the PGA TOUR following a stunning bogey-free 7-under 65 in the final round.

Day won the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic at 19 years, 7 months, and 26 days old, and Im was 19 years, 9 months, and 17 days old when he won his Korn Ferry Tour debut at the same event.

After making birdie on 17, Bhatia, who is Indian-American, closed out his win in style.

With 156 yards to the pin on the par 5 18th hole, he wedged his approach to the inside of a foot to secure his first victory of his career and cement his status as one of the game's young rising stars.

"I reflected back on (2021) U.S. Open (qualifying). I hit a pitching wedge to like three feet, four feet, so I was just trying to do the same thing. For it to hit the flag and have a tap-in was awesome. Golf is crazy," Akshay Bhatia said in a statement.

Playing out of the "Finishers 151-200 in the 2020-21 FedExCup Standings" category, Akshay's priority number got him in the field this week for his fifth Korn Ferry Tour start.

Akshay no longer has to worry about whether his number will be enough for him to play. Instead, Bhatia is turnings his sights to the fastest route to the PGA TOUR.

"I've just climbed the mountain slowly and slowly and slowly. I'm just excited to play next week," said Akshay.

"I have never had a schedule. To be able to have a schedule and look forward to playing certain events... there's all those things I get to look forward to this year. I would like to win three and get promoted to the PGA TOUR, so I guess that's my goal," he added.

The 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season continues Sunday, January 23 with the opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club. (ANI)Viewers can watch PGA Tour - The American Express - Day 1 LIVE on EUROSPORT and EUROSPORT HD from Friday 01:30 Hrs (01:30 am IST) (ANI)

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