Akshay Bhatia Earns Tour Card: Can He Make FedEx Cup Playoff Push?

Akshay Bhatia, 2023 Barracuda Championship, (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images)
Akshay Bhatia, 2023 Barracuda Championship, (Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images) /

With his playoff win over Patrick Rodgers at last weekend’s Barracuda Championship, 21-year-old Akshay Bhatia is officially a PGA Tour card member.

Bhatia has already stacked up an impressive resume early in his career. On top of being a top junior golfer, he played in his first Tour event at 17 years old, finished in his first top-10 on Tour at the age of 18 at the Safeway Open, and then won his first Korn Ferry Tour event at 19.

His win at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay made him the third youngest player to win on this tour. He’s also not afraid to get a little dirty on the course.

While his highs have been high and the North Carolina native can finally say his hard work has paid off, the road was not always smooth for Bhatia.

A former top-ranked junior golfer, Akshay Bhatia made the decision to forgo traditional college and make the fairway his classroom.

“A lot of people are gonna hate on my decision. But in the long run, this is my college,” Bhatia had said of his choice.

No different than a typical college experience, his journey to claiming a Tour card has included challenging moments and growing pains. He did not make the cut at his first Tour appearance in 2019 and would go on to miss the cut in all six appearances the following year. COVID also made his journey difficult and revealed the lack of stability a typical college route may have brought him.

His path has been scrappy and full of hustle; focusing on mini-tours to be able to hold on to his Korn Ferry Tour card and make appearances in PGA Tour fields. It’s what he can credit his presence at his recent win for; his runner-up finish at the 2023 Puerto Rico Open back in March earned him 165 non-member FedEx Cup points, which put him over the requirement for earning Special Temporary Membership and the ability to accept unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of this season.

“For it to all come to fruition, play with some of the best players in the world, play some of the greatest events in the world, and to win on the PGA TOUR, to hopefully solidify myself into the FedExCup playoffs. It’s a great feeling. Because job security now I can kind of, not free wheel, but I know how to win. I know I can do it against some of the best players in the world,” Bhatia said following his playoff win on Sunday.

Akshay Bhatia is currently ranked 92nd in the FedEx Cup standings.

He withdrew from the 3M Open Monday night so he will need at least a solo fourth place finish at the Wyndham Championship next week to enter the top 70 and make a playoff appearance.

All of Bhatia’s points earned earlier in the season as a non-member and Special Temporary Member were applied to his current count except for his points accrued over the last two weeks at the Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship; as they are co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour.

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While the rising star will need an impressive performance in the PGA Tour regular-season finale to make his first playoffs, Akshay Bhatia can enjoy the fruits of his labor finally paying off.