Akshay Bhatia is in a prime bounceback spot this week. He’s coming off a pair of missed cuts at the Wyndham Championship and Fortinet Championship.
Context matters, because the Wyndham was the week after he won his first career PGA Tour title at the Barracuda Championship. Bhatia was a shot away from playing the weekend at the Fortinet.
His Barracuda win was an alternate field event, but he still showed moxie to come back on Sunday for the win and do it in a unique modified Stableford format. At the age of 21! He seems older since he’s been pro for nearly half a decade, but Bhatia could still be in college if he chose that route.
Bhatia had an impressive 2022-23 PGA Tour season in limited starts with four top-10s and six top-25s. It was a shame that some fine print in the PGA Tour bylaws kept him from qualifying for the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Bhatia led the PGA Tour last season in average approach proximity from 200-225 yards (34’3”). The American was 19th in strokes gained per round on approach (.531), 30th in SG tee-to-green (.754), and 31st in SG off-the-tee (.366).
That type of ball striking could have come in handy for the American Ryder Cup team last week. Bhatia obviously lacked the resume to get a pick this time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s wearing the red, white, and blue at Bethpage in 2025.
Bhatia is making his second appearance at the Sanderson Farms Championship this week. Bhatia missed the cut in 2019. That feels like ancient history. He’ll be in the mix this week at Country Club of Jackson.