Akshay Batia wins playoff for Barracuda Championship, first PGA victory

Akshay Bhatia poses with the Barracuda Championshio trophy after putting in to win on the 18th green during a playoff following the final round at Tahoe Mountain Club.
Courtesy Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

TRUCKEE, Calif. — For the first time in the four years Old Greenwood has hosted the Barracuda Championship, the tournament winner was decided by a playoff.

Akshay Bhatia and Patrick Rodgers finished Sunday’s final round with 40 points using the Modified Stableford scoring format, resulting in a playoff on the par-4, 18th hole.

Bhatia, 21, of Wake Forest, North Carolina, would go on to par the hole and capture his first PGA Tour win in 36 starts.

“I can’t even talk,” said Bhatia. “I mean, I knew that if I got in a position like this I could do it. I’ve done it at every level. Man, that felt uncomfortable out there. I made a really bad double. I hit some really bad shots, but then I just kind of made some really nice putts on eight and nine. Then started hitting really good shots coming in. That putt on 18 in regulation was just, man, it’s a crazy feeling. I was telling my caddie, like your brain and everything, you can feel all this adrenaline, all this shakiness. It’s pretty crazy. Patrick’s a really good friend of mine and it was kind of a tough break him being in a divot on 18.”

Bhatia sank a birdie putt on hole 18 to reach 40 points on Tahoe Mountain Club’s par 71, 7,480-yards course and force the playoff.  In addition to $684,000 in winnings, Bhatia has earned an exemption into the DP World Tour. Previously playing on a Special Temporary Membership, today’s win also secured his PGA TOUR card and an exemption for the next two seasons.

“I mean, the feelings I had today were something like no other,” said Bhatia. “I mean, even when I won on the Korn Ferry Tour last year I did not feel this amount of pressure. I did not feel this amount of antsiness. You tell yourself stories all the time in your head, what could happen, what could not happen. I just really tried to have fun with my caddie today, just have some random conversations about whatever it was. It just paid off.”

Rodgers, 31, of Avon, Indiana, came into Sunday’s final round with a one-point lead, and finished as runner-up for the fourth time in his career.

“Obviously disappointed,” said Rodgers. “I felt like I had control of the tournament. I had a putt to win, which was nice. So, bummer result. Kind of a crummy break there in the playoff — in the middle of the fairway to drive it in a divot, but that’s just the way it goes. I’ll comeback stronger. I like the way my game is headed. I love putting myself in these positions. I know I’ll be better for it next time.”

France’s Julien Guerrier, 38, was one of two players to have 20 or more points in a round during the tournament, sinking 10 birdies and eight pars on Sunday to finish with 20 points and a tie for third place with 37 points for the tournament. South Korea’s S.Y. Noh had a tournament-high 23 points in the first round but finished the week with 30 points to tie for 30th place.

Sweden’s Jens Dantorp, 34, also finished tied for third place with 37 points. Defending champion Chez Reavie, 41, of Scottsdale, Arizona, finished in a tie for 55th with 20 points. Tournament first-timer, Ryan Gerard, who was the 36-hole leader finished in fifth place with 36 points.

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