Lifting his first PGA Tour victory at the Barracuda Championship, Akshay Bhatia succeeded in completing his childhood dream. It was a question about his girlfriend's role in the victory, however, that nearly brought him to tears.
After a sudden death playoff with Patrick Rodgers, Bhatia, 21, lifted the Barracuda Championship, marking his first win on the PGA Tour and guaranteeing himself full Tour status and a spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Having turned pro at only 17, many predicted a bright future for Bhatia, and after failing to gain full PGA Tour status in 2022, the young American will now be eligible to play in some of the most prestigious and richest events of the year.
Bhatia clinched his spot in the two-man playoff after an excellent birdie on the final hole of regulation play.
Some tough luck on the first playoff hole saw Rodgers find a fairway divot with his tee shot, and he was unable to make par. Bhatia, on the other hand, was able to leave himself with an easy two-putt for the win and secured victory with a simple tap in.
Final Leaderboard @CudaChamp ⛳️— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 24, 2023
1. @AkshayBhatia_1 (+40)*
2. @PRodgersGolf (+40)
T3. Julien Guerrier (+37)
T3. Jens Dantorp
5. Ryan Gerard (+36)
T6. @ChessonHadley (+35)
*Won in playoff
While the gravity of his win was not lost on him, it was one particular question about his girlfriend's role in the victory that nearly brought Bhatia to tears.
Bhatia has been in a relationship with his girlfriend, Presleigh Schultz, since he slid into her Instagram DMs two years ago. The couple immediately hit it off, and Schultz ended up caddying for Bhatia when he won his first Korn Ferry Tour event at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic in 2022.
Attending all of his events, walking 72 holes week after week, Bhatia was visibly choked up when asked about her role in the win, claiming:
With full Tour status now achieved, Bhatia has also nearly cracked the top 100 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Currently sitting at #106, he now has a great opportunity to go head-to-head with some of the best golfers in the world week after week and fulfil the potential that many in the game predicted he had.
Akshay Bhatia: WITB 2023
DRIVER: Callaway Rogue ST MAX (9 degrees; Fujikura Ventus Black 7X)
FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Paradym (15 degrees; Fujikura Ventus Black 8TX)
HYBRID: Callaway Apex UW (19 degrees; Fujikura Ventus Black 10X)
IRONS: Callaway X Forged UT (22 degrees; KBS S-Taper 125 S+) Apex TCB (5-PW; KBS S-Taper 125 S+)
WEDGES: Callaway JAWS Raw (50, 54, 60 degrees; KBS S-Taper 125 S+)
PUTTER: Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K #7 Double Wide
BALL: Callaway Chrome Soft X LS