PGA Tour pro strips off then makes hash of water shot; Chris Kirk leads at Honda

Chris Kirk hits the front while Akshay Bhatia gets his kit off. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Sat, 25 Feb 2023
PGA Tour pro strips off then makes hash of water shot; Chris Kirk leads at Honda

Chris Kirk opened up a two-shot lead in round three of the Honda Classic on a day where Akshay Bhatia stripped off in the water. 

Not once, but twice!

Kirk, 37, is bidding to win his fifth PGA Tour title but his first in nearly eight years on the main circuit. 

The in-form American came into this week off the back of two top-three finishes in his last three appearances. 

Kirk carded a 66 to move to 13-under par and two shots clear of compatriot Eric Cole.

Justin Suh missed a tiddler for birdie on the final hole but he remains in the hunt for a maiden PGA Tour title on 10-under par. 

The longest putt Suh holed all day was three feet. 

Suh hit the shot of the day when holing out for eagle from outside of 150 yards at the par-4 12th.

Ireland's Shane Lowry, who narrowly missed out to Sepp Straka in this tournament 12 months ago, has a chance of redemption this week as he sits just four shots off the pace on 9-under par after a superb 65.

England's Ben Taylor is also on that number, while defending champion Straka is a further two shots adrift. 

Honda Classic Third Round Leaderboard

-13 C Kirk
-11 E Cole
-10 J Suh
-9 S Lowry, B Taylor

But now onto the funniest moments of the day, courtesy of Akshay Bhatia

Bhatia, 21, had two trips to the water and stripped off both times. 

The first trip and strip came on the 6th when his ball was on the water's edge. 

Off came the top, and he would go on to save par. 

Bhatia's girlfriend then came up clutch as she brought him a back-up outfit. 

He was in the middle of the chasing pack when he headed into the back nine but he soon tumbled down the leaderboard after a horror five-hole stretch. 

The American bogeyed the 11th, parred the 12th, doubled the 13th, bogeyed the 14th, and then doubled again on the 15th.

It was on the latter where the fun really happened. 

At least for those watching on. 

Bhatia found the water with his tee shot at the treacherous par-3 15th, which plays all across the H2O.

The hole, which starts the feared three-hole Bear Trap, is considered one of the toughest par-3s in the world, especially from the back tees. 

Bhatia's ball was still visible though, so he thought he would try to save himself a shot by stripping off and splashing his ball out of the muddy water.

Unfortunately he failed on the first attempt, and got a very muddy leg in the process, but he did succeed on the second try. 

It led to a double-bogey five. 

He ended up carding a 74 to sit level par.