Akshay Bhatia is in second place heading into the final round of the 2024 The Sentry, the season-opening Signature event on the PGA Tour at Kapalua Resort's Plantation Course on Maui in Hawaii. While a large pack of chasers seek to overtake the leader at the old Tournament of Champions, Akshay Bhatia could have a huge breakthrough.
Bhatia is 21 years old, and he is in the field at The Sentry because he won the 2023 Barracuda Championship to earn a spot in this field, reserved for PGA Tour winners of the last 12 months and players who finished in the top 50 of the prior season's FedEx Cup standings.
For Bhatia, his journey to the PGA Tour and his lengthy career on the tour is a remarkable story.
Bhatia was born in Los Angeles, Calif. He was a standout junior golfer, and he chose to skip collegiate golf and turn pro right out of high school. It was a choice criticized heavily at the time, but now it looks smart.
Bhatia is hitting his prime
Akshay Bhatia has won at every level, including as an amateur and after he turned pro in 2019, the year he played on the US Walker Cup team.
Bhatia got to the PGA Tour after some time on the Korn Ferry Tour, winning the 2022 The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay and ultimately getting enough points to just finish outside of a guaranteed card.
In 2022-2023 on the PGA Tour, Bhatia earned opportunities to play, and he took advantage with a runner-up at the Puerto Rico Open, a fourth-place finish at the Mexico Open at Vidanta and ultimately earned membership with a win at the Barracuda Championship in July by beating Patrick Rodgers in a playoff.
Bhatia has one career PGA Tour win, coming at the 2023 Barracuda Championship.
Entering this week, Bhatia was ranked 110th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
In his personal life, Bhatia is has a girlfriend, who has served as his caddie in the past.
What a win at the The Sentry means
With a win today, Bhatia would earn the benefits of being a Signature event winner, including a two-year PGA Tour exemption, and he would gain berths into the four major championships and The Players. And, according to the 2024 The Sentry payout, he would win $3.6 million to top it all off.