In his first start on the Korn Ferry Tour, Akshay Bhatia walked home with the hardware.
Winning on the PGA Tour took more time, but not much as Bhatia won the 2023 Barracuda Championship, the final opposite-field event of the PGA Tour season, in a playoff Sunday evening in his 36th start. He’s also the second left-handed player to win Sunday, following Brian Harman’s victory at the 2023 Open Championship.
“I was definitely watching the Open Championship,” Bhatia said. “Brian Harman, I know him pretty well.
“It’s kind of cool that two lefties won on the same day. That’s pretty cool to have that happen. I was so excited for him, obviously, and for his whole team.”
The Barracuda tournament is the only one on Tour to use the Modified Stableford scoring system, so the more points the better in this event, and Bhatia had 40 points at the end of regulation, tied with Patrick Rodgers. After one playoff hole, it was over, with the big-hitting left-hander hoisting the trophy at Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood course in Truckee, California.
Bhatia’s 17-point Saturday got him into contention. It tied for the third best scoring day of the week based on the points system.
In addition to the first-place prize of $684,000, Bhatia is fully exempt on the PGA Tour through the 2025 season. He also vaults to No. 90 in the FedEx Cup standings; the top 70 advance to the Playoffs this season.
Bhatia is the 10th first-time winner on Tour this season.