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Akshay Bhatia fends off Denny McCarthy’s comeback, celebration shoulder injury to win Valero Texas Open



Akshay Bhatia fends off Denny McCarthy's comeback, celebration shoulder injury to win Valero Texas Open

He almost blew a large lead on Sunday afternoon, and he partially dislocated his shoulder celebrating earlier than the playoff, however Akshay Bhatia is headed to Augusta Nationwide.

Bhatia fended off a wild comeback from Denny McCarthy to win the Valero Texas Open on Sunday at TPC San Antonio. It marked Bhatia’s second profession win on the PGA Tour, and earned him an invite to the Masters this week.

Bhatia dominated the Valero Texas Open for a lot of the event. The 22-year-old entered Sunday with a four-shot lead, and he instantly pushed it to 6 after making back-to-back birdies to open his remaining spherical. He led the sector after Thursday and Friday. If he held on, he’d declare his second profession victory in wire-to-wire style.

However as soon as McCarthy made the flip, he took off. McCarthy birdied the tenth, after which made seven straight birdies to shut out his spherical. McCarthy had tied it up headed into the ultimate gap, and he sank an enormous 12.5-footer on the 18th inexperienced to take the lead and hit 20-under on the week.

Bhatia responded with an enormous birdie putt of his personal on the 18th to drive the playoff. Quickly after, Bhatia was seen figuring out his left shoulder. He was in ache, and he known as for his coach on the primary playoff gap.

Then, earlier than his method, Bhatia walked off the golf green together with his coach to get his shoulder taped up in non-public. Because it turned out, after sinking his putt on the 18th inexperienced, Bhatia’s celebration popped his shoulder partially misplaced.

“This shoulder I’ve had some points with,” Bhatia mentioned on NBC. “After I made that putt and I sort of raised my arm, it sort of went out of socket and got here proper again in.”

Fortunately for Bhatia, McCarthy chunked his method shot into the water. He knew it was off the second he hit it as he instantly regarded down at his divot.

That opened the door for Bhatia to seize his win and earn his spot at Augusta Nationwide. He’s the 89th and remaining invitee for the primary main championship of the yr. Each of Bhatia’s profession wins got here in a playoff. He beat Patrick Rodgers in a playoff to win the Barracuda Championship final yr.

McCarthy, regardless of his 9-under 63 on Sunday, completed second. He has misplaced in two playoffs in as a few years on Tour, and he’s nonetheless trying to find his first profession victory.

Rory McIlroy finishes third forward of the Masters

Although he wasn’t wherever close to shut sufficient to creating a run at it, Rory McIlroy is feeling good together with his sport headed into the primary main championship of the yr.

McIlroy completed third after he posted a 6-under 66 on Sunday. His bogey-free remaining spherical introduced him to 11-under on the week. It marked by far McIlroy’s greatest end on Tour this season, and it could not have come at a greater time.

“I undoubtedly really feel like I’m in a greater place than I used to be a couple of weeks in the past,” McIlroy mentioned after his spherical. “By way of the Florida swing there was simply a number of volatility in my sport. Some good, some dangerous, fairly a couple of massive numbers, so simply attempting to tidy that up … Total way more happy with the place my sport is in comparison with two or three weeks in the past.”

McIlroy, who’s at present at No. 2 within the Official World Golf Rankings, has by no means received at Augusta Nationwide. The 24-time PGA Tour winner has received on the three different majors, however he’s lacking a inexperienced jacket to finish the profession grand slam. He hasn’t received a serious in a decade now, both, after he fell brief on the U.S. Open final summer time in Los Angeles.

McIlroy completed in second on the Masters in 2022, however he missed the minimize at Augusta final yr.

“Management of myself, management of my feelings and my ideas. If I can management these [at the Masters], it makes the bodily management of every part quite a bit simpler and much more easy,” McIlroy mentioned. “Yeah, simply to me subsequent week is all about self-discipline, about staying in charge of your self and in charge of what you’ll be able to management. If I can try this nicely, then the remaining will comply with.”

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