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Golfbet recap: Akshay Bhatia pulls off dramatic win, tops Denny McCarthy in Valero Texas Open playoff

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Golfbet News


    Written by Brady Kannon @lasvegasgolfer

    Akshay Bhatia did not leave much to the imagination in picking up the second PGA TOUR victory of his career – beginning the week with an opening-round 63 to take First Round Leader honors and closing it out on Sunday with a 67 to capture the Valero Texas Open title, a win in which he never once relinquished the lead.

    But he did face a serious challenge from a red-hot Denny McCarthy, who pushed Bhatia to the brink in what turned into a two-man duel.

    The Valero finish featured a little bit of everything: a playoff, an incredible comeback, an overtime injury and some serious drama coming down the stretch – and quite the sweat for Bhatia backers who were feeling awfully comfortable for the majority of this final round.

    After entering the final day as a -350 favorite at BetMGM Sportsbook, the 22-year old birdied the very first hole on Sunday and his in-game odds immediately went to -500. They went to -1000 when he birdied No. 2. Suddenly a four-shot advantage was now a six-shot margin after just two holes. Bhatia then made birdie for a third time on the fourth hole and was now -2000 to win the golf tournament.

    By the time Bhatia finished the outward nine, he was 18-under for the tournament, his six-shot margin was still intact and he was now a -10000 favorite to get the victory. When he reached the 13th tee, the lead was down to four shots over Denny McCarthy – but the odds on Bhatia winning came off of the board at BetMGM and this golf tournament was seemingly becoming a race for second place.

    Akshay Bhatia odds to win Valero Texas Open (via BetMGM):

    • Pre-tournament: +5500
    • Entering Round 2 (led by three): +333
    • Entering Round 3 (led by five): +130
    • Entering Round 4 (led by four): -350
    • Entering playoff: -110

    Then McCarthy went off like a firecracker, making seven birdies in a row to close out his round and force a playoff. Both players finished 72 holes at 20-under in a week when Rory McIlroy took third-place honors at 11-under. It was the best putting week of McCarthy's career. He had 92 putts in regulation to tie the PGA TOUR record of total putts for a tournament.

    Denny McCarthy's Round 4 highlights from Valero

    Both men sunk mid-range birdie putts on the 72nd hole, and the playoff was priced as a pick 'em by BetMGM with each player at -110 to win. After a wayward tee shot and a layup, McCarthy then opened the door for Bhatia by dumping his wedge shot into No. 18 green into the creek that runs in front of and below the putting surface.

    Adding to the drama, Bhatia was having discomfort in his shoulder and asked a trainer to tape him up before hitting his 85-yard approach shot into the first playoff hole, which he then stuck to inside of 6 feet. McCarthy ended up making double bogey, and Bhatia poured in his birdie putt to put an exclamation point on this thrilling finish.

    Pre-tournament outright picks from Golfbet Experts:

    • Ben Everill: Byeong Hun An (+3300) MC
    • Will Gray: Billy Horschel (+3300) MC
    • Chris Breece: Matt Fitzpatrick (+2800) T10
    • Matt DelVecchio: Keith Mitchell (+5500) T14
    • Rob Bolton: Corey Conners (+2200) T25
    • Mike Glasscott: Ludvig Åberg (+1400) T14

    With the win, Bhatia adds an extra year to his exemption on TOUR, moves into the top 12 on the FedExCup points list and gets one highly coveted invitation to next week's Masters Tournament, where he will make his debut appearance.

    Bhatia's ball-striking was stellar all week long. He finished No. 1 for Greens in Regulation and in SG: Approach. He was sixth for SG: Off the Tee and second for SG: Around the Green.

    What a ride down the home stretch. In getting the juices flowing leading up to the season's first major championship, TPC San Antonio, the Valero Texas Open, McCarthy and Bhatia did one heck of a job.

    Rob Bolton Golfbet Insider and Sleeper Picks results:

    • Victor Perez to Win (+6600) T45
    • Patrick Rodgers Top 5 finish (+1800) WD
    • Keith Mitchell Top 10 finish (+450) T14
    • Nate Lashley Top 20 finish (+400) T39
    • Kevin Streelman Top 40 finish (+225) T45
    • Adam Scott Top 20 finish (+188) T14
    • Jordan Spieth to Miss the Cut (+180) T10
    • Akshay Bhatia, Lucas Glover and Victor Perez to Make the Cut (+300) WIN/T25/T45
    • Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Aaron Rai and Adam Scott to Make the Cut (+210) T25/T58/T14
    • Aaron Baddeley Top 40 finish (+160) T39
    • Nico Echavarria Top 40 finish (+230) MC
    • Nico Echavarria Top South American (+275) MC
    • Charley Hoffman Top 40 finish (+160) T69 Zach Johnson Top 40 finish (+230) MC
    • Maverick McNealy Top 20 finish (+250) T58
    • Andrew Putnam Top 40 finish (+120) T14

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