Bhatia optimistic after missed cut at Sanderson Farms
September 20, 2019
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Akshay Bhatia rolls in 16-footer for birdie at Sanderson Farms
JACKSON, Miss. – Akshay Bhatia said he felt comfortable in his pro debut. He just played too conservatively and didn’t hit his driver straight enough.
The 17-year-old shot under par in his first round as a professional, a 2-under-par 70 at the Country Club of Jackson, but was four strokes higher in the next round to miss the cut at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Bhatia reached 3 under with a birdie on the opening hole of his second round, but made four bogeys and just a single birdie the rest of the way.
That birdie came at the par-4 17th, where he hit his 70-yard approach to a foot to keep his weekend hopes alive. Needing a birdie on his final hole, he missed both the fairway and the green and made bogey.
Bhatia, who two weeks ago became the youngest player to represent the United States in the Walker Cup, also has sponsor exemptions into the next two PGA TOUR events before he competes in the second stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School at Southern Hills Plantation in Brooksville, Florida.
Bhatia gave himself a “C” for his performance in his pro debut.
“If I do what I need to do and drive it a little better, I can certainly perform out here,” he said. “I know I can.”
He was 1 under par on the par-4s this week, but played the par-5s in even par.
He hit just five fairways and eight greens in the second round, but was optimistic after signing his scorecard.
“I was definitely comfortable,” Bhatia said. “I’ve been in an atmosphere like this. The Walker Cup, I had 6,000 people watching me and the golf course was obviously hard.
“I know I can compete out here. I shot under par in my first go-round as a pro. I just have to do what I needed to do and say it with a smile.”