Heading into the fourth and final round of the 2024 Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday there was an expectation that it would be quite anticlimactic. That is because Akshay Bhatia had a four stroke lead at -15. Bhatia had a fantastic start to the tournament as he was -9 after round one, and -11 after round two. At the halfway point, Bhatia’s lead on his nearest competitors was five strokes, as Americans Denny McCarthy, Brendon Todd and Russell Henley were tied for second place at -6.

With nine holes to play on Sunday, there did not seem to be any drama. Bhatia’s lead extended to six as he was at -18, while McCarthy was six strokes back at -12. On the back nine, McCarthy of Takoma Park, Maryland put a stretch of golf together for the ages. That is because he birdied eight of nine holes, with the only par coming on the 11th hole. McCarthy went from -12 to -20 and forced an unexpected playoff against Bhatia. In the playoff, it was Bhatia who came through as McCarthy’s birdie surge came to an abrupt end as it was Bhatia who birdied the 18th hole in a sudden death playoff.

Just how miraculous was McCarthy’s Sunday performance on the back nine? McCarthy made putts of 17, 32, three, 10, 41, 12, three, and 12 feet into the hole. The 41-foot shot was a chip shot off the green that rolled right into the cup and came on the par-four 15th hole.

This was the second PGA Tour victory for Bhatia. That is because he won the 2023 Barracuda Championship in Truckee, California in a playoff over Patrick Rodgers of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

The Valero Texas Open was the second straight week that Bhatia was in contention. Last week at the Texas Children’s Houston Open, Bhatia was in 11th place at -9, but only three strokes back of the champion Stephan Jaeger of Munich, Germany at -12.

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The post Akshay Bhatia wins 2024 Valero Texas Open first appeared on The Sporting Base.

The post Akshay Bhatia wins 2024 Valero Texas Open appeared first on The Sporting Base.