Golf

Wake Forest golfer turning heads on Junior PGA Tour

Posted August 12

— While all eyes are on the pros at the PGA Championship, there's an up-and-coming star from Wake Forest turning heads on the Junior PGA Tour.

Akshay Bhatia always had a hunch he could hack it in this game of golf.

"I played in this tournament this year, and I played against middle schoolers. I won second place, and everyone was shocked that I was only 9 yearso ld," Bhatia said in an interview with WRAL-TV back in 2012.

But thinking it and believing it are two different beasts.

Over the past five years, Bhatia became a firm believer.

"Once I won my first AJGA event, I think that was the turning point in my golf career where I thought, I'm really good. I belong in situations like this. This is how God created my journey," he said.

That journey led the now 15-year-old phenom to the heartland of America for the Junior PGA Championship.

"I didn't really come in with expectations," he said.

If he had, he certainly exceeded them. Bhatia broke a course record, making believers out of a lot of others.

"To shoot 61 the second round and put myself in contention was really critical," he said.

Bhatia coasted from there, destroying a 25-year-old benchmark with a minus-22 for the week.

It was the biggest win of his budding career.

"Once that putt dropped, it was just the best feeling I've ever had on a golf course," he said.

Considering pros like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth all won the Junior PGA Championship, it's likely not the last time you'll hear the name, Akshay Bhatia.

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