Monday, April 22, 2019 | ePaper

US teen phenom Bhatia makes PGA debut at Valspar

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US teen golf prodigy Akshay Bhatia makes his PGA Tour debut Thursday at the Valspar Championship with plans to turn professional later this year after a groundbreaking amateur career. The lanky 17-year-old lefthander from North Carolina starts in the last group off the 10th tee at the Innisbrook Copperhead course in Palm Harbor, Florida, thanks to a sponsor's exemption.
Bhatia, who intends to skip college for his shot at the pro ranks, has already practiced with Spanish star Jon Rahm and chatted with top-ranked Dustin Johnson this week.
"It's cool because I'm slowly building relationships out here and for the future," Bhatia said in a posting on the PGA website. "It's going to be great just to lean on them a little bit."
A mutual friend set up his practice opportunity with Rahm, who made his jump to the pros at the ripe old age of 21 in 2016.

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