19-year-old Akshay Bhatia silences the critics, wins on Korn Ferry Tour in first start as a member

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“Just because it hasn’t been done, doesn’t make it impossible.”

That’s right, Akshay Bhatia, and now you’re a Korn Ferry Tour winner at 19.

Bhatia turned pro when he was 17 and received backlash for the decision. Now, just two years later he’s in position to earn a PGA Tour card sooner rather than later. And for the cherry on top, this was the young man’s first appearance on the Korn Ferry Tour as a full member.

The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay served as the Tour’s season-opener this week. Entering the final round, Bhatia found himself three back of the lead needing a low number on Wednesday to have a chance.

He did just that.

His final day 7-under 65 was his best round of the week by three shots (Saturday, 68). The exclamation point? This dart at the last.

The closing birdie was just one of Bhatia’s seven on the day, a perfect ending to a bogey-free effort.

And if you needed another reminder of how weird this game is, his caddie for the week doesn’t know golf. At all.

Bhatia has worked with George Gankas, coach to Matthew Wolff, Sung Kang, among others, for a few years and Bhatia has him (and a lot of hard work) to thank for being in this position.

Another man in his corner is Phil Mickelson, who this time last year played with Bhatia in a practice round before the American Express.

“For me, to play with young kids like Akshay, who are so talented, it actually motivates me and it makes me feel and remember what it felt like to play golf as a kid, when I was a kid, and the love and passion that I have for it because as he starts out on his career, you can see and sense his excitement for the game, his drive, his motivation, his work ethic, and that is infectious,” Mickelson said. “I enjoy being around, and always have enjoyed being around good talented young players like this, and I’m happy to answer any questions that they may have, but I also feed off of their energy, work ethic, and drive.”

The youngster made nine starts on the PGA Tour last season highlighted by a T-9 performance at the Safeway Open.

Bhatia, with this win, quickly silenced the doubters who believed he made a mistake turning pro too early. The kid is a stud.