Golf

The rising star pro explains the biggest key to success on the PGA Tour

Akshay Bhatia has made 22 PGA Tour starts in his young career, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t figured out what matters.

With a career-best second place finish at the Puerto Rico Open earlier this month that earned him special temporary status on the PGA Tour for the remainder of the year, Bhatia told GOLF’s subpar co-hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stolz, what he needs to do to improve himself.

“The amount of focus that every single week and every single shot requires isn’t, I mean, it’s a big difference,” Bhatia said on this week’s podcast. “And if you don’t focus exactly on where you want to hit it every time and you miss and you have a short side of yourself, it’s a half punch, at least a round.”

Akshay Bhatia swings

Rising star Akshay Bhatia shares the top pros he’s played with

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Zephyr Melton



He said that one of his goals is to change his mentality to get better results when he’s not in the race.

Bhatia provided an example from a few seasons ago when he qualified for the 2020 Mayakoba event on Monday. He had his first make-cut and top 10 finish of his career at the Safeway Open (now Fortinet).

He recalled playing in the third round with Viktor Hovland – who would go on to win – and Patrick Rodgers. Hovland shot 63 and Rodgers shot 65, leaving Bhatia feeling left in the dust after a 70.

“I got into a mentality of not wanting to be there because I wasn’t competing,” he said. ‚ÄúThat was a big learning experience for me: I still need a mentality to try and finish the top 15 against a 30th.

“I feel like everyone is so talented and I feel like I have a solid game, but when you can mentally focus on every single week and every single shot, I think that’s the greatest thing about the PGA Trip.”

For more from Bhatia, including the best players he’s played with and the story of why he rode a U-Haul to a KFT event, listen to the full podcast below.

Jack Hirsch

Golf.com editor

Jack Hirsh is Associate Editor at GOLF. A native of Pennsylvania, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University with degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was the captain of his high school golf team and still *tries* to stay competitive with the local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack worked for two years at a television station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a multimedia journalist/reporter, but he also produced, hosted and even presented the weather. He can be reached at [email protected]

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