When Akshay Bhatia turned professional at age 17, his decision was met with skepticism. Was he ready for the rigors?
If success is defined by wins, then Bhatia, who turns 20 on Jan. 31, may be headed in the right direction after winning the Korn Ferry Tour's Bahamas Great Exuma Classic in his first start with full playing privileges on Tour.
Bhatia, the third-youngest player to win a Korn Ferry Tour event, closed with a 65 and won by strokes at 14-under 274.
“To play against these guys, guys who have been out here forever, past PGA Tour winners and players, it’s just awesome,” said Bhatia, who started 2022 No. 932 in the Official World Golf Ranking. “For me to be able to mentally and physically compete and win at one of the highest levels in golf, it’s something I’ll cherish for a while.”
Bhatia won with a full complement of Callaway clubs: Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS driver (9°, Fuji Ventus Shaft); Epic Speed fairway wood (15°, Project X Hzrdus shaft; Apex UW (19°, Project X Hzrdus shaft); Apex TCB irons (4-PW, KBS Taper 125 sShafts); Jaws MD5 wedges (50°, 54°, 58°, KBS Taper 125 shafts); Odyssey 2-Ball Ten putter.
Bhatia has been playing the Rogue driver since the fall.
Online Shopping Pays Off for Mike Weir
Mike Weir got more than he bargained for after browsing online for golf products a while back.
Weir, the 2003 Masters champion who is about to start his second year on the PGA Tour Champions, came across a pair of Payntr's X 001 F golf shoe and placed an order — no different than any other online consumer.
Payntr astutely recognized the Canadian's name on the order and reached out to him. Weir tested the product for a few months and was named the company's first brand ambassador this week.
Also this week, Weir, along with Alex Cejka, joined the Tour Edge professional staff. Weir played the Exotics 721 3-metal late in his first PGA Tour Champions season.
Srixon Ball Spins With Style
For those readers old enough to remember the American Basketball Association, two things helped make the league standout from the NBA — the three-point line and the red, white and blue basketball.
Watching a well-spun three-point attempt from behind the arc was somewhat magical as the ball's colors blurred together.
That came to mind after seeing Srixon's new Z-Star Divide series golf balls. The Z-Star and Z-Star XV feature an evenly divided yellow/white colorway.
The company touts a "SpinSkin with SeRM, a durable coating on the thermoplastic urethane cover that digs deep into wedge and iron grooves at impact for optimal spin and control," along with its FastLayer core, which "starts soft in the center and gradually becomes firm around its edge" and its 338-dimple pattern.
But the main attraction is that divided colorway.
With spin being a key component to performance, the divided look makes spin easier to track, especially around the greens. It also creates a helpful visual while aligning a putt.
The Srixon Z-Star Divide retails for $44.99 and launches Jan. 21.
If nothing else, the ball would be ideal for science projects in which a student has to differentiate the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.
> Ping signs Stanford's Rachel Heck and Southern Methodist's Ollie Osborne to name, image and likeness agreements.
> Callaway's Rogue ST family of drivers is already in the bags of Kevin Kisner, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Phil Mickelson, but Kisner is having the most success of the group since the calendar flipped to 2022.
Kisner's T-3 at the Sony Open gives him two successive top-10 finishes with the Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS driver in the bag. On the weekend he hit 85.7% of his fairways.
> In winning the Masters last year, Hideki Matsuyama played a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 tour prototype model. On Sunday at the Sony Open, Matsuyama won in a playoff using a similar tour prototype, the Scotty Cameron Timeless Newport 2 GSS.
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