When Akshay Bhatia turned pro at 17, his decision was met with skepticism. Was he ready for the hardships?
If success is defined by wins, Bhatia, who turns 20 on Jan. 31, could be heading in the right direction after winning the Korn Ferry Tour’s Bahamas Great Exuma Classic in his first full-eligibility start on the tour.
Bhatia, the third youngest player to win a Korn Ferry Tour event, finished at 65 and won by shots with 14-under 274.
“Playing these guys, guys who’ve been out here forever, former PGA Tour winners and players, is just amazing,” said Bhatia, who started 2022 ranked 932 in the official world golf rankings. “Being able to compete and win mentally and physically at one of the highest levels of golf is something I will cherish for a while.”
Bhatia won with all 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 125s shafts); 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 golf products online a while back.
Weir, the 2003 Masters Champion, who is about to enter his sophomore year with the PGA Tour Champions, came across a pair of Payntr X 001 F golf shoes and placed an order – not unlike any other online consumer.
Related: How Payntr golf shoes were built from the ground up
Payntr recognized the Canadian’s name on the order and turned 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 joined the Tour Edge professional team alongside Alex Cejka. Weir played the Exotics 721 3-Metal late in his debut PGA Tour Champions season.
Srixon Ball spins in style
For those readers old enough to remember the American Basketball Association, two things helped set the league apart from the NBA — the three-point line and the red, white, and blue basketball.
Watching a well-spun three-point try from behind the arc was somewhat magical as the ball’s colors blurred together.
That’s what came to mind after seeing Srixon’s new Z-Star Divide series of golf balls. The Z-Star and Z-Star XV feature an evenly split yellow/white colorway.
The company touts “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 is “in starts out soft from the center and gradually becomes firm around its edge” and its 338 dimple pattern.
But the main attraction is this split colourway.
Because spin is a key component to performance, the split look makes spin easier to track, especially around the greens. It also creates a helpful image when lining up a putt.
The Srixon Z-Star Divide costs $44.99 and will be available on January 21st.
[Shop Srixon golf balls in our store]
Last but not least, the ball would be ideal for science projects where a student needs to distinguish the northern or southern hemisphere.
USA Today Sports | Kyle Terada
> Ping signs Stanford’s Rachel Heck and Southern Methodist’s Ollie Osborne to make name, image and likeness agreements.
> Callaway’s Rogue ST family of riders is already in the pockets of Kevin Kisner, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Phil Mickelson, but Kisner has had the biggest success of the group since the calendar switched to 2022.
Kisner’s T-3 at the Sony Open sees him back-to-back top 10 finishes with the Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS driver. He hit 85.7% of his fairways over the weekend.
[Shop Callaway drivers in our store]
> When he won the Masters last year, Hideki Matsuyama played a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Tour prototype. At the Sony Open on Sunday, Matsuyama won in a playoff with a similar Tour prototype, the Scotty Cameron Timeless Newport 2 GSS.
[Shop Scotty Cameron putters in our store]