Golfer Wins Tourney Despite Dislocating Shoulder With Fist Pump

You can't make this stuff up

Akshay Bhatia poses with the trophy after winning the Valero Texas Open.
Akshay Bhatia won the Valero Texas Open on the way to the Masters.
Brennan Asplen/Getty

After blowing a six-shot lead at the Valero Texas Open, 22-year-old lefty Akshay Bhatia was able to shake off a self-inflicted shoulder injury to win the tournament in a sudden-death playoff and force his way into the Masters later this week at Augusta National.

Bhatia, who asked for treatment on his shoulder during the playoff hole, was holding his big lead entering the 10th hole before Denny McCarthy birdied eight of the final nine holes to card a joint tournament-best nine-under 63 and force the player he’d been trailing all afternoon to make an 11-foot birdie putt to get to a playoff. Under pressure, Bhatia was able to deliver.

After he did, Bhatia celebrated with a fist pump that was apparently forceful enough to dislocate his left shoulder from its socket. “When I made that putt and I kind of raised my arm, it kind of came out of socket and went back in,” Bhatia told reporters. “It’s happened before I had this happen from pickleball and then had it happen in Bermuda, but it’s just going to feel a little loose. I’m not too, too concerned, but it’s definitely a little uncomfortable right now.”

Teeing off on the five-par playoff hole, McCarthy put a ball in the water, taking the pressure off Bhatia. After receiving treatment from his trainer, Bhatia got off to a good start and ended up with a birdie on the playoff hole that gave him the win at the Texas Open and punched his ticket to the Masters.

Bhatia, who only has one previous PGA Tour Win, competed in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta 10 years ago when he was 12 and getting the chance to win a green jacket this week will be a full-circle moment for him. “It’s everything you dream of as a kid. Being the first to play in the inaugural was unbelievable,” Bhatia said last month. “I remember being in Augusta, getting in an elevator at the hotel and John Daly was standing there. I could not believe it.”

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The first Drive, Chip and Putt finalist to play in the Masters, Bhatia also qualified for the U.S. Open with his second PGA Tour win on Sunday and moved to No. 34 in the world.

“Man, what a crazy, crazy day,” Bhatia said.

What would be even crazier is if Bhatia is somehow able to win at the Masters, even if he wasn’t injured. He’s currently listed at +7500 to capture a green jacket.

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