Bhatia wins Texas Open playoff to get last Masters spot; Korda makes it 4 in a row on LPGA

Akshay Bhatia holds his trophy after winning the Texas Open golf tournament, Sunday, April 7, 2024, in San Antonio. Bhatia defeated Denny McCarthy in a playoff. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

By The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Akshay Bhatia nearly celebrated too soon Sunday, hurting his left shoulder while pumping his arms on a 12-foot birdie to force a playoff. He recovered to make birdie on the first extra hole and win the Texas Open over hard-luck Denny McCarthy to earn a trip to the Masters.

McCarthy was six shots behind going to the back nine at the TPC San Antonio when he birdied eight of the nine holes — including the last seven — making a 12-foot birdie for a 9-under 63. Bhatia had to make his birdie putt from the same range to have a chance.

He made it for a 67, raising his arms to shake them in his clutch moment. And that’s when he felt his shoulder — which he says has given him trouble before — pop out of its socket.

Bhatia hit his tee shot and laid up with a 5-iron on the par-5 18th in the playoff.

McCarthy, winless on the PGA Tour, was first to play and chunked a wedge so badly that he immediately hung his head. The ball came up some 20 yards short into the middle of a creek.

And then Bhatia called for treatment, jogging off the course briefly to get his shoulder taped. He returned and hit wedge to 6 feet. Needing three putts to win, he holed it to win for the second time on the PGA Tour.

The 22-year-old Bhatia won at the Barracuda Championship last summer. It was held opposite the British Open, so it didn’t get him into the Masters. This one did, and it came 10 years after Bhatia played in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at the home of the Masters. McCarthy had already earned his spot from finishing in the top 50 in the world last year.

Rory McIlroy closed with a 66 to finish alone in third, nine shots back.


NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — Nelly Korda won the T-Mobile Match Play to become the first LPGA Tour player in 16 years to win four straight starts, taking four of the first seven holes and going on to beat Leona Maguire 4 and 3 at Shadow Creek.

Lorena Ochoa in 2008 was the last player to win four consecutive starts. Korda, the world’s top-ranked player, will try to tie the record of five — set by Nancy Lopez in 1978 and matched by Annika Sorenstam in 2004-05 — in two weeks at the season’s first major, The Chevron Championship.

Because Korda took seven weeks off after winning in January in her hometown of Bradenton, Florida, this victory was her third straight in a scheduled event. Four players share the record of four in a row, with Mickey Wright doing it twice.

Korda took the drama out it against her Irish opponent with birdies on Nos. 5-7 for a 4-up lead. She was 5 up after 12, saw Maguire take 13 and 14 with pars, and ended the match with a par win on the par-4 15th.

Korda earned $300,000 for her 12th career victory.


DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Dean Burmester of South Africa won for the first time on the LIV Golf League by closing with a 4-under 68 and beating Sergio Garcia in a playoff when the Spaniard hit into the water on the second extra hole at LIV Golf Miami.

It was the third time Garcia has lost a playoff in LIV Golf, and the second time this year.

The former Masters champion holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole and then took the lead when Burmester bogeyed the 18th at Trump National Doral. But Garcia badly missed a 4-foot par putt on the 18th hole and shot 70. They finished at 11-under 205, one shot ahead of Matthew Wolff.

Both made par on the 18th on the first playoff hole. The second time around, Garcia came up short of the green and into the water. Burmester made a 3-foot par putt for the $4 million prize.

Burmester won for the third time in the last five months. He won the Joburg Open and South African Open late last year, events co-sanctioned by the European and Sunshine tours.

Masters champion Jon Rahm heads to Augusta National without having won in a year, at least as an individual. His Legion XIII team won for the third time in six LIV events this year.


SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Steven Fisk birdied three of his last four holes for a 4-under 68, and then won with a par on the first extra hole to win the Club Car Championship at The Landings to win his first Korn Ferry Tour event.

Rob Oppenheim shot 67 on the Deer Creek course at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club They finished at 14-under 274.

On the 18th in the playoff, Oppenheim at a 5-foot par putt to extend the playoff.

Phillip Knowles, the 54-hole leader, shot 71 and tied for third at 12-under 276 with John Pak (63) and Max McGreevy (67).


Nicole Broch Estrup, Pei-Ying Tsai and Jess Whitting were declared joint winners in the Australian Women’s Classic when heavy rain forced the final round to be canceled. Only 18 holes were played, and it will not be considered an official Ladies European Tour event. Prize money will be unofficial. … Deon Germishuys won the Limpopo Championship on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa with a 6-under 66, beating Jacques Blaauw by two shots. … Miyuu Abe rallied with a 7-under 65 for a one-shot victory over Shuri Sakuma in the Fujifilm Studio Alice Ladies Open on the Japan LPGA. … Youmin Hwang closed with a 1-under 71 for a one-shot victory in the Doosan E&C We’ve Championship on the Korea LPGA.


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