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BRENNAN ASPLEN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE Akshay Bhatia beams with pride after ruling the Texas Open via sudden death.

MIAMI (AP) — Akshay Bhatia beat Denny McCarthy in a sudden-death playoff at the end of a dramatic final round of the PGA Tour’s Texas Open in San Antonio on Sunday.

Bhatia, who is now the last qualifier to the Masters, went into the final round with a four-shot lead but a remarkable back nine from McCarthy forced a playoff.

McCarthy made eight birdies after the turn, finishing with seven in a row as he carded a nine-under 63.

His 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th left Bhatia needing to sink his own 11 footer to avoid defeat and head to a playoff and the 22-year-old Californian did not flinch.

He did wince, however, after celebrating the putt with his fist pump causing him a shoulder injury that needed treatment on the playoff hole.
Bhatia called for his trainer but while he was clearly in discomfort he was solid off the tee and made his lay-up shot before he was able to have his shoulder popped back into position and be strapped up.

But before that happened McCarthy, looking for his first win on the PGA Tour, had produced his worst shot of the week at the most crucial moment.

With a 99-yard wedge shot to the green, the 31-year-old shanked his shot and watched in disbelief as it landed in the stream in front of the green.

Bhatia kept his cool and secured the win and his first trip to the Masters.

The left-hander has, however, played at Augusta National, back in 2013 when he finished sixth in the junior Drive, Chip and Putt competition held in the days before the main event.

“Every kid dreams about going to Augusta National whether you’re a patron, whether you’re a player, caddie, whatever it may be. Just being able to go there and feel the aura of the place at such a young age was awesome. I’m looking forward to going back,” Bhatia said.

“It’s a dream come true. I wrote on my wrist today “W-T-W,” which is wire-to-wire. Just kind of pictured a straight wire from the first hole to the 72nd hole and I just tried to really stick to that,” he added.

Bhatia shot a five-under 67 with his only blemish a bogey on the par-4 10th but he said he could feel his lead fading away as his playing partner made his charge.

“It was hard. You feel like you’re kind of losing. You’re losing the golf tournament. This guy’s making a ton of birdies, I’m not making any mistakes and yet, you know, I was tied for the lead going into the last,” he said.

After a round of such outstanding putting, McCarthy, who had already qualified for the Masters, was left reflecting on one bad shot.

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