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Bhatia downs Rodgers in Barracuda playoff for first PGA Tour win

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Los Angeles: American Akshay Bhatia birdied the 72nd hole to force a playoff then edged Patrick Rodgers with a par at the first playoff hole to claim his first US PGA Tour title at the Barracuda Championship.

Bhatia, 21, shook off two early bogeys and a double-bogey at the fifth hole, making six birdies the rest of the way to score nine points under the Modified Stableford scoring system that awards points for birdies and eagles and deducts them for bogeys and worse.

That took him to 40 points, pulling him level with overnight leader Rodgers who couldn't get his own birdie putt at the 72nd hole to fall for the win.

Rodgers had stretched his lead with three birdies in the first eight holes.

But he had two bogeys and just one birdie coming in, finishing with six points as Bhatia surged into contention.

Rodgers, a 31-year-old seeking a first tour title, got a terrible break when they returned for the playoff to 18, where his solid tee shot landed in a sandy divot.

His shot out was in deep rough short of the green as Bhatia blasted a superb drive down the fairway, then gave himself a birdie chance. He ended up tapping in for a par that was enough for the win after Rodgers's bogey.

"I can't even talk," said Bhatia, whose runner-up finish at the Puerto Rico Open had given him temporary tour status. The win gives him full tour member status and he's now qualified for the season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs.

Bhatia admitted that he "felt uncomfortable" in the early going at Tahoe Mountain Country Club in Truckee, California.

"I made a really bad double, I hit some really bad shots," the Californian said. "Then I just kind of made some really nice putts on eight and nine and then started hitting some really good shots coming in."

It was an agonising end to the week for Rodgers, who now has four runner-up finishes on tour without a win.

France's Julien Guerrier roared into a share of third place with 10 birdies that gave him a final-round score of 20 points for a total of 37.

He was tied with Sweden's Jens Dantorp who had an eagle and six birdies and two bogeys to score pile up 15 points.


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