Bhatia tied second with Scheffler, trail Korean star Tom Kim in Travelers Championship

Indian American Bhatia, who shot 64 on the first day, added a 65 with seven birdies and two bogeys

ANI | Updated: 22-06-2024 23:44 IST | Created: 22-06-2024 23:44 IST
Bhatia tied second with Scheffler, trail Korean star Tom Kim in Travelers Championship
Indian American golfer Akshay Bhatia (File Image). Image Credit: ANI
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Akshay Bhatia stayed in the group tied for second place in the Travelers Championship as Korea's Tom Kim (65) retained his first-round two-stroke lead on Friday. Kim celebrated his 22nd birthday in style by firing a 5-under 65 and remaining bogey-free for a second straight day.

Indian American Bhatia, who shot 64 on the first day, added a 65 with seven birdies and two bogeys. He birdied twice in the first three holes and added further birdies on the sixth, eighth and ninth and then 15th and 17th. A bogey on fifth was his first dropped shot and the next came on the 18th, a release said. Another Indian American Sahith Theegala (69-67) was T-24.

He said, "It was great. I hit a lot of quality shots. I got up and down when I needed to, other than 18, but other than that I played good. The wind was supposed to be out of the south and it was northeast the majority of the day, so it was pretty interesting how that came about." "I'm playing great. I mean, this is why I'm playing, this is seven in a row for me, I just want to keep building on good golf and kind of learning as I go. I feel like I've been working really hard on my technique, especially this week, and I feel like my coach and I have found a feel that works, so we're just kind of trying to build on that and focus on that as much as I can....

"There's so many trees guarding you, like 10, 11, 12, 13, it is really hot during that stretch. I mean you can't feel a breath of wind. So when you're standing over, or you're waiting for your opponent to putt, you're dying. So, it's definitely extreme, but it also makes the golf course a little easier," he added. Seeking a fourth PGA TOUR victory, the Kim continued his impressive form at TPC River Highlands to reach a career-low 36-hole score of 13-under 127 as he kept his nose ahead of close friend and World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler (64), Collin Morikawa (63) and Akshay Bhatia (65) who sit in tied second place on 129.

Compatriot Sungjae Im hit a 64 to move up to tied sixth on nine-under, four back, in what is the eighth and final Signature event of the 2024 PGA TOUR season. Leader Kim said, "I've been playing really, really solid. It's not about this week, it's about keeping building these momentum blocks for the rest of the season," explained Kim, who is competing in his eighth successive week on TOUR.

His round was highlighted by five birdies over his first 10 holes, before his game cooled off down the home stretch. Not only was Kim's ball-striking laser-like where he missed only one fairway and one green, his putting was equally impressive where he nailed three birdie putts from between 13 to 16 feet. If Kim secures victory on Sunday, he will become the first Asian winner in the tournament's history, eclipsing K.J. Choi's joint runner-up finish in 2014. He attributed his strong run of form to the extra time spent on the range, even after his sublime first-round performance where he fired a season's low of 62.

He is under no illusion that maintaining his advantage will be easy with the quality of the chasing pack, led by Scheffler who also celebrated his 28th birthday on Friday. After struggling for most of the season, with a tied fourth at the RBC Canadian Open being his only top-10 earlier this month, Kim stressed the importance of maintaining his form not just for this week, but for the remainder of the season with the FedExCup Playoffs looming, plus the Olympic Games and Presidents Cup on the horizon as well. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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