Bhatia to make pro debut at Safeway Open, post-Walker Cup
With his Walker Cup spot secured, Akshay Bhatia, 17, released a bit of news on Thursday that reveals the next step of his career. Bhatia will make his professional debut roughly two weeks after the Walker Cup when he plays the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open on a sponsor exemption.
The event will be played at Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa, Calif., on Sept. 26-29. Bhatia tees it up with the U.S. team at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England, Sept. 7-8 for the Walker Cup. He just returned from a summer golf odyssey overseas that included the British Amateur and European Amateur.
Bhatia’s selection to the Walker Cup team makes him the youngest player ever to earn that distinction. The reigning Jones Cup winner has made it clear that he always intended to go the professional route early and skip college.
Bhatia made his first professional start earlier this year when he earned a sponsor exemption into the Valspar Open. Courtesy of his Jones Cup win, he also will have a sponsor exemption into the RSM Classic in November. He has struggled to get through Monday qualifiers.
“I’m very excited to make the Safeway Open my first event as a professional on the PGA Tour. This is what I have been working toward for a long time,” Bhatia said in a statement. “I am very thankful that Safeway and the tournament committee have given me this exciting opportunity”.
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has also been extended a sponsor exemption into the Safeway.