WAKE FOREST: 12-year-old golfer to compete at home of Masters - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Wake Forest junior golfer to compete at home of Masters

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12-year-old Akshay Bhatia is one of only 88 junior golfers invited to participate in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals. 12-year-old Akshay Bhatia is one of only 88 junior golfers invited to participate in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals.
WAKE FOREST, N.C. -

Akshay Bhatia has won numerous prestigious golf tournaments and is the top-ranked junior golfer in the state.

But what the 12-year-old received in the mail one day just might have topped all his accomplishments.

Akshay said he was shocked was he was one of only 88 junior golfers from across the United States and Canada to be invited to participate in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals.

Shocking, the young Wake Forest golfer said, because the event will take place at the home of the Masters -- the historic Augusta National Golf Club.

“It's relief and excitement because not a lot of people get to play that course or see that course. And I actually get a chance to play on 18, so it's going to be really fun,” Akshay said.

For most, an invitation would be enough. But not for Akshay -- his focus is on “winning.”

“Because one day I'll probably be there,” Akshay said confidently. “So I just want to get ready for it, and this is a great way to start it out."

Playing one of the greatest golf courses in the world could be a little unnerving for a 12-year-old. Not for the nation’s fourth ranked junior golfer, his dad said.

"He doesn't get intimidated,” Sonny Bhatia said. He's the number one junior golfer in the Carolinas and I believe he's number four in the world right now, stats-wise. So he doesn't get intimidated."

In fact, Akshay is looking at this event as a stepping stone. He's convinced one day he'll be a regular at the Masters, and one of the golfers to beat there.

"I want to be the first ever person to shoot a 59 at the Masters, and I think I can get there," Akshay said.

Lofty aspirations, but certainly not out of reach for the young golfer who will soon have his skills showcased on the national stage.

Golf Channel, owned by NBC Sports Group, will air five hours of live coverage of the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals on Sunday, April 6.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Todd Gibson

Known as "Gibby" around the station, Todd excels at taking viewers beyond who won or who lost. He hosts "Friday Night Blitz," a showcase of varsity football action in our area. If you have a cool sports story, tell Gibby! More>>

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