Akshay Bhatia's golf ball falls into a fairway drain, leading to an unusual free drop

Akshay Bhatia waves after hitting his birdie putt on the 18th green during the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament at Detroit Country Club, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT (AP) — Akshay Bhatia had a hole-in-one of sorts when his golf ball fell into a hole in a fairway drain at Detroit Golf Club in the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Friday.

Bhatia's 315-yard drive on the 579-yard, par-5 17th hole ended up underground after it made its way into one of five holes in the drain that were just big enough for a golf ball to fall into.

“Fairly certain that's a Callaway at the bottom,” Bhatia told a PGA Tour rules official.

Bhatia got a free drop and a memorable moment. He ended up making par on the way to a 5-under 67 that put him atop the leaderboard at 13 under among the early finishers.

“That was wild,” Bhatia said. “No, never seen it. Rules official (had) never seen it.

"It was kind of one-in-a-million chance that ball goes in that small hole in that drain. So, it was pretty funny.”

The 22-year-old Bhatia picked up his second PGA Tour victory at the Texas Open in April. He tied for fifth last week at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, where he was in the final group that was disrupted by climate protesters storming the 18th green.


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