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Akshay Bhatia, 15, of Wake Forest doesn’t let age hold him back on golf course

Akshay Bhatia is like a lot of 15-year-olds. He’s growing taller, growing into his body. He has braces. He fiddles with his phone.

But Bhatia isn’t a typical 15-year-old on the golf course. A left-hander, he combines a solid, functional golf swing and good short game with a degree of focus and grit that can help separate him from his peers.

“He’s just got a drive,” said Sonny Bhatia, Akshay’s father. “He’s got that drive to post a score, always trying to be in the hunt, always in the fight. He always tries to get into the last group in the final round.

“He’ll fight right to the end. He’s a fighter.”

Bhatia entered a U.S. Open local qualifier this week at Lonnie Poole Golf Course aware that more than 80 golfers would be competing for five spots in a U.S. Open sectional. The field included several players who have turned professional such as Bo Andrews of Raleigh, a former Georgia Tech golfer who will play in the upcoming Rex Hospital Open, a Web.com Tour event.

The kid from Wake Forest finished third. With a 2-under 70, Bhatia will be in one of the…

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