[PHOTO: Raj Mehta]

Akshay Bhatia won – or maybe the better word is “survived” – the Valero Texas Open today by beating Denny McCarthy on the first hole of sudden death. And he did it playing injured.

Despite entering the back nine with a six-shot lead, Bhatia needed to birdie the 18th hole just to force a playoff after McCarthy closed with seven consecutive birdies at TPC San Antonio. If that wasn’t enough, there was a Masters invite riding on the line for Bhatia. So you can’t blame the 22-year-old for unleashing a furious fist-pump when he converted his 11-footer on the last hole of regulation play.

One problem: that fist pump popped his left shoulder out.

Cameras caught Bhatia rubbing his shoulder before the playoff, with NBC Sports reporting that Bhatia requested his trainer through PGA Tour officials.

After McCarthy dunked his approach into the water on the first playoff hole, Bhatia met his trainer, Aki Tajima, who taped up his injured shoulder.

Despite the injury, Bhatia’s third shot safely found the green, and after McCarthy missed his bogey attempt, Bhatia cleaned up what was left for his second career tour victory. Getting a shoulder popped back in sounds painful, but given he earned a trip to Augusta in the process, we’re guessing that’s a bargain Bhatia will gladly make.