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Valero Texas Open winner Akshay Bhatia says his commitment to using an Odyssey broomstick putter is the one constant in a whirlwind week that saw him scrambling to fly to Augusta National after punching the very last ticket into the Masters.

Bhatia, a 22-year-old Californian, recently switched to the Odyssey Versa Jailbird 380 broomstick putter having gone through his performance statistics on the PGA Tour. The move paid off when Bhatia won at TPC San Antonio in a sudden-death playoff, and given he was not already eligible for the 88th Masters, Bhatia secured a Masters debut 10 years after competing in Augusta National’s Drive, Chip and Putt finals as a 12-year-old.

“I’ve built a really nice team around me, people that I trust, and we went through kind of the stats last year of what I can improve on,” Bhatia said Monday at Augusta National. “My ball striking was always really good, and putting always lacked. When you want to contend in tournaments, you got to make some putts when they count. I just felt like the style I was using previous was good, but it just wasn’t as consistent. We took a chance on switching to the broomstick, and I talked to a couple players about it, and they gave me some good advice, just what to work on. I made a promise to myself that I’m going to take at least six months to try this putter out, regardless of how it goes, and so far my stats have kind of skyrocketed. It’s a nice improvement, especially from kind of the 10- to 15-feet range.”

Bhatia’s gamer, the Versa Jailbird 380 model, is a broomstick design that incorporates Odyssey’s Versa high contrast alignment in the distinct Jailbird shape.

The switch paid off with Bhatia gaining 2.376 shots on the field on the greens in San Antonio, ranking 24th. That is ominous for other players considering how potent Bhatia’s driving and iron play is. Bhatia uses the  Callaway Rogue ST Max LS (9 degrees), and he ranked sixth in the field (4.268 shots) last week for strokes gained: off the tee. He also uses the Callaway Apex TCB Raw (5-PW), and last week he gained an astonishing 8.225 shots on the field.

Bhatia’s breakthrough on the greens will no doubt aid his Masters quest given Augusta National requires deft touch with the putter on the quadrants and shelves on the putting surfaces. That will combine with his stellar approach play, a necessity at a golf course nicknamed the hardest second-shot golf course in the majors.

What’s in the bag: Akshay Bhatia

Driver: Callaway Rogue ST Max LS

Fairway wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW prototype

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT, Callaway Apex TCB Raw (5-PW)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw

Putter: Odyssey Versa Jailbird 380

Ball: Callaway Chrome Tour

Meanwhile, fellow Callaway superstar Jon Rahm, the defending Masters champion this week at Augusta National, is preparing for his shot at a third major title. Having already won the US Open in 2021 and last year’s Masters, Rahm, 29, will no doubt feel less pressure this week than before he donned the green jacket. The only anxiety he held pre-tournament was ensuring all the past winners at Tuesday’s night’s Champions Dinner enjoyed his Spanish-inspired menu.

“Well, everybody I talked to seems very excited about the menu, which, if anything, has put a lot more pressure on me, even though I’m not cooking, right. So, yeah, I’m definitely a little nervous,” Rahm said. “It is quite daunting to think about the room you’re going to be in and having to stand up and talk to that group of players, right. I mean, it’s basically all the living legends in this game, active and non-active. Everybody who’s been somebody in this game is there. So as wonderful as it is to be a part of, it’s still, yeah, a little nerve-wracking for sure.”

What’s in the bag: Jon Rahm

Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke 

Fairways Woods: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond T

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro, (UT) Callaway Apex TCB (5-PW)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (52, 56, 60)

Putter: Odyssey Ai-One Rossie S

Ball: Callaway Chrome Tour X

Meanwhile, Australia’s contingent of Callaway stars at the Masters sits at two, led by three-time DP World Tour winner and recent runner up at the PGA Tour’s Palm Beach Gardens stop, Min Woo Lee, as well as amateur Jasper Stubbs.

Lee, 25, played a practice round Tuesday at 1pm with three of his fellow Australian competitors. Lee is coming off a maiden top five at the majors last year, when he tied for fifth at the 2023 US Open. He also tied for 14th at the 2022 Masters. 

Lee broke his right finger in the gym last week but appeared to be managing the pain in Tuesday’s practice round. He said it wasn’t affecting him.

“No, that’s the funny thing. A few days afterwards, and it was pretty average when I was hitting chip shots. But today I played a full nine holes and hit some decent shots so I’m surprised and I think it was very lucky. I still went to the gym last week as much as I could. Obviously didn’t do that exercise. Every time I looked at that 20-pound dumb bell, yeah, gave it a death stare.”

Lee is ecstatic for his third Masters.

“Yeah, it is a very special place, and really grateful to be here. The Masters is all the way up there. It’s my favourite place in the world. It’s just a place of visualization. I really enjoy it. Not many straight shots or straight things out here, so I like to see the shape.”

Stubbs secured his major debut at the Masters back in October when he won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at his home course, Royal Melbourne. Since then, Stubbs has made a reconnaissance trip to Augusta National while he also sought the advice of Australia’s PGA Tour elite about the world’s most recognisable course. Among the advice offered was to practise hitting iron shots from a downhill, sidehill lie in preparation for the second shot into the par-5 13th. He did so at the PGA Tour of Australasia’s headquarters at Sandy Golf Links on the Melbourne sandbelt. “It’s got lots of slopes that you can hit range balls off, which was awesome for this week, obviously being one of the slope-iest [courses] of the year. I was practising all kind of different slopes, which was cool to be able to do that at home,” Stubbs said on Monday at Augusta during a press conference.

Stubbs, 22, won the Asia-Pacific Amateur, which is jointly run by Augusta National, at the Composite course at Royal Melbourne in a playoff, where he sunk two clutch birdie putts – in regulation and extra holes – to secure his invitation to the Masters.  Stubbs is a member at Royal Melbourne, where the West course was designed by Alister McKenzie, also the architect behind Augusta National. Stubbs said the sloped, quick greens had been adequate preparation for Augusta.  “I think they’re both pretty similar in the way that they’re both very firm and fast greens,” he said. “I think the course is a bit hillier here from the fairways. But definitely, once you’re on the greens, Royal Melbourne and Augusta are pretty close in how fast you can get a downhill putt and how much they break.”  

Stubbs’ prep also included a February trip to Augusta National to play three days’ worth of practice rounds with a member, in order to soak up the aura well before Masters week. “We basically had the course to ourselves; it was around Valentine’s Day,” Stubbs said.

Using his Odyssey White Hot OG 1WS, Stubbs had been preparing in earnest on the slick, sloped greens at Royal Melbourne’s West course before arriving at Augusta National. Both courses were designed by celebrated Gold Age architect Dr Alister MacKenzie.

“I think they’re both pretty similar in the way that they’re both very firm and fast greens. I think the course is a bit hillier here from the fairways. But definitely, once you’re on the greens, Royal Melbourne and Augusta are pretty close in how fast you can get a downhill putt and how much they break.”

What’s in the bag: Min Woo Lee

Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond S

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond High Launch

Driving iron: Callaway X-Forged UT

Irons: Callaway Apex MB (4-PW)

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 5 Jaws (50)

Putter: Odyssey Ai-One Double Wide, Odyssey Stroke Lab 70 shaft

Ball: Callaway Chrome Tour X

What’s in the bag: Jasper Stubbs

Driver: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond

3-wood: Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond

Irons: Callaway Apex UT ’24 (20°) and Callaway Apex CB (4-10-iron)

Wedges: Callaway JAWS Raw (50, 56, 60)

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG 1WS

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X