Akshay Bhatia and Lucy Li hug after their mixed team event on Oct. 15, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Team USA’s Lucy Li and Akshay Bhatia partnered for the mixed team event at the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and came home with the silver medal. The team event consists of three consecutive days on the course with the first round being four-ball, the second round foursome and the final round a cumulative tally of both individuals’ scores.
After two weeks together at the Youth Olympics, it’s clear that they already admire each other as athletes.
“It was so much fun playing with Lucy,” Bhatia said. “She’s done so much in her career already; she’s someone that I’ve looked up to, and even now, just watching her clutch up on a lot of shots today. And this whole week, it was just so much fun to play together.”
For Li, the feeling was mutual.
“He played really well today and he’s such a good player,” Li said. “Just to be able to play with him and learn from him was such an amazing experience. We’re really good friends, especially after Junior Ryder Cup last week. We just had a blast on the course the last three days. It’s honestly just so much fun, and I think that’s the thing we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”
Their team bond paid off as they moved up through the standings over the three days. The first day they shot 8-under-par in four-ball to rank third. The second day they shot par at 70 to maintain their ranking. But on the final day, the Americans came out strong with a cumulative stroke tally of 137 to finish their card for the three rounds at 11-under-par.
After all that time on the course together, it wasn’t just the game of golf that they were learning from each other.
“It was fun to meet people from different countries,” Bhatia said. “I’ve even learned some different languages. I learned some Chinese from Lucy.”
While he’s put in an earnest effort, Bhatia’s language skill can’t compare to his skills on the green. Li teased him as he mixed up his Chinese phrases, but said his effort was OK.
“He’s been working on this for two weeks,” Li said. “If his golf game is a 10, his Chinese would be a 2.”