Nick Dunlap Player Profile And What's In The Bag
Nick Dunlap held his nerve to become the first amateur since Phil Mickelson way back in 1991 to win on the PGA Tour.
The 20-year-old holed a six-foot par putt on the last to claim The American Express title by one shot from South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
The American missed the cut in his previous three events on the PGA Tour.
"It's so cool to be experiencing this as an amateur," said Dunlap. "Whether I made or missed that, if you had told me come Wednesday night that I had a putt to win this tournament, I wouldn't have believed you."
Dunlap is the real deal. Last year he emulated Tiger Woods by becoming only the second player to win both the US Junior Amateur and US Amateur titles.
His final round at La Quinta's Pete Dye-designed Stadium course featured a double-bogey six on the short par-four seventh after he pushed an iron into a lake as his three-shot overnight lead evaporated.
But Dunlap responded magnificently with three birdies in his next nine holes as he closed with a two-under 70 to hold off Bezuidenhout and become just the seventh amateur to win a PGA Tour event.
The South African - who holed a 138-yard wedge shot for an eagle two on the par-four 15th - also birdied the last in a seven-under 65 to set a clubhouse target of 28 under.
Dunlap, who had moved to 29 under with a birdie on the 16th, admitted he was unaware of Bezuidenhout's final-hole birdie and, when he was standing over his second shot to the last, he thought he had a two-shot lead.
His approach leaked right and hit a spectator before fortuitously coming to rest a couple of yards off the edge of the green.
He chipped up to six feet and nervelessly holed the putt after his caddie told him "it's inside left, you've made a million of these before".
Because he is an amateur, Dunlap will not receive any prize money, with the $1.5m (£1.18m) winner's cheque going to Bezuidenhout.
When asked if the next natural step was to turn professional, he replied: "I don't know. I have to take a second to let what just happened sink in a little bit.
"That's a decision that's not just about me. It affects a lot of people, and obviously I'm going to try to enjoy this.”
Dunlap was born in Birmingham, Alabama on December 23, 2003. When he was 12 years old he shot a round of 59 to win a junior tournament by 13 strokes.
As a teenager he was also a talented baseball player and American footballer.
Dunlap won the Alabama State Junior Championship in 2018. He was runner-up at the 2020 Notah Begay III Junior Golf National Championship, as well as the 2021 Junior Players Championship and Boy's Junior PGA Championship. He won the 2021 World Junior Championship and the 2021 US Junior Amateur Championship, which gave him entry to the 2022 US Open. He was named the 2021 AJGA Golfer of the Year.
Ranked as the No. 1 junior golfer in 2022, Dunlap committed to the University of Alabama golf team. He won the Northeast Amateur and the North and South Amateur the same year.
In August 2023, Dunlap won the US Amateur, defeating the highly-rated Gordon Sargent in the first round of the match play en route to reaching the final, where he beat Neal Shipley 4&3. It made Dunlap only the second golfer to win both the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur Championships, after Tiger Woods. He represented the United States team at the 2023 Walker Cup and Eisenhower Trophy. The United States won both titles, and Dunlap was the runner-up in the individual stroke play at the 2023 Eisenhower Trophy.
3-Wood: Ping G425 LST (14.5 Degrees)
Irons: Srixon ZX (3), TaylorMade P7MC (4-9)
Wedges: TaylorMade MG3 (48), TaylorMade MG4 (52, 56, 60)
Putter: Odyssey O-Works #7 Tank
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
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