WHAT A WIN. For Nick Dunlap, age 20, college golfer at the University of Alabama, class of 2026. For the PGA Tour, who will soon welcome the arrival of the next potential superstar. For golf as a sport, which has been divided, divisive and in relative disarray of late. This is one of those extraordinary accomplishments that everyone can rally around.
Dunlap showed uncommon poise, skill and brilliance across 72 holes at The American Express tournament, culminating in a clutch as clutch can be up-and-down on the 18th hole of Sunday’s final round to post 29 under par and win by a single stroke.
20-year-old amateur Nick Dunlap is a PGA TOUR champion.
Had he failed to convert that six-foot putt for the dub, Dunlap would’ve been headed to a playoff with Christiaan Bezuidenhout. The South African made a late surge with a birdie on the 18th and shot his second straight seven-under 65. Although Dunlap only scratched out a 70 one day after shooting 60, it was good enough for the win.
Part of the reason Dunlap didn’t go lower was because he hit like a half-shanked or dead block at best an iron shot on the par-4 seventh hole that found the water and led to a double bogey. The door was wide open for Sam Burns to erase his lead right away with a birdie.
Burns returned the favor at the water-flanked green of the par-3 17th by pushing his ball into the pond. That allowed Dunlap to par in and seal the deal. I mean, between the birdie on 16, a steely two-putt from long range at the 17th, and that scrambling par at the last, you couldn’t be more impressed with how Dunlap handled himself. He didn’t drop a single shot after that blow-up on No. 7. Unbelievable.
So yeah, as you might imagine, many who bore witness to Dunlap’s breakthrough triumph were thrilled, shocked and struggling to comprehend what was happening as this was only the ninth amateur since 1940 to claim victory on the PGA Tour.
First time in 33 years an amateur wins on the pga tour. A sophomore in college. Outrageous. Imagine how unimpressive most of us were when we were 20 years old? Doing basically nothing every day. Huge congratulations to Nick Dunlap. Buried a 6-footer for history.
I’m sure Nick Dunlap appreciates everyone’s concern that he doesn’t get to receive the first-place money. I’m also sure that between NIL money, impending sponsorship deals and future earnings as a pro, he’s going to do pretty well for himself.
How great is that? For Dunlap to have his family on hand and see him perform like he did, too? Just incredible stuff. You couldn’t write a better script. Who knows what the ceiling is for this young man’s game? It’s evident that the highest level of professional golf wasn’t too big of a stage for him. Now it’s a matter of when Dunlap will turn pro. For me, if I’d just beaten a world-class PGA Tour field, I’d say, “No time like the present!”
Regardless of when he begins his pro career in earnest, it’ll be a hell of a lot of fun to watch Nick Dunlap develop in the coming years. We could be looking at the coming-out party for a multiple major champion, ladies and gents. Enjoy a reaction from the winner himself to close this out.