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Nick Dunlap’s Historic Win: Youngest American Express Champion

Nick Dunlap’s Historic Win: Youngest American Express Champion

3 Key Points

  • Nick Dunlap, a 20-year-old amateur, wins the American Express event, becoming the first amateur victor since Phil Mickelson in 1991.
  • Despite the win, Dunlap could not claim the $1.5 million prize or the 500 FedExCup points, which went to runner-up Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
  • Dunlap faces a choice between staying in college or turning pro, with implications for his participation in major tournaments.

Amateur Golfer Nick Dunlap Makes PGA Tour History

Nick Dunlap, a University of Alabama sophomore, etched his name in the PGA Tour’s history books with a remarkable triumph at the American Express event. As an amateur, the winnings were out of reach, but the achievement resonates beyond monetary gains, marking Dunlap as one of the game’s promising talents.

Dunlap’s age—20 years and 29 days—makes him the second-youngest player to have claimed a PGA Tour event, falling short of Jordan Spieth’s record at the 2013 John Deere Classic. The young star has already joined an elite group by winning both U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur titles, a feat only matched by the legendary Tiger Woods.

No Prize Money, But Future Bright for Dunlap

The significant purse meant for the winner shifted to Christiaan Bezuidenhout, the professional golfer who finished just behind Dunlap. In addition to missing out on the money, the college student also forewent the 500 FedExCup points, which would have been a considerable addition to his season total.

Reflecting on his victory, Dunlap shared his consideration process, which includes weighing the effects it will have on his team and coach. The victory also secures him exemptions into the PGA Championship, with existing invitations to the Masters, U.S. Open, and the Open Championship through his U.S. Amateur win.

Decisions Ahead for Alabama’s Rising Star

As Dunlap digests his monumental win, he contemplates the next steps—continuing his education at the University of Alabama or joining the professional tour. His win in La Quinta grants him a PGA Tour victory, which could lead to exemptions, adding another layer to his career choices.

Dunlap’s performance in California propels him into a conversation about when, not if, he will make the transition to the pro ranks. The balance of academic commitments and potential golf stardom present Dunlap with a life-changing decision. Yet, his talent and poise suggest he is on the cusp of a successful career in professional golf, regardless of his choice.

Chip Greenway, an ardent golf enthusiast and writer, brings a unique and knowledgeable perspective to golf journalism. His profound passion for golf, rooted in his childhood, has shaped his distinct fan-based approach, evident in his engaging and detailed writings. Through "Greenway’s Fairway," his blog, Chip delivers heartfelt stories and analyses, blending his personal playing experiences with the sport's rich history and spirit. His contributions extend beyond journalism, as he actively promotes golf's camaraderie and cultural significance within his local community. EMAIL: Quote from Chip Greenway "Golf is more than a game; it's a culture and a community, and through my writing, I aim to capture its spirit and celebrate its rich history with fellow enthusiasts."

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