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University Student Clinches PGA Championship Win

Nick Dunlap Becomes First Amateur Winner on the PGA Tour in 33 Years 


By: James Kinnaird


PHOTOGRAPH: USGA - KATHRYN RILEY


Twenty-Year-old University of Alabama sophomore Nick Dunlap has entered the PGA’s illustrious ‘winners circle’, following his shock victory at the American Express Championship last Sunday. From a field that contained many of the sport’s big hitters such as Justin Thomas, Sam Burns and Xander Schauffele, it was the amateur who came out on top. Dunlap produced a thrilling final round in which he broke the tournament scoring record as a 72-hole event.

 

The college sophomore emerged as one of the favourites following his impressive round of 60 on Friday that equalled the record of lowest score for an amateur on the PGA tour and set a course record at La Quinta. In a press conference on Friday, following that round, Dunlap appeared calm despite leading the competition by only one stroke, with 15-time PGA winner Justin Thomas chasing him down, claiming “the pressure is a privilege”.

 

Dunlap finished the tournament an incredible 29 under par for the week, shooting 2 under par on his last round to see off Christiaan Bezuidenhout who pushed him all the way to the final putt of the final round in search of his first win. Just minutes after sinking his final shot, Dunlap spoke to Sky Sports in an emotional post round interview in which he mentioned the perseverance required to win the competition, claiming that finding the water and shooting a double bogey on the 7th hole that day “tested everything he had”. It was revealed earlier on in the week that Dunlap had been doing university work in-between rounds, and following his historic win an interviewer jokingly asked if he had any homework to do, to which he cracked a big smile and replied “yes, probably won’t do it though”.

 

However, despite the elation of winning his first event, Nick Dunlap will see none of the $1.5 million cash prize, as amateurs are unable to accept any prize money from PGA events. However, Dunlap was unfazed by this and appeared simply appreciative to be a PGA tour winner, confessing “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” 

 

But the PGA tour’s newest winner won’t be leaving empty handed, as the victory ensures an offer of a PGA tour membership which he accepted just four days after his victory in California. In a press conference at Alabama University Dunlap thanked several members of his team who had assisted him through recent injuries and admitted that accepting his PGA membership and turning pro is “the easiest decision I’ve ever made”.

 

The last couple of weeks have undoubtedly been the most intense that Nick Dunlap has ever had, but his calm nature both on and off the golf course is testament to what he is capable of. Dunlap will be back in action at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, in which the golf world will no doubt be keeping a close eye on the PGA tour’s newest member.

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