Nick Dunlap becomes first amateur to win PGA Tour event since 1991

LA QUINTA, Calif. — Nick Dunlap, a sophomore at the University of Alabama, became the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event since 1991, prevailing in the final round of The American Express tournament on Sunday.

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Dunlap, 20, shot a 2-under-par on the PGA West course at La Quinta Country Club for a 29-under-par 259 total and a one-shot victory over South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout, ESPN reported. He became the first amateur to win a Tour event since Phil Mickelson captured the Tucson Open as a junior at Arizona State University in 1991.

Dunlap held a three-shot lead entering the final round, according to ESPN.

Dunlap is only the seventh amateur since 1945, and the third since 1957, to win a Tour event, according to the Los Angeles Times. Dunlap, who won the 2023 U.S. Amateur, won in his fourth Tour event and became the youngest amateur to win on the pro tour since 1910, the newspaper reported.

Dunlap has made three collegiate starts this season for the Crimson Tide and won the SEC Match Play tournament, Golfweek reported. As a freshman last year he had five top-10 finishes and a win at the Linger Longer Invitational.

Dunlap, the only amateur in the 156-golfer field at The American Express -- formerly known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic -- took the lead entering Sunday’s final round after shooting a 60 on Saturday, the Times reported.

He lost the lead on the front nine at the Stadium Course, but regained the lead and recovered from two bad shots on the final hole to finish with a par and a tournament victory, according to the newspaper.

Dunlap’s 259 total was a tournament record for 72 holes. As an amateur he cannot collect the $1.5 million grand prize -- that goes to Bezuidenhout, who shot a final-round 65 -- but he gets a trophy and keeps his exemption into the Masters, reported.

He will also receive a new exemption into the PGA Championship, according to the website.

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