Amateur golfer Nick Dunlap makes history with PGA Tour victory, missing $1.5m prize but gaining coveted opportunities.
Twenty-year-old American amateur golfer Nick Dunlap made history at The American Express in La Quinta, California, becoming the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson’s triumph in 1991.
Despite this accomplishment, Dunlap is ineligible to claim the $1.512 million winner’s purse due to his amateur status, with the reward going to the runner-up, South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
Dunlap showcased composure beyond his year throughout the tournament, finishing an impressive 29 under par after four rounds.
“Nothing like I’ve ever felt,” Dunlap said. “It was so cool to be out here and experience this as an amateur.”
The win opens up opportunities for Dunlap, including entries into prestigious tournaments like the Masters, the PGA Championship, and the Players Championship at Sawgrass, along with a two-year membership on the PGA Tour, potentially paving the way for a professional career.
Dunlap’s win is significant, as only seven amateurs have claimed PGA Tour victories since 1945.
Notably, golf icons like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth failed to secure PGA Tour victories in their amateur days. Phil Mickelson, the last amateur to achieve this feat, congratulated Dunlap on social media.
Such an impressive performance by Nick Dunlap. Congratulations on an incredible win. This is just the beginning 👍👍
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) January 22, 2024
Min Woo Lee was the leading Australian golfer at The American Express, finishing tied for 21st with a closing round of 67, ending the tournament at 20-under par in his first full-time PGA Tour appearance.