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Amateur Nick Dunlap Makes History with American Express Triumph

Amateur Nick Dunlap Makes History with American Express Triumph
(Newscom/Alamy)

Amateur Nick Dunlap made history by becoming the first amateur since Phil Mickelson in 1991 to win an event on the PGA TOUR.

The 20-year-old American, who is a sophomore at the University of Alabama, held his nerve to putt a six-foot par on the 18th to secure a famous one-shot victory over South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout at the American Express in California.

“Nothing like I’ve ever felt,” Dunlap said following his winning putt..

“It was so cool to be out here and experience this as an amateur. Whether I had made that or missed that, if you would have told me (on) Wednesday night I would have a putt to win this golf tournament, I wouldn’t believe you.”

“Everybody’s got doubts,” he added. “I probably had a thousand different scenarios in my head of how today was going to go, and it went nothing like I expected. I think that was the cool part about it. That’s golf.”

As well as becoming the first amateur winner since 1991 and just the seventh amateur to win on the PGA TOUR, he also becomes the youngest winning amateur since 1910.

Six-time major winner Phil Mickelson, who was the last amateur to win on the PGA TOUR went to X (formerly Twitter) to congratulate Dunlap.

“Such an impressive performance by Nick Dunlap. Congratulations on an incredible win,” he posted.

Despite not being able to collect the winner’s prize of $1.5m, victory means that Dunlap now has a two-year exemption¬†on the PGA TOUR as well as entry to the Masters, the US PGA Championship, and The Players Championship.

Despite putting the pressure on the Dunlap, Bezuidenhout fell short and finished the event a single shot behind 20-year-old while there was a three-way tie for third which featured Americans Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas and Taiwan’s Chu An Yu.

The next event on the PGA TOUR is the Farmers Insurance Open taking place between 24-27 January at Torrey Pines Golf Course in California.