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How Nick Dunlap Made History at the American Express 2024

The American Express 2024 was a golf tournament that will be remembered for a long time, not only for the stunning scenery and the challenging courses, but also for the incredible performance of a young amateur who defied the odds and claimed the trophy. Nick Dunlap, a 20 year old university student, became the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event in over 30 years. The feat was last accomplished by Phil Mickelson in 1991.


Dunlap, who won the U.S. Amateur Championship in 2023, earned a spot in the American Express 2024 as part of his amateur exemption. He was not expected to make much of an impact, as he was ranked 1,247th in the world and had never played in a PGA Tour event before.

He got everyone's attention on Saturday shooting 60, the lowest score to par by an amateur in a PGA Tour Event. It led to Justin Thomas saying in his post 3rd round interview 'I didn't expect to have to deal with some college kid shooting 60' after having a good day himself.


Dunlap started the final round on Sunday with a two-shot lead over Bezuidenhout, who was the highest-ranked player in the field at 35th in the world. The two players exchanged birdies and bogeys on the front nine, with Dunlap maintaining his advantage. On the back nine, however, Bezuidenhout made a charge, making four birdies in a row from the 12th to the 15th holes, while Dunlap made a costly bogey on the 14th. This gave Bezuidenhout a 1 shot lead with 3 to play, looking like Dunlap would come up short.


But the amateur did not give up, and showed remarkable composure and resilience. He made a clutch birdie on the par-5 16th hole, while Bezuidenhout missed a short putt for par. The two players were tied again, and the pressure was on. On the par-3 17th hole, Dunlap hit a superb tee shot to within 10 feet of the hole, while Bezuidenhout found the bunker. Dunlap made his birdie putt, while Bezuidenhout failed to save par. Dunlap had a two-shot lead going into the final hole, and he sealed the deal with a par, while Bezuidenhout made a birdie. Dunlap lifted the trophy, and made history as the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour in 33 years.


Dunlap’s victory was not only a personal achievement, but also a boost for amateur golf and college golf. He became the third player to win the American Express as an amateur, joining Arnold Palmer in 1959 and Mickelson in 1991. He also became the second player to win the U.S. Amateur and a PGA Tour event in consecutive years, joining Tiger Woods in 1996 and 1997. He also earned a spot in the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the Open Championship, as well as a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, although he said he would not turn pro until he graduates from college.


Dunlap’s story is an inspiration for all golfers, especially amateurs and young players, who dream of competing and winning at the highest level. He showed that with hard work, talent, and determination, anything is possible. He also showed that golf is a game of skill, not status, and that amateurs can challenge and beat the pros. He also showed that golf is a game of fun, not fear, and that amateurs can enjoy and embrace the pressure and the spotlight. He also showed that golf is a game of respect, not arrogance, and that amateurs can be humble and gracious in victory. He is a true champion, and a role model for the next generation of golfers. Congratulations, Nick Dunlap, on your historic win at the American Express 2024!

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