Amateur Dunlap makes PGA Tour history at AmEx

Amateur Dunlap makes PGA Tour history at AmEx

Nick Dunlap became the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour in 33 years by capturing The American Express on Sunday in La Quinta, California.

Dunlap, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Alabama, played a flawless back nine en route to a 2-under 70. He finished at 29 under par, one shot clear of Christiaan Bezuidenhout (65), and was able to celebrate with his mother, father, girlfriend and college coach — who all flew cross-country over the weekend to watch — on hand.

“Nothing like I’ve ever felt,” Dunlap said. “It was so cool to be out here and experience this as an amateur.”

The American Express - Final Round
The American Express - Final Round

First Tiger, now Phil: Dunlap keeps making history

Dunlap’s victory Sunday at The American Express marks the first win by an amateur on the PGA Tour since 1991.

Fellow 'Bama product Justin Thomas (68), who played alongside Dunlap and Sam Burns in the final group, tied for third with Xander Schauffele (65) and Kevin Yu (63).

Dunlap and Burns were tied for the lead at 29 under entering the par-3 17th on the Pete Dye Stadium Course. First to hit, Dunlap safely found the green, 34 feet from the hole. Playing last in the threesome, Burns hit his shot right, into the water hazard.

Burns, a five-time Tour winner, made double bogey to drop to 27 under, while Dunlap two-putted to carry a one-shot advantage into the final hole, with Bezuidenhout in the clubhouse at minus-28.

Except, Dunlap thought he led by two. Unable to view a scoreboard until he got near the 18th green, he was unaware of Bezuidenhout's position.

At the 435-yard final hole, Dunlap hit his tee shot into the right rough, his ball nestling on the side of a mound. Burns, meanwhile, again found the water off the tee to doom any chance he had of a possible playoff. He made another double to finish T-6, four back.

After hitting his second shot right of the green and getting a fortuitous kick into the greenside valley, Dunlap chipped to 6 feet. He calmly rolled in the par putt and let out a “C’mon!” yell.

Dunlap, who fired 60 in the third round to take a three-shot advantage into Sunday, became the eighth different amateur since 1940 to win on the PGA Tour and the first since Phil Mickelson at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open. Dunlap added this trophy to an impressive collection that includes the 2023 U.S. Amateur.

Though, as an amateur, he wasn’t able to collect the $1,512,000 first-place check (or the 500 FedExCup points because he’s not a Tour member), Dunlap did earn a Tour exemption through the 2026 PGA Tour season. He can play in full-field events for the remainder of the year – under non-member regulations – but would need to turn pro and accept Tour membership in order to compete in the signature events (click here for more information on what this win means for Dunlap).