Nick Dunlap becomes first Amateur winner on PGA Tour since 1991 with win at American Express


LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) — Nick Dunlop became the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour in 33 years, maintaining a one-shot victory over Christiaan Bezuidenhout at The American Express on Sunday.

Dunlap, a 20-year-old University of Alabama sophomore and defending U.S. Amateur champion, is the first amateur winner since Phil Mickelson at the Tucson Open in 1991.

He is only the seventh amateur to win a tour event since 1945 and the third since 1957. In his fourth tour event, Dunlop became the youngest amateur to win on tour since 1910.

Dunlap was the only amateur in the 156-person field at the tournament long known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic, but he opened a three-shot lead with a stellar 60 in the third round. He lost that lead on the front nine at PGA West’s Stadium Course on Sunday, but he played with the flexibility of a seasoned veteran, finishing with a 6-foot par on the 18th after recovering from two errant shots. Putt for 2-under 70. At 29-under 259, he broke the tournament scoring record as the 72-hole event took place.

To keep the pressure on Dunlop, Bezuidenhout birdied the 18th in the group, whose tee shot landed high in the rough. His second shot was not more accurate, but took a lucky roll from a rough patch in a lush, grassy drainage area.

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Dunlap holed within 6 feet with his third shot, and he celebrated the par putt for the title with a hug from his parents and girlfriend, who flew cross-country Saturday to watch in person.

Dunlop does not receive the $1.5 million first-place prize, which goes to Bezuidenhout after the South African’s final-round 65.

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