2024 American Express Leaderboard: Nick Dunlap Makes History As First Amateur To Win On PGA Tour Since 1991
No one said it was going to be easy. Still, amateur Nick Dunlap officially carved his name into the record books on Sunday night in La Quinta, California. Winning the 2024 American Express at 29 under — one stroke below Christiaan Bezuidenhout — Dunlap became the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson in 1991.
The third-ranked amateur in the world is only the third non-professional to win on the PGA Tour over the last six decades; he’s only the eighth ever to do it and the youngest since 1910.
Dunlap’s 259 also represents a tournament record at the American Express, and it opens the door to countless possibilities for the 20-year-old golfer. While his victory does not come with a winner’s check, he receives every other perk, including a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour; invitations into the Masters (for which he already qualified via his U.S. Amateur victory), PGA Championship and Players Championship; and invitations to the PGA Tour’s signature events this season. If he wishes, Dunlap can start his 2025 season in Hawaii at The Sentry.
“I felt like the script today was already written,” Dunlap said after the win. “I was just going to give it everything I had, and whether I go shoot 75 or 65 or 70, I was just going to give it everything I had.”
After tying the PGA Tour amateur scoring record with his third-round 60, Dunlap entered the final round in Palm Springs with a three-stroke lead over Sam Burns. The final threesome exchanged four consecutive pars amongst them before arriving to the par-5 5th. Forced to lay up after a wayward drive, Dunlap stuck his third within tap-in distance, and Burns responded with a birdie of his own.
First blood was drawn two holes later on the par-4 7th as Dunlap lost his tee shot right into the water. Forced to drop and hit his third from a forward tee, he went onto card a double bogey while Burns tacked on his second birdie of the day. A three-shot swing was the result and a tie ballgame materialized with 11 holes to play.
Burns struck a pair of blows to begin the inward half with birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 to open up a one-shot lead. Dunlap wasn’t rattled and continued about his business. He got one back with a zipping wedge shot into the par-4 14th and pulled all square with a nifty up-and in on the 16th.
In possession on the tee, Dunlap went first on the daunted par-3 17th and hit his approach to the fat of the green applying pressure on Burns. The U.S. Ryder Cup member was unable to respond, sending his tee shot into the water to all but guarantee Dunlap would have the lead on the 72nd tee.
However, as the Alabama sophomore stood on the tee box, Bezuidenhout chose not to go quietly into the night. One last birdie from the South African pulled him within one and forced Dunlap to make par to secure his history. After his approach settled right of the green, Dunlap remained cool under pressure and delivered his chip to just inside 6 feet. A par conversion and a new chapter in the history books followed.
“[The emotions] were nothing like I have ever felt,” Dunlap said. “It is so cool. I told Sam numerous times, it is so cool to be out here and experience this as an amateur. … If you would have told me Wednesday night that I would have a putt to win this golf tournament, I wouldn’t believe you.”
Well, you best believe it, Nick Dunlap. Grade: A+