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Dunlap may have scored a historic PGA win but is unable to cash his $1.5 million winner's cheque

Nick Dunlap plays his shot on the ninth hole during the final round of The American Express golf tournament at PGA West Stadium Course in La Quinta, California, US, on January 21, 2024. — Reuters 

Nick Dunlap became the first amateur to win a Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) Tour event since Phil Mickelson in 1991, as he beat South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout to claim The American Express title on Sunday.

Dunlap, who was participating in his fourth PGA Tour event in California after missing the cut in his previous three, holed a six-foot par putt towards the end, the BBC reported.

"It's so cool to be experiencing this as an amateur," said the emotional American golfer. "Whether I made or missed that, if you had told me come Wednesday night that I had a putt to win this tournament, I wouldn't have believed you."

Mickelson, a six-time major winner, posted on X: "Such an impressive performance by Nick Dunlap. Congratulations on an incredible win."

Dunlap is just the seventh amateur to win a PGA Tour event but his stock is already high after last year emulating Tiger Woods to become the second player to win both the US Junior Amateur and US Amateur titles.

In his final round at Pete Dye Stadium Course in La Quinta, the University of Alabama student struggled with a double-bogey six and a three-shot lead.

However, he responded with three birdies in nine holes, closing with a two-under 70 to hold off a charging Bezuidenhout.

Sadly, despite winning the cup, Dunlap will not receive any prize money because he is an amateur, and the $1.5 million winner's cheque will be going to Bezuidenhout.

When asked by reporters if the next natural step was to turn professional, he replied: "I don't know. I have to take a second to let what just happened sink in a little bit. That's a decision that's not just about me. It affects a lot of people, and obviously, I'm going to try to enjoy this."


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