Greystone GCC member Nick Dunlap makes history with 2023 U.S. Amateur win

Published 11:56 am Monday, August 21, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, CO – Former Spain Park golfer and current Greystone Golf & Country Club member Nick Dunlap took home the 2023 U.S. Amateur championship on Sunday, Aug. 20 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado.

Thanks to his win in the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur, Dunlap joins Tiger Woods as the only two golfers to win both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur.

Dunlap said Woods is the reason he plays golf today, and to be mentioned alongside the player who he believes is the greatest of all time is an honor to him.

“Just to be in the same conversation as Tiger is a dream come true and something that I’ve worked my entire life for,” Dunlap said. “It’s the hours and hours that nobody sees to try to get to this point and even have a chance to win this trophy. It’s unbelievable; can’t put it into words.”

The 19-year old is a sophomore on Alabama’s men’s golf team and played high school golf at Spain Park before finishing his high school career as a homeschooler.

Dunlap defeated Neal Shipley, 4-and-3, in the 36-hole final on Sunday. Dunlap took a 1-up lead with a birdie on the second hole and did not drop the lead until the 15th hole.

The match was tied going into the second 18 holes, and wins on the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 10th holes built up a four hole lead that Shipley could not overcome. Despite Shipley tying up the match in the first 18 holes, Dunlap never trailed at any point in the match.

When Dunlap was a hole away from clinching the trophy, the feeling began sinking in for him and his caddie and mentor Jeff Curl.

“He just said, ‘soak it all in, man,’” Dunlap said. “This is why I practice. This is why I get up early, just for moments like this. The first tee when they announce your name to the last green whether you win or lose, it’s special just to be a part of the United States Amateur and what it stands for. It’s awesome.”

Dunlap also had his friends and coaches from the Alabama golf team cheering him on throughout the day after they took an early morning flight from Atlanta to Colorado to watch him. The Spain Park boys golf team and Greystone Golf & Country Club both posted their congratulations on social media after his win.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Dunlap said. “It’s the stuff of dreams to do what I’m doing this week. Just glad I took time to soak it in every day and really enjoy it. This is likely my last Amateur, and just a really cool week and something I didn’t initially think I’d have the opportunity to do.”

However, if Dunlap decides this isn’t his last U.S. Amateur, he will now have an exemption from qualifying for the next 10 U.S. Amateurs. Dunlap has also now qualified for the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, the 2024 British Open at Royal Troon and will likely be invited to the 2024 Masters thanks to his win at the U.S. Amateur.

Dunlap will also represent the United States at the 2023 Walker Cup against Great Britain and Ireland, and he is now ranked 9th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

Dunlap was not the only Spain Park player to compete in the 2023 U.S. Amateur. Rising junior Chase Kyes shot a 75 and 76 to finish the two-round stroke play at 8-over-par, missing the even-par cut for the 64-man match play bracket. He reached the Round of 16 at the U.S. Junior Amateur at Daniel Island Club in July after winning the individual Class 7A State Championship with the Jags in May.