North Shelby’s Nick Dunlap leaves Alabama to join PGA Tour after first win

Published 4:54 pm Thursday, January 25, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

After making history and national headlines with his win at The American Express on Sunday, Jan. 21, Greystone member and former Spain Park golfer Nick Dunlap announced that he will turn professional and join the PGA Tour.

Dunlap announced the news at a special news conference at the University of Alabama alongside his college coaches and teammates on Thursday, Jan. 25.

He said it was an easy but also difficult decision, but his friends and family supported his decision to join the tour.

“I was very fortunate that everyone had the same opinion about it, and my teammates were awesome and very supportive,” Dunlap said. “It goes back to the family that Alabama has, and they were very supportive and wanted me to chase my dreams.”

Dunlap will make his pro debut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am from Feb. 1-4. Beyond that, he will have exemptions to play in most of the PGA Tour’s tournaments as well as the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

Dunlap was the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson in 1991 after he earned a tournament-record 29-under-par to win The American Express by one stroke.

He defeated some of the top golfers in the world like Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Zach Johnson and Will Zalatoris to take the victory.

He surged to first place in the tournament with a 12-under-par 60 in the third round on Saturday, Jan. 20 at La Quinta Country Club, which gave him a three-stroke lead going into the final round at the Pete Dye Stadium Course.

Dunlap was considered the top amateur golfer in the world after winning the 2023 U.S. Amateur and becoming just the second golfer after Tiger Woods to win both the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur.

He currently sits as the No. 68 golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking after his amateur success, including five PGA Tour starts. He made his first cut at The American Express.

Dunlap is currently a sophomore at the University of Alabama and while he will remain enrolled at the university, he will no longer play golf for the Crimson Tide as a result of turning professional.

He was Alabama’s top golfer in the fall with an average score of 67 and won stroke play medalist honors at the SEC Match Play.