Aiexpress – Nick Dunlap made history at The American Express on Sunday, becoming the first amateur in 33 years to secure a victory on the PGA Tour. In a thrilling finish, Dunlap calmly sank a 6-foot par putt on the final hole, edging out Christiaan Bezuidenhout by a single shot.
Dunlap, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Alabama and the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, achieved a remarkable feat as he became the first amateur winner since Phil Mickelson at the Tucson Open in 1991. Despite participating in only his fourth tour event, he joined the elite group of amateur winners, a distinction held by just seven individuals since 1945, with three of them achieving this since 1957.
In the tournament formerly known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic, Dunlap, the sole amateur among 156 players, made an impressive comeback in the third round with a scorching 60, taking a three-shot lead. Although he lost that lead on the front nine of the Stadium Course at PGA West on Sunday, he displayed the resilience of a seasoned veteran in the final stretch. His recovery from two wayward shots on the 18th hole resulted in a winning par.
In a remarkable display of skill and talent, he concluded his performance with a superb round of 2-under 70, ultimately achieving a staggering total of 29-under 259. This exceptional achievement not only shattered the tournament scoring record for a 72-hole event but also etched his name in history as the youngest winner ever. Furthermore, his triumph marked him as the youngest amateur to secure a victory on the tour since 1910.
Dunlap may not receive the 500 FedEx Cup points, but he still receives ample rewards. If he chooses to stay at Alabama, he will have the opportunity to compete in the Masters, U.S. Open, and British Open as the U.S. Amateur champion. Alternatively, if he decides to turn pro and join the PGA Tour, he will still have the chance to participate in the Masters and U.S. Open, in addition to the remaining seven $20 million signature events on the tour.
Bezuidenhout finished the round with an impressive score of 65.
Lydia Ko triumphantly found her winning form once again at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions in Orlando, Florida. With a brilliant closing round of 2-under 70 at Lake Nona, she secured a well-deserved two-shot victory over Alexa Pano.
Lydia Ko, a 26-year-old golfer from New Zealand, clinched her 20th victory on the LPGA Tour with an impressive finish at 14-under 274. In doing so, she joined the elite group of only seven women who have achieved this remarkable milestone before the age of 27. Ko’s consistent success on the tour is a testament to her exceptional talent and dedication to her craft.
In the previous season, Ko was unable to secure a victory in any of her 20 LPGA starts. However, her recent triumph has reignited her pursuit of a place in the prestigious LPGA Hall of Fame. To achieve this, Ko needs a total of 27 points, and her latest win brings her within just one point of reaching this milestone. It is worth noting that each regular LPGA win contributes one point towards this goal.
Throughout the final round on Sunday, Ko maintained control and finished with a two-shot margin. The temperatures were unusually cool, dropping into the 40s. Ko showed her dominance by playing a bogey-free second and third round, and on Sunday, she birdied four of her first 15 holes with only one bogey. As a result, her competitors found themselves vying for second place for most of the day.
Rory McIlroy secured an impressive victory at the Dubai Desert Classic, clinching his fourth title in the tournament’s history. The talented golfer showcased his skill by making a strong comeback in the final round, overtaking Cameron Young and fending off Adrian Meronk to secure a one-stroke win. McIlroy’s exceptional performance over the weekend marked a truly memorable achievement.
Rory McIlroy successfully defended his title at the tournament he first won in 2009, securing yet another victory in his illustrious career. Despite the odds, McIlroy managed to emerge victorious at Emirates Golf Club, making this win particularly remarkable.
On Friday, McIlroy found himself trailing Young by a staggering 11 shots as he approached the 18th tee. However, he defied the odds by making a birdie and shooting an impressive 63 on Saturday. This exceptional performance secured him a spot in the final pairing on Sunday. McIlroy wasted no time in erasing Young’s overnight two-stroke lead, accomplishing this feat within just six holes.
Adrian Meronk, who was crowned as the European tour’s player of the year for 2023, showcased his exceptional skills by securing four birdies on the back nine, resulting in a score of 71. Meanwhile, Young finished in third place with a solid performance, shooting a score of 74.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
Steven Alker claimed his second consecutive victory on the PGA Tour Champions by clinching the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai in Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii. This win marked Alker’s eighth triumph in just 54 career starts on the tour.
New Zealand’s very own Alker emerged as the champion of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix last November. Building on his previous two years’ performance where he secured second place, the 52-year-old golfer displayed his prowess once again at Hualalai. With a two-stroke lead going into the final round, Alker maintained his dominance, finishing with a remarkable 9-under 63 for a convincing four-stroke victory over Harrison Frazar.
Santiago De La Fuente, hailing from Mexico, showcased his exceptional skills on the golf course as he birdied the final two holes, securing a remarkable six-under 64. This impressive performance not only earned him a well-deserved victory in the Latin America Amateur Championship but also granted him a coveted spot in the Masters, U.S. Open, and British Open. Omar Morales, with a commendable round of 69, clinched the second position in the tournament. In a parallel event, Kazuma Kobori from New Zealand displayed his golfing prowess by closing out with a three-under 68, resulting in a two-stroke victory in the Webex Players Series-Murray River on the esteemed PGA Tour of Australasia.