Nick Dunlap (Back of the Range/EAGS photo)
What a finish.
Needing two putts for a win, Nick Dunlap holed a 20-foot putt today to win the Northeast Amateur at Rhode Island's Wannamoisett Country Club. In the second Elite Amateur Golf Series event of the season, he edged the defending champion of the EAGS Cup winner, Caleb Surratt, by two shots. His four-round total was 12-under 264 on the par 69 layout.
Dunlap plays for Alabama in his home state and is on quite a roll, having recently qualified for and played in the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club.
Surratt finished runner-up at 10-under. Two-time defending champion Dylan Menante finished tied for 9th place (2-under), while the winner of the first 2023 EAGS event at the Sunnehanna Amateur, Jackson Van Paris, tied for 7th at 4-under.
Here's a full recap, courtesy the Rhode Island Golf Association:
Nick Dunlap was scheduled to play in the Northeast Amateur Invitational in 2022, but he suffered an injury and was unable to attend.
Fast forward to 2023. He qualified for the U.S. Open and played last week in Los Angeles. Since the Northeast Amateur is always the week after the U.S. Open, he thought it would be too far and a quick turnaround to fly cross country to Wannamoisett. Dunlap told a few of his friends he was planning on skipping the Northeast Amateur. Fortunately, his friends talked him into playing.
As a result, Dunlap drained an incredible 20-foot putt on the 18th hole Sunday to win the 61st Northeast Amateur Invitational in a classic, come-from-behind fashion.
“It feels great,” he said. “I had a couple of guys convince me and I heard the golf course is really good. This tournament was unbelievable. I’m glad I went and played. It’s a marvelous place. I love northeast golf. You’ve got to be creative and it’s a special venue.”
While standing over the 20-foot putt, Dunlap was thinking only one thing: “Make it,” he said. “I didn’t think [Caleb Surratt] was going to miss [par putt]. I got a window and was able to capitalize on it.”
Surratt entered the final round as the 54-hole leader and still led by four strokes entering No. 14 on Sunday. He made a few mistakes and Dunlap took advantage en route to victory.
Surratt explained he started spraying his drives late in the round and couldn’t recover. He attempted to drive No. 14 but he sliced it over the cart path and into the fescue to the right of the green. The entire gallery searched for the ball but were unable to recover it. He took the penalty, dropped, and finished with a bogey, making it a two-stroke swing, allowing Dunlap the opportunity to bounce. He took complete advantage.
“It was a good week. I felt like I had a lot of control all week, but it doesn’t really matter if you don’t have control in the moment. My weaknesses were shown down the stretch and I’m going to get better from that and move on,” Surratt said. “He sure earned it with a birdie on 18. I gave it away in the middle. It felt like I started leaking oil and he started catching some momentum. Nick’s an amazing player who you can’t give shots to. He’s going to be very successful on the PGA Tour and he’s going to be around for a long time. I’m just going to try to stay in company with him.”
When Dunlap dropped his birdie putt for the win, his scream could be heard all around Rumford. He picked up his ball from the bottom of the cup, and fist-bumped his young caddy, Liam Feeney. After receiving the Northeast Amateur Invitational trophy, Dunlap first thanked his parents who unfortunately were not able to attend. It didn’t take him long to call them with the news of his win.
“There’s no way I would be standing here without their help and support,” he said.
Dunlap began his charge Friday when he shot a 6-under 63 to finish T2 and earn a spot in the final pairing with Surratt.
“It felt really good,” he said of his Round 3 performance. “I felt close the first two days, but I hit some bad shots at the wrong time. I drove it really solid (Friday) and since it was moving day I thought the pins would be assessable, but they were in some tough spots. I had to be patient on those holes and I was able to execute.”
It’s been an emotional few weeks for Dunlap. He played in the U.S. Open, won the Northeast Amateur and now he’s traveling to Pinehurst, N.C. to compete in the North & South Amateur.
“Hectic,” he said. “I’ve got one more week on the road, but that’s all summer and I enjoy it traveling, meeting new people, going to new places, new golf courses. I’m enjoying it. Wannamoisett is an unreal venue. It’s my first time playing here and it’ll always be special to me,” he said. “I look forward to coming back next year.”
ABOUT THE Northeast Amateur
The Northeast Amateur has a historic list of winners,
including Ben Crenshaw, Dustin Johnson, Collin
Scott Hoch, John Cook, Hal Sutton, and David Duval.
has been annually held at the Donald Ross-designed
Wannamoisett Country Club since 1962. The event
limited to 90 elite players; there is a cut after 54
and the entire tournament is played in twosomes.
View Complete Tournament Information