Nick Dunlap: A summer to remember for the hottest player in competitive amateur golf
04 Jul 2023
by Justin Golba of AmateurGolf.com
see also: Nick Dunlap Rankings
Nick Dunlap (Back of the Range Photo)
The summer is an important time for all collegiate golfers. A chance to play competitive golf on a weekly schedule and against some of the top amateurs in the game. For Alabama incoming sophomore Nick Dunlap, the summer circuit has allowed him to cement his position as one of those top amateurs with his play this month.
Could a 2023 USA Walker Cup team selection be next?
Dunlap, the 2021 U.S. Junior champion, finished up his collegiate season with a fourth-place finish at NCAA Regionals and tied for 11th place in the stroke play portion of the NCAA Championships.
“(My game) has been trending since middle of the spring,” Dunlap said. “It has gradually gotten better. I played well at regionals, played well at states, and then qualified for the (U.S) Open.”
On June 6, Dunlap was named as a Second Team PING All-American. He finished with 10 top 20 finishes in 12 tournaments this season.
Dunlap also qualified for the 123rd U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club. Dunlap missed the 36-hole cut but was able to shot just 1 over 71 on his second round.
“I didn’t have my best at the Open, I drove bad it and got punished for it,” Dunlap said. Dunlap added “I was able to play more creative golf at the Northeast (Amateur) and play smart.
On June 24, Dunlap shot 3-under 66 in the final round to complete his comeback and win the 61st Northeast Amateur at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, Rhode Island.
Dunlap shot a blistering 63 in the third round to get himself into the final pairing and ended up defeating Tennessee’s Caleb Surrat by two shots.
Dunlap trailed Surratt by three shots heading into the last round but a 2-over par 71 from Surratt allowed Dunlap to win. The pair were tied heading into the final round and Dunlap made birdie while Surratt made bogey. Dunlap finished 12-under par for the weekend.
Then the following weekend, Dunlap defeated the entire field at the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2, culminating with a 1-up victory over Australia’s Karl Vilips.
Dunlap was trailing 2-down to Vilips through 10 holes of the final match Saturday and then play was halted by severe storms and postponed until 7 a.m. Sunday morning.
“The last day it came down in buckets,” Dunlap said about the rain. “It was hard to get back even on the golf carts.”
Dunlap credited the delay to letting him get an extra night of rest to play well in the morning.
“It definitely helped,” Dunlap said about the delay. “I have played a lot of golf recently. Coming from LA to Rhode Island and then to Pinehurst. It gave me that extra day to rest up and come back fresh in the morning. I have played really well in the morning every day but the 36-hole days were getting to me."
Dunlap added “fairways are crucial out there. You never really know what they lie is like in the native area off the fairway. If you get a bad break, you can get in trouble quick.”
After winning two of the first three tournaments in the Elite Amateur Golf Series, Dunlap now sits in a great position to make the United States Walker Cup team. The Walker Cup will take place on September 2 and 3 at the Old Course at St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland.