Nick Gabrelcik is ready to take the next step at the Valspar Championship
20 Mar 2024
by Justin Golba of

see also: Nick Gabrelcik Rankings

Nick Gabrelcik (North Florida Athletics Photo)
Nick Gabrelcik (North Florida Athletics Photo)

Last year, Nick Gabrelcik of North Florida played in the Valspar Championship, making the cut and playing the weekend.

This year, he returns with higher expectations.

“Playing in a PGA Tour event is a dream come true,” Gabrelcik said. “Last year was more of getting a feel of how the week goes and what a PGA Tour event feels like.”

Gabrelcik added, “This year, it is a little bit different now that I have the experience, so there are more goals set with a higher ceiling, but I still want to enjoy it as much as I can.”

Gabrelcik, who represented the United States in the 2023 Walker Cup and is currently ranked No. 4 in the Golfweek/ World Rankings, shot rounds of 75-67 to shoot even par and make the cut at the 2023 Valspar Championship. 

The Senior at North Florida also won the 2023 Southern Amateur and made the final 32 of the U.S. Amateur. He made the semifinals of the 2021 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club. 

“It’s definitely the top three for me,” Gabrelcik said about his 4-under 67 second round last year. “The mindset going into the second round was since we didn’t play great in the first round, we had nothing to lose, and we were amateurs in our first PGA Tour event, so I just wanted to free-will it and go out and post a score.”

Gabrelcik added, “It was one of the cooler and most impressive rounds I have ever put together.”

Ludvig Aberg and Nick Gabrelcik make the cut at the Valspar Championship
Southern Amateur: Nick Gabrelcik sprints past the field to win

Gabrelcik grew up 15 minutes from Innisbrook Resort and has played the last two Valspar’s on a sponsor exemption. He has played out of Innisbrook for the last seven years. 

“When we come out here and play in the summer, you never even think about missing the fairway,” Gabrelcik said. “Then, this week, the rough is thick, and the fairways get tighter; it feels like the fairways shrink about 40 yards. If you miss the fairway, it is at least a half-shot or full-shot penalty with how thick the rough is." 

He added, "Not missing in the wrong spots is really the key." 

Gabrelcik gained a lot of valuable knowledge in 2023, namely the ability to play in front of large crowds and spectators, a weekly occurrence on the PGA Tour.

“At the Walker Cup, we had 10 to 15,00 people watching. That’s the main difference when you come out here,” Gabrelcik said. “It is not so much the golf but the spectators, the crowd, and the noise. Last year, I had a lot of family and friends out here, and it got really loud when they announced my name, and I wasn’t really nervous until that point.”

His brother, Donnie Gabrelcik, will be his caddie this week.

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