Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Nick Dunlap’s whirlwind rookie season continues with strong Thursday at 2024 Memorial

By admin Jun9,2024

DUBLIN, Ohio — Nick Dunlap might not have expected to be among the early leaders at the Memorial on Thursday, but he should be used to golfing success coming faster than usual.

Dunlap shot a 2-under 70 at Muirfield Village Golf Club to take the clubhouse lead with most golfers still on the course.

Pretty impressive for a 20-year-old who started the year as an amateur and hadn’t played Muirfield Village before two practice rounds this week.

Dunlap might not be a household name to casual golf fans, but he’s already made history. In January, he won the American Express in California to become the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event since Phil Mickelson in 1991. Last August, Dunlap defeated Ohio State’s Neil Shipley to win the U.S. Amateur championship. Two years earlier, Dunlap won the U.S. Junior Amateur. Tiger Woods is the only other golfer to win both the Junior Amateur and Amateur titles.

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Dunlap, who played collegiately at Alabama, turned pro after winning the American Express. He has made the cut in seven of 11 PGA Tour events.

“It’s a dream come true,” Dunlap said of his year. “My goal was to be out here (on tour). I just didn’t think it would happen that quick. I’m very grateful to be here and to play really cool places like this place.”

2024 Memorial Tournament2024 Memorial Tournament

The glove and Roll Tide yardage book of Nick Dunlap at the 2024 Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. (Photo: Barbara J. Perenic-USA TODAY Sports)

Muirfield Village usually requires experience to play it well, and Dunlap’s front nine was predictably shaky. He had three bogeys and no birdies for a 39. But he birdied the first four holes on the back nine as well as No. 15.

“This golf course, it’s very unique and it’s very difficult,” Dunlap said. “You can hit a lot of good shots and be in some bad spots. The margins are just so small.”

He said he was just off on some wedge shots and paid the price early.

“I just tried not to press,” Dunlap said. “On 10, 11, and 12, I hit three quality iron shots and had three perfect numbers and capitalized on that. Then I made a couple good putts coming down the stretch to cap it off.”

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