Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Nick Dunlap, Alabama golf’s worldwide superstar.

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama golfer Nick Dunlap swings his club during SEC Match Play in Birmingham, Ala.

Sophomore golfer Nick Dunlap has received the rare honor of being mentioned in the same breath as legendary golfer Tiger Woods. 

“It’s wild,” Dunlap said. “It’s something you dream about, being compared to Tiger. I can’t live up to that hype every day. I’m 19, and the only thing I can do is compete the best I can.” 

Despite Dunlap being wary about the comparison, the comparisons have some merit. After winning the U.S. Amateur Championship in 2023, Dunlap joined Woods as the only player to win both the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Junior Amateur championships. 

Golf is often headlined by child prodigies like Michelle Wie West, Rory McIlroy and most prominently, Woods; all drew massive attention as young prospects.  

Hailing from Huntsville, Alabama, Dunlap fits the bill of the previously mentioned players. As a seven-year-old, Dunlap shot 1-over 37 in a U.S. Kids Golf tournament. Five years later, Dunlap shot a course record at the same course. 

“He’s been built for this,” Alabama men’s golf head coach Jay Seawell said. “He shot 59 in Highland Park when he was 11 or 12 years old. I’m not shocked by anything that’s happened.. 

Dunlap had continued success on the Junior circuit, winning a multitude of tournaments throughout his teenage years. Out of these tournaments, Dunlap won the aforementioned U.S. Junior Amateur, a highly esteemed tournament won by many of the game’s current great players, including Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, Min Woo Lee and Woods.  

While competing as a teenager, Dunlap attended many Alabama golf camps where Seawell kept a close eye on the future superstar, who officially committed to Alabama in 2021.  

As a freshman for the Crimson Tide, Dunlap appeared in the starting lineup for every event Alabama competed in. Dunlap finished in the top 20 in 10 of the 12 events.  

The summer of 2023 is when Dunlap announced himself on the world stage.   

Dunlap began this summer by winning two amateur tournaments in the Northeast Amateur Invitational and the North & South Amateur Championship, the latter being hosted at Pinehurst in North Carolina.  

Dunlap qualified for the U.S. Amateur and finished 41st in the stroke play, securing a spot in the 64-man match play sector of the event. Dunlap drew a tough first-round matchup as he faced off against fellow Alabama native and SEC rival, world No. 1 Gordon Sargent, one of the top college and amateur golfers playing for the Vanderbilt Commodores.  

Dunlap and Sargent remained deadlocked heading into the back nine, but the Crimson Tide’s very own pulled away, securing the 2&1 victory on the 17th hole. 

Dunlap fought through the rest of the tournament, landing a matchup in the final with Ohio State’s Neal Shipley. Never giving Shipley the lead, Dunlap won the Havemeyer Trophy with a 4&3 victory in the 36-hole championship.  

With the win, Dunlap has exemptions into the 2024 Masters, PGA Championship, and Open Championship. If everything stays on course, Dunlap will have competed in all four of professional golfs majors by the end of July 2024.  

Dunlap also competed at the home of golf, St. Andrews, Scotland, representing Team USA at the 2023 Walker Cup. Dunlap was again selected to represent the USA in the World Amateur Team Championship in 2023.  

Thus far this season, Dunlap has enjoyed a successful run. The Alabama native won the Stroke Play portion of the SEC Matchplay and led Alabama to a team victory at the Hampton Intercollegiate, which included his record-breaking round two 60 at the tournament.  

Seawell, who walked with Dunlap for his historic round, said he will remember it for a long time. 

“That probably was my special moment, just to walk with him and see how he handled that,” Seawell said he’s built for greatness. This is just the beginning. Y’all are going to see.” 

As Dunlap continues to develop his game, the sky is the limit for the 19-year-old. With a solid support system, Dunlap says one of the crucial parts of his success is his teammates. 

“Just to sit down with them at lunch, they don’t treat me differently,” Dunlap said. “It’s an honor to play with them, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.” 

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