Nick Dunlap: From student and amateur to PGA Tour glory. GETTY IMAGES

Nick Dunlap won a thrilling back-nine duel on Sunday to become the first amateur to achieve a PGA Tour title since 1991. Despite being the best, he didn't take home the prize money as he was playing as an amateur.

Young Nick Dunlap claimed glory at the PGA Tour's American Express tournament. He sank the winning par putt from just under six feet on the 18th hole for a 2-under-par 70 at the Pete Dye Stadium Golf Course, one of the three courses used this week. Dunlap finished on 29-under-par for a total of 259, setting a 72-hole low score record and breaking Patrick Reed's mark of 28-under-par set in 2014. 

Despite his one-stroke victory, Dunlap won't receive any of the prize money from the organisation's scheduled winnings as he is ineligible for the $1.51 prize due to his amateur status. Instead, runner-up Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa, will claim the prize. The remarkable thing about the tournament and Dunlap's achievement is that he is a sophomore at the University of Alabama, only 20 years old, and beyond winning the amateur title, he wasn't expected to come out on top.

Dunlap became the first amateur to win a US PGA Tour event since Phil Mickelson won the Northern Telecom Open in Tucson, Arizona, in 1991. He also became the second-youngest winner on the PGA Tour in the last 90 years, surpassed only by Jordan Spieth's victory at the 2013 John Deere Classic at the age of 19. He also became the youngest amateur player to win a tournament since 1910. 

The historic victory was not without its high drama. Dunlap sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 16th hole to share the lead with 24th-ranked American Sam Burns, who found water off the tee on the challenging par-3 17th, the toughest hole of the day. Dunlap made a routine par, while Burns stumbled with a double bogey to give the amateur a two-shot lead going into the final 18th.. 

But ahead of him on the 18th was Bezuidenhout, who made birdie. Dunlap's tee shot on the final hole went right and his approach stopped on a slope 75 feet from the hole. Dunlap hit his third shot to just under six feet and then sank his par putt for victory.

After the triumph, the young Dunlap expressed his amazement at the unfolding achievement, almost reluctant to wake up from a dream turned reality: "It's great to be here and experience this as an amateur. Whether I made this putt or missed it, if you had told me on Wednesday night that I would have a putt to win this golf tournament, I wouldn't have believed you." 

Meanwhile, South Africa's Bezuidenhout (who took home the prize for being the first professional on the podium) finished on 260 after a final round of 65 and was full of praise for Dunlap. "He's an amazing player, and congratulations to him. I hope he gets on the PGA Tour soon, and we can all play with him," said the runner-up. 

Third place on 261 was shared by Taiwan's Kevin Yu, who made his best PGA round of the year with a 63, and Americans Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas.

Despite missing out on the winner's prize money as an amateur, Dunlap will be eligible for PGA Tour membership at any time during the 2024 PGA campaign. He would then receive the benefits of any PGA Tour winner, including membership until the 2026 season, as well as entries into the Masters and the PGA Championship, and any unplayed "signature" events. 

It's worth noting that the rising star of the golfing world has already secured spots in this year's Masters, PGA, and British Open thanks to his victory in the US Amateur, as long as he remains an amateur at the start of the events.