Nick Dunlap's historic run claimed the summer's biggest trophy on Saturday when the University of Alabama commitment won the 73rd U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at The Country Club of North Carolina.
The 17-year-old from Huntsville defeated Cohen Trolio, 18, of West Point, Mississippi (and LSU commitment), 3 and 2, in the 36-hole championship match.
Dunlap was just the second player from the state to reach the finals (Bradley Johnson the other), and the first to win.
With the victory Dunlap secured a spot in next year’s U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
“My heart is still beating 100 times fast,” Dunlap said, per the USGA website. “This is unbelievable. In junior golf, this is the big one, and to have my name on it, I can't even put it into words.”
Dunlap also recently won the Polo Junior Golf Classic at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey, the only match-play event on the American Junior Golf Association circuit. He was the medalist in a U.S. Amateur qualifier on July 5 in Decatur, Alabama and last week was the runner-up in the Junior PGA Championship at Kearney Hill Golf Links in Lexington, Kentucky.
Dunlap joined the likes of Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Johnny Miller as a U.S. Junior Amateur champion.
“He's a good player,” Trolio said. “Him making putts isn't weird. That's match play. That's how it goes, momentum swings and such.”
Also from Dunlap:
“I've won tournaments in the past, but nothing like this. To win this year in Pinehurst on this golf course, I'll remember it forever.”
On his emotions down the stretch: “I can't even tell you how many deep breaths I took. My hands – you can ask my caddie (Jeff Curl) – on 15 tee (33rd of match), I couldn't even stop shaking. You just have to go back and say you've done this so many times. Keep telling yourself that, a ton of deep breaths, and just trust it and hit it.”
On the 2022 U.S. Open: “It's my first major. I'm sure I'm probably going to be this nervous or even more. It's just going to be a learning experience for me, and I'm going to go into it with as much confidence as I can and play my game.”
On which pro he would like to meet at the U.S. Open: “I've always looked up to DJ (Dustin Johnson). I've played in his event a couple times. I feel like I can hit the ball a fairly good ways off the tee, and I'd like to try to center my game around his and try to mimic his mental game. I think it's unbelievable how he carries himself on the golf course and just meeting him would be awesome.”