LA QUINTA, Calif. — Nick Dunlap‘s girlfriend flew cross-country Saturday to spend the weekend with him in Palm Springs, so the 2 faculty college students deliberate to get a steak dinner earlier than Dunlap wraps up his day with a bit laundry and a few homework.
After which on Sunday, Dunlap will try to develop into the primary newbie to win on the PGA Tour in 33 years.
The College of Alabama sophomore fired a 12-under 60 to take a 3-shot lead over Sam Burns at The American Categorical on Saturday, matching the bottom spherical by an newbie in PGA Tour historical past.
Justin Thomas shot 61 and was 4 photographs again of the 20-year-old Dunlap, who tore up La Quinta Nation Membership and moved to 27-under 189 on the Coachella Valley event’s three beneficiant programs.
With 10 birdies and an eagle in his aggressive, correct spherical, Dunlap matched then-amateur Patrick Cantlay‘s 60 on the 2011 Vacationers Championship. Dunlap’s rating to par was the very best ever by an newbie; Cantlay was 10 below at par-70 TPC River Highlands.
“The putter felt so good,” Dunlap stated. “The opening seemed like a funnel.”
Solely seven amateurs have gained on the PGA Tour since 1945, and solely 4 since 1950. The final to do it was Phil Mickelson, who gained the Tucson Open in 1991 as a 20-year-old Arizona State junior.
Dunlap is the primary newbie to carry a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour since Paul Dunne on the 2015 Open Championship. Dunne shared the lead with Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen getting into the ultimate spherical however shot 78 on Sunday to complete tied for thirtieth.
Burns led after two rounds, however Dunlap flew previous him whereas enjoying a few hours earlier. Burns shot a gradual 65 on the Stadium Course to remain in rivalry after taking the lead together with his career-low 61 on Friday.
The ultimate spherical can be performed Sunday on the Stadium Course, the place Thomas tied the course document on Saturday. Dunlap shot a bogey-free 65 on the Stadium on Friday for the best rating of his three spectacular rounds.
“I feel it will be onerous both manner,” Dunlap stated. ” this place, like, it is speculated to be simple, and guys are taking pictures low numbers, however you continue to should go do it. It is nonetheless a golf course, and you continue to should hit good photographs. There’s out of bounds in all places. For [Sunday], there’s quite a lot of water on the market. Simply hit one good shot at a time, and attempt to stack ’em and provides myself quite a lot of beauty.”
Thomas, who gained a nationwide title with the Crimson Tide in 2013, roared up the leaderboard with six straight birdies on his again 9 to match the longest birdie streak of his profession.
The 2-time main champion is winless since his second PGA Championship victory in Could 2022, however Thomas can have an opportunity to catch his fellow Alabama product.
“Did not suppose I used to be going to should take care of a freakin’ faculty child taking pictures 60 in the present day,” Thomas stated with a smile. “He is a stud. He is the true deal. I feel how nicely he is dealt with the massive moments, it says so much about any person. It looks like the larger the stage, the higher he performs. I’ve by no means performed with him earlier than. I most likely would have most well-liked our first time in a follow spherical.”
The ultimate grouping Sunday can be an all-Alabama affair, in a manner: Burns is an LSU product and an avowed Crimson Tide foe, however he at the moment has “RTR” — the acronym for “Roll Tide Roll” — shaved into his head after dropping a soccer wager with Thomas.
“Nick is a superb participant, and I feel he is obtained an excellent head on him, so I feel it will be a very robust problem for us [Sunday],” Burns stated. “He is enjoying rather well.”
Dunlap joined Tiger Woods final 12 months as the one winners of each the U.S. Newbie and the U.S. Junior Newbie. He performed up to now two U.S. Opens on account of his newbie success, however The American Categorical is simply his fourth PGA Tour occasion.
Dunlap is the one newbie within the 156-player area, enjoying on a sponsor exemption. He is the primary newbie ever to make the minimize on the occasion lengthy often known as the Bob Hope Desert Basic, however he will not get the $1.5 million first-place prize cash or 500 FedEx Cup factors if he wins. He would, nevertheless, safe a PGA Tour card and enjoying privileges for 2 years.
Dunlap would even be the second-youngest winner since 1931. Jordan Spieth was 19 when he gained the John Deere Basic in 2013.
Dunlap started the spherical 2 photographs off Burns’ lead, however rapidly jumped in entrance with six birdies on his first eight holes. He picked up three extra birdies after the flip earlier than holing a protracted putt for eagle and ending with one final birdie on the par-4 18th.
World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler made the 54-hole minimize at 14 below after his third-round 69 on the Stadium Course.
Data from The Related Press was used on this report.