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No one said it was going to be easy. Still, amateur Nick Dunlap officially carved his name into the record books on Sunday night in La Quinta, California. Winning the 2024 American Express at 29 under -- one stroke below Christiaan Bezuidenhout -- Dunlap became the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson in 1991.

The third-ranked amateur in the world is only the third non-professional to win on the PGA Tour over the last six decades; he's only the eighth ever to do it and the youngest since 1910.

Dunlap's 259 also represents a tournament record at the American Express, and it opens the door to countless possibilities for the 20-year-old golfer. While his victory does not come with a winner's check, he receives every other perk, including a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour; invitations into the Masters (for which he already qualified via his U.S. Amateur victory), PGA Championship and Players Championship; and invitations to the PGA Tour's signature events this season. If he wishes, Dunlap can start his 2025 season in Hawaii at The Sentry.

"I felt like the script today was already written," Dunlap said after the win. "I was just going to give it everything I had, and whether I go shoot 75 or 65 or 70, I was just going to give it everything I had."

After tying the PGA Tour amateur scoring record with his third-round 60, Dunlap entered the final round in Palm Springs with a three-stroke lead over Sam Burns. The final threesome exchanged four consecutive pars amongst them before arriving to the par-5 5th. Forced to lay up after a wayward drive, Dunlap stuck his third within tap-in distance, and Burns responded with a birdie of his own.

First blood was drawn two holes later on the par-4 7th as Dunlap lost his tee shot right into the water. Forced to drop and hit his third from a forward tee, he went onto card a double bogey while Burns tacked on his second birdie of the day. A three-shot swing was the result and a tie ballgame materialized with 11 holes to play.

Burns struck a pair of blows to begin the inward half with birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 to open up a one-shot lead. Dunlap wasn't rattled and continued about his business. He got one back with a zipping wedge shot into the par-4 14th and pulled all square with a nifty up-and in on the 16th.

In possession on the tee, Dunlap went first on the daunted par-3 17th and hit his approach to the fat of the green applying pressure on Burns. The U.S. Ryder Cup member was unable to respond, sending his tee shot into the water to all but guarantee Dunlap would have the lead on the 72nd tee.

However, as the Alabama sophomore stood on the tee box, Bezuidenhout chose not to go quietly into the night. One last birdie from the South African pulled him within one and forced Dunlap to make par to secure his history. After his approach settled right of the green, Dunlap remained cool under pressure and delivered his chip to just inside 6 feet. A par conversion and a new chapter in the history books followed.

"[The emotions] were nothing like I have ever felt," Dunlap said. "It is so cool. I told Sam numerous times, it is so cool to be out here and experience this as an amateur. ... If you would have told me Wednesday night that I would have a putt to win this golf tournament, I wouldn't believe you."

Well, you best believe it, Nick Dunlap. Grade: A+

Here is a breakdown for other notable names on the leaderboard at the 2024 American Express.

T3. Justin Thomas (-27): The 30-year-old's inclusion in the final group marked Thomas' first run at contention since the 2022 Canadian Open. While his putter cooled relative to his third round, Thomas will look to two approach shots as his ultimate undoing. From outside 200 yards in the middle of the fairway on the par-5 5th and par-5 11th, Thomas found a watery grave in both instances and played the two holes in 1 over. He looks much sharper, but there are still some strides to be made with the long irons. In 2022, Thomas ranked 10th in proximity from over 200 yards and dropped to 136th in the same category in 2023. Grade: A-

T6. Sam Burns (-25): For the majority of the back nine, it looked as if Burns would add his sixth PGA Tour title in his last 66 starts. He held a one-stroke lead heading into the par-5 16th and split the fairway to set up a conceivable birdie chance. A big right miss was the beginning of the end for the American as only then did loose swings begin to pile on top of one another. A pair on the 16th was followed by a horrible tee shot on the 17th that found the water and resulted in a double bogey. Still with a chance to win on the 18th tee, Burns' hit a wicked double cross to sink any hope. It was an ugly finish, but it shouldn't overshadow what was an otherwise stellar week for the 27-year-old. Grade: A

T17. Scottie Scheffler (-21): The world No. 1 did not fare well as the putting woes from the final two days of The Sentry leaked into the entirety of his American Express. Poor putting and a relatively down tournament from tee to green meant Scheffler became an afterthought. After some visible improvement with his stroke at the Hero World Challenge, Scheffler has regressed on the greens in his first two starts of 2024. He will look to get right on the bumpy greens of Pebble Beach in two weeks for the first signature event of the season. This result is only Scheffler's third finish outside the top 15 since November 2022. Grade: C

T39. Daniel Berger (-17): A mere 18 months removed from competitive golf, Berger more than held his own in his return from injury. Making the cut, the American was impressive and ranked inside the top 20 in both strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained approach in his two rounds at the Stadium Course. The problem for Berger is he is essentially starting from scratch. He is not qualified for signature events or in the fields at major championships so he has a long way to go to get back to the player he once was. Stll, this was a great first step. Grade: A+

MC. Rickie Fowler (-2): Fowler beat just eight players this week and never looked comfortable around PGA West. While 2023 was defined by resurgence, Fowler's 2024 will be defined by validation. Since winning at the Rocket Mortgage Classic last summer, the 35-year-old has been experiencing an understated poor run of play. He is without a top-20 finish in a full-field event and ranks outside the top 70 in total strokes gained, strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained putting. The iron play remains steady, but the rest of Fowler's game needs to start improving if he is to follow up his 2023 in respectable fashion. Grade: F