Nick Dunlap’s putter picked a bad time to go cold.
On the 16th hole early Friday afternoon, Dunlap, a rising sophomore at Alabama, had a chance to go 2 up with two holes to play. His opponent, Jackson Koivun, was in the hole with par, but Dunlap had a birdie putt.
It slid by. Way by. He had about 7 feet coming back. And he missed.
All tied up with two to play.
“It’s hard to win,” Dunlap said after clinching his match on the 19th hole. “Pressure is difficult. I’m normally pretty good inside 10 feet.”
Dunlap and Koivun, an incoming freshman at Auburn, were tied on the 18th tee and both found the fairway. Koivun hit a poor approach and left his chip woefully short, as well.
Meanwhile, Dunlap found the green in two but again slid his birdie putt a few feet by. All he had to do was make his par, and the match would be over. He missed, again. And they went to an extra hole.
“You’re never going to come out with your A-plus game every day,” Dunlap said. “It’s just the way it is. I wasn’t seeing the greens as well today.”
On the 19th hole, Dunlap, who’s ranked ninth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, drained a birdie putt to win the match and move on to Saturday.
“I think you can get overwhelmed with a situation if you allow yourself to,” Dunlap said. “At the end of the day, it’s still golf so you have to execute your game plan.”