Dunlap enjoying latest adventure on Champions Tour
April 19, 2014
By Vartan Kupelian, PGATOUR.COM
- Scott Dunlap finished tied for 12th at the Greater Gwinnett Championship. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
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DULUTH, Ga. -- Scott Dunlap is a pragmatist. He harbors no illusions. He knows what the Champions Tour means to his career.
“It’s just a nice gig to get,” Dunlap said Saturday at the Greater Gwinnett Championship.
Dunlap is a lifer on golf’s professional tours. He has played anywhere and everywhere. He has done so because he’s had to.
“They say necessity is the mother of all invention,” he said. “I went overseas and played because those were my options. I happened to go places and ended up really enjoying it. I was chasing a dollar and wanted to play golf for a living because I wasn’t good enough at 21, 22, 23 to play the PGA TOUR.
“I had to go kind of figure it out. My passport is stamped with a lot of neat places and I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. Some guys that are better than I am might have bigger bank accounts but I’ve got some neat experiences along the way.”
Dunlap is a Champions Tour rookie. He earned fully-exempt status with a fourth-place finish in November at the National Qualifying Tournament. He got his spot with a par on the first playoff hole.
“That Tour school is a tough one,” he said. “There are only five spots. When there are that few, you can still play pretty good and not get one.”
In four starts this year, Dunlap’s best finish is a tie for fifth at the Toshiba Classic where he shot 68-64-68 at Newport Beach Country Club to finish two shots behind the winner, Fred Couples.
“I finished 4-5 and Fred Couples finished 2-4,” Dunlap said. “That was the difference.”
Dunlap had another respectable finish Sunday at the Greater Gwinnett Championship, finishing in a tie for 12th.
Dunlap also had solid performances at the Allianz Championship, where he opened with a 63 and tied for 15th, and the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic (T19). Late last year he opened qualified for the AT&T Championship, the final full-field event on the Champions Tour calendar, and finished T15.
Dunlap has been sparring with windmills on the PGA TOUR since 1992. In 2000, he played in 30 events and won over $1 million. It was the year Dunlap shot a 66 to tie for the first-round lead at the PGA Championship with Tiger Woods. Dunlap, after a second-round 68, was a shot behind Woods, the eventual winner at Valhalla Golf Club, after 36 holes and again after 54 holes before settling for a T8 finish. Dunlap has won twice on the Web.com Tour (2004, 2008), never on the PGA TOUR.
The Champions Tour is another chapter in Dunlap’s travels.
“It’s a new venture, isn’t it?” he said. “It’s nice to get out there and be in the last couple of groups or the last group and have a chance to do something. Lord knows it’s been a long time since that was the case on the PGA TOUR and those times were few and far between. So, yeah, it’s a new venture and it’s fun.”
The enjoyment of the Champions Tour comes in a variety of forms, compared to many of the other tours he has played.
“Three times the money and half the number of people,” he said. “It didn’t take a finance degree from (the University of) Florida to figure that one out.
“Another good thing about the Champions Tour is the lack of early-morning wake-up calls. It’s nice not to set the alarm clock for 5:05 or some ridiculous time.”
Dunlap can tell time but he can’t predict the future. He’s always been one to take what comes.
“I still can’t figure out how I get into some of these events,” he said. “Basically I’ve left my cell phone number with the (Champions Tour) and they call me when I get in if I can get there on short notice.
“I mean, listen, I’ve been playing all along. At 50 when you come out, hopefully you’re in reasonable shape so you know you’ve got a chance and I’ve kind of proven that, OK, if I play as well as I can, I might have a chance to be there on Sunday. So tomorrow’s another day … but it’s just fun to be in the mix, win or lose.”