Dunlap was born in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 1965. Her parents Bunny and Bill were avid golfers, and she grew up playing the game. She attended Sarasota High School in Sarasota, Florida, and played for the Sarasota Sailors high school golf team. Dunlap was the state high school golf championship runner-up twice—as a junior in 1982, and again as a senior in 1983. She also found success as a junior amateur golfer by winning the Orange Bowl Junior Tournament in 1982 and the American Junior Golf Association tournament in 1983. She graduated from Sarasota High School in 1983.
Dunlap accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where her older brother, Scott Dunlap, was already a member of the Florida Gators men's golf team. She played for coach Mimi Ryan's Florida Gators women's golf team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition from 1984 to 1987, and was a member of the Lady Gators' back-to-back NCAA championship teams in 1985 and 1986. Dunlap was also a three-time collegiate tournament medalist, which included winning the Florida Intercollegiate Golf Championship in 1985, and shooting a 72-hole score of 291 to win the individual NCAA Division I Championship by a single stroke in 1986. She was a second-team All-American in 1985, a first-team All-American in 1986, and won the Broderick Award for Golf as the nation's outstanding female collegiate golfer in 1985–86.
Dunlap graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science in 1987, and was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 1998.
After turning professional, Dunlap played on the Futures Tour and won five tournaments. She then played on the LPGA Tour for six years (1991–1997), and had several top-ten finishes, but never won an individual Tour event. Her best finishes in the LPGA majors included a tie for thirty-fifth in the 1994 LPGA Championship, sixty-fourth in the 1997 U.S. Women's Open, and sixteenth in the 1994 du Maurier Classic. Dunlap's career earnings as a professional golfer totaled over $210,000; her best earnings year was 1993, when she won $59,053.
From 1998 to 2000, Dunlap served as the head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores women's golf team, and one of her team members was the first-ever Vanderbilt University golfer to qualify for the NCAA Women's Golf Championship tournament as an individual. Dunlap left Vanderbilt to return to Florida to get married in 2000.