Joel Dahmen shot a final round of 70 to claim his maiden PGA Tour title at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.
Entering Sunday’s finale at the Corales course ,tied for the lead with Rafael Campos at 10 under, Dahmen opened with four birdies on his first seven holes, including three on his first four, and looked like a runaway winner.
“That front nine was easy for me. I lipped out a couple putts that couldn’t have even been better for me,” said Dahmen.
But the Washington state native came up empty after that, and following a pair of dropped shots on Nos. 11 and 14, he was again tied with the solid and steady Campos at 12-under par.
After the pair matched pars on Nos. 15 and 16, Campos, who’d navigated his way around the first 16 holes spotless, made the untimeliest of all bogeys: a dropped shot on the 17th hole.
The Puerto Rico native, who’d made just two birdies all day, now needed a gain on the hardest hole of all: the par-4, 501-yard final hole, or a bogey by the leader. Neither happened.
Dahmen finished 2-under 70 to settle on 12 under, while Campos signed for a 71 and an 11-under par total.
“I was on cruise control today. It’s really hard to win golf tournaments,” said Dahmen, when asked to describe his emotions coming down the stretch.
“I knew it was hard, but I can’t believe how hard it actually is. I was in control, I felt like I was doing — my body was just doing other things.
“Thankfully I had a couple good up-and-downs there on 16 and 17, and I don’t know how I tapped in that two- or three-footer there, but thankfully it went in.”
Sam Ryder produced a final-round 67 to score a backdoor runner-up, alongside Campos.
Graeme McDowell, the 2019 Corales winner, shot 69 to join Michael Gligic (71) at T4 on 10-under par, one clear of defending champion Hudson Swafford (70) and Emiliano Grillo (71), who were 9 under.
Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship
Leaderboard: Top 10
Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Joel Dahmen -12(-2)
2. Sam Ryder -11 (-5)
2. Rafael Campos -11 (-1)
4. Graeme McDowell -10 (-3)
4. Michael Gligic -10 (-1)
6. Hudson Swafford -9 (-2)
6. Emiliano Grillo -9 (-1)
8. Danny Willet -8 (+1)
9. Brice Garnett -7 (-4)
9. Ben Martin -7 (-3)
9. Greyson Sigg -7 (-3)
9. Sepp Straka -7 (E)
Winner’s Stats vs Leaders
1. Ryan Brehm (321 yards)
17. Dahmen (305.6 yards)
1. Fabian Gomez (89.3%)
40. Dahmen (69.6%)
1. Brice Garnett (75%)
10. Dahmen (68.1%)
1. Chesson Hadley (1.595)
2. Dahmen (1.633)
Dahmen, who’s now exempt on Tour through the 2022-23 season, talked about what it meant to celebrate the victory (and some job security) with his wife, Lona , and caddie/best friend, Geno Bonnalie.
“Yeah, I dreamed about that one for a while. Obviously, Adam, you know how much my wife means to me. She worked two jobs to pay rent when I was on the mini tours, I didn’t have any money. She gave up her dreams to fulfill my dreams and help me out,” said Dahmen.
“There was some lean times, for sure, but she believed in me. I don’t know if our dreams were ever this big per se. Making it five years on Tour, getting a first win, just it’s pretty special.
“And for Geno, I mean, two dudes growing up together who were golf dorks like somehow winning on the PGA Tour. Like it was — yeah, I really — I planned the celebration so many times in my head, it didn’t quite go as I expected.
“I couldn’t believe he was crying, I thought he’d be the tough guy, but he’s put in a lot of time and effort and he’s believed in me when no one else did. He quit — he had an 8-month old kid at home to start caddying for him on the Web tour and somehow his wife let him. It’s just special how much we’ve been through together, some lean times.
“I’m so lucky, he cares more about me than any golf shot I’ll ever hit. just to be able to do that together was pretty darn cool.”
Round-4 Video Highlights
The best shots of the final round of the 2021 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, featuring Michael Gligic, Rafael Campos and Joel Dahmen who claimed his first win of his PGA Tour career.
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