After having missed 6 cuts in past 7 starts, American wins Corales Puntacana title with ‘incredible’ turnaround in Dominican Republic
For someone who had not won on the PGA Tour and had struggled mightily for the first three months of the year, Joel Dahmen felt at ease while leading on the back nine of a final round. Perhaps that inner calmness – he called it “cruise control” – proved to be the deciding factor Sunday at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.
After two bogeys earlier on the back nine, Dahmen made gritty par saves on the 16th and 17th holes before two-putting the 18th for par and a one-stroke victory at Corales Golf Club. He shot 2-under 70 for a 12-under 276 total, one stroke ahead of fellow Americans Sam Ryder (67) and Rafael Campos (71), Dahmen’s playing competitor and 54-hole co-leader (scores).
“I was on cruise control today,” Dahmen said. “It's really hard to win golf tournaments. I knew it was hard, but I can't believe how hard it actually is. I was in control; I felt like my body was just doing other things. Thankfully, I had a couple good up-and-downs there on 16 and 17.”
At the beginning of the week, Dahmen might have been one of the least likely players expected to contend in this event, which was held opposite the WGC Match Play and, thus, does not come with a Masters invitation for the winner. He had missed six cuts in seven starts in 2021, and his only weekend appearance resulted in a T-60 finish, at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Not exactly top form.
“Golf was really hard for me these last seven or eight weeks,” Dahmen said, “and to turn around … to this is pretty incredible.”
Dahmen had won twice on the Canadian tour in 2014, three years after having been treated for testicular cancer. He has played the PGA Tour since the 2016-17 season, with two runner-up results as his previous career highs. Dahmen, 33, won in his 111th career start and earned $540,000 from the $3 million purse.
Campos, whose Puerto Rico home lies just across the Mona Passage from the Dominican Republic, nearly pulled off a Caribbean Slam this year. He tied for third in the Puerto Rico Open two weeks ago before finishing one shot shy in the Dominican. “It's really nice to have a couple really good weeks, Puerto Rico and here. It's my second home,” said Campos, 32, who posted a personal-best runner-up in his 37th career start.
“What I got most about these last few weeks, not really hitting the ball that great, is just the patience I had and just trying to grind it through and play hard,” said Campos, who made a costly bogey at the par-3 17th hole to fall one behind Dahmen. “I'm just really happy I finished the weekend, unfortunately just one shy, but it was an awesome week.”
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