Joel Dahmen, co-leader at Corales Puntacana, says wife ‘gives me a hug and a kiss and tells me to go kick butt’

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Todd Kelly
·3 min read
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Joel Dahmen hasn’t won a professional event since claiming two titles on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada nearly seven years ago. Positive vibes from his wife might help him breakthrough on the PGA Tour this week.

After 54 holes in the Dominican Republic, Dahmen is in position to win for the first time on golf’s big stage. His third-round 68 included four birdies on his back nine, getting him to 10 under. Rafael Campos would later birdie the 18th hole to tie him for the lead and those two will take a one-shot advantage into Sunday’s final round.

Dahmen credits his wife, Lona, describing how she’s long been a big part of his team.

“We’ve been together for nine years now, married for two, so she’s seen it all,” he said on Saturday. “She worked two jobs to pay rent when I was on the mini-tours, had no money. So she’s been through it all. She’s been really positive through all this.”

This being the six missed cuts in seven outings in 2021.

“Sounds like I’m just like on golf suicide watch, right? I just had a rough seven, eight weeks. It’s not that bad, but the way I play, super consistent, make a lot of cuts, you know, it seemed like it was pretty bad. So it’s never as bad as you think it is, it’s never as good as you think it is, but Lona’s been great for me. She still gives me a hug and a kiss and tells me to go kick butt, so it’s been good.”

Dahmen has only posted three bogeys and one double through three rounds at the windy Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship. He also credited his Saturday playing partner, Graeme McDowell, for providing some inspiration.

“Playing with Graeme today, he got off to kind of a good start and I was kind of behind the 8-ball. He kind of kicked my butt after the three-putt on 8,” he said. “I started being a little more aggressive with my putts just got to get them to the hole and they might actually go in, and they did thankfully on the back.”

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Typically, Dahmen hasn’t played this event, but he felt like missing out on this week’s World Golf Championships event stirred something.

“Normally I take this week off, but I was kind of inspired — I felt like I kind of should have been in that Match Play this year and not being there inspired me to come here and play well,” he said.

As for Campos, he’s only had two bogeys all week and has shot three rounds in the 60s so far, including a second straight 69 on Saturday.

Campos is also seeking his first Tour win. He has one win on the Korn Ferry Tour, the 2019 Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club.

Danny Willett and Michael Gligic are tied for second, one shot back. Emiliano Grillo and Thomas Pieters are tied for fifth, two back. Defending champion Hudson Swafford is in a six-way tie for seventh at 7 under.

The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, also held last September, is the first PGA Tour event to be staged twice in the same season in 70 years.

A win does not mean a trip to Augusta National for the Masters but a victory would gain the winner this week entry into the 2021 PGA Championship, the 2022 Sentry Tournament of Champions and the 2022 Players Championship.