Joel Dahmen wins at windy Punta Cana for first PGA Tour title
Joel Dahmen won the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory, avoiding a playoff when the wind pushed playing partner Rafael Campos’ final birdie try to the left.
Dahmen closed with a 2-under 70 on the windswept seaside course. He started fast with birdies on three of the first four holes and added another on the par-5 seventh, then played the last 11 in 2 over with bogeys on the par-3 11th and par-5 14th and a series of hard-earned pars.
“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 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 2- or 3-footer there, but thankfully it went in.”
The 33-year-old Dahmen finished at 12-under 276. He didn’t get into the Masters with the victory because the tournament was played opposite the WGC Match Play event in Texas but did wrap up a PGA Championship berth and a spot at Kapalua in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Campos, the Puerto Rican player whose family has long had a home in the Dominican Republic, had a 71.
“It wasn’t meant to be,” Campos said.
Winless on the tour, he bogeyed the par-3 17th to drop out of a tie for the lead and watched the wind move his 15-footer off-line in the last few inches on the par-4 18th.
“I was so nervous,” Campos said. “I kind of really wanted to embrace that opportunity, and it was so cool to have basically the outcome in my hands. … It was really cool to actually have that much pressure.”
His only birdies came on the two front-nine par 5s.
Sam Ryder had a 67 to tie for second with Campos.
Graeme McDowell, the 2019 winner, and Michael Gligic tied for fourth at 10 under. McDowell closed with a 69, and Gligic shot 71.
Defending champion Hudson Swafford (70) and Emiliano Grillo (71) were 9 under.
Dahmen won after missing the weekend cuts in seven of his previous eight starts.
“It’s been a rough start to the calendar year,” Dahmen said. “Golf was really hard for me these last seven or eight weeks, and to turn around to this is pretty incredible.”