Thu, 21 Oct 2021

American Joel Dahmen held off Puerto Rico's Rafael Campos over the gusty final holes on Sunday to win his first PGA Tour title, capturing the Corales Puntacana Championship.

Dahmen, who missed the cut in six of his past seven starts, fired a two-under par 70 to finish on 12-under 276 at the windy Dominican resort to defeat Campos and American Sam Ryder by one stroke.

"It's so fricking hard to win a golf tournament," Dahmen said. "I knew it was hard but I can't believe how hard it actually is."

World number 81 Dahmen's best prior PGA finishes were runner-up efforts at the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship and 2018 John Deere Classic.

"It has been a tough start to the year," Dahmen said. "To turn around (6 of 7) missed cuts to this is pretty incredible. This is unbelievable. This is awesome."

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Canada's Michael Gligic shared fourth on 278 with Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and American Hudson Swafford on 279 and England's Danny Willett in eighth on 280.

Dahmen birdied four of the first seven holes to pull away but bogeys at the par-3 11th and par-5 14th dropped him back level for the lead with Campos, who had birdied the par-5 fourth and seventh, and Gligic on 12-under with three brutally windy holes remaining.

"I was in control, or so I thought. I don't know what happened to me. I kind of lost it," Dahmen said of his back-nine stumbles.

Gligic, whose best prior PGA effort was a share of 11th last year in Bermuda, fell back with bogeys at the par-4 16th and stumbled back with a bogey at the par-4 16th and 18th.

At the pivotal par-3 17th, Dahmen barely missed a chip-in, nearly flipping his club into his caddie with delight, and tapped in for par while Campos left his chip short and two-putted for bogey, leaving Dahmen ahead by one.

At the par-4 18th green, Dahmen was 30 feet from the cup while Campos was half that distance. Dahmen rolled his putt to three feet, putting the pressure upon Campos.

After backing off for a wind gust, Campos made his putt and it looked good - the Caribbean golfer bending his knees and cocking a fist pump - only to have a wind gust deny the ball a spot at the bottom of the cup.

"I knew this putt. I've putted this putt. Five inches out I thought it was right in the heart," Campos said after settling for the best finish of his PGA career.

"Really hurts. But great week. I can't complain. I grinded it out. It wasn't meant to be."

Dahmen sank his tense final putt for the long-sought triumph.

"I don't know how I tapped in that three-footer but I'm thankful it went in," Dahmen said. "I don't know how I'm here. It's crazy."

Leading scores after Sunday's final round of the Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic (USA unless noted, par 72):

276 - Joel Dahmen 67-71-68-70

277 - Sam Ryder 68-72-70-67, Rafael Campos (PUR) 68-69-69-71

278 - Graeme McDowell (NIR) 70-69-70-69, Michael Gligic (CAN) 73-66-68-71

279 - Hudson Swafford 70-71-68-70, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 70-73-65-71

280 - Danny Willett (ENG) 70-70-67-73

281 - Brice Garnett 70-72-71-68, Ben Martin 71-70-71-69, Greyson Sigg 72-70-70-69, Sepp Straka (AUT) 72-68-69-72

282 - David Hearn (CAN) 72-72-72-66, Joseph Bramlett 69-73-72-68, Chesson Hadley 70-70-73-69, Thomas Detry (BEL) 70-70-72-70, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 69-70-69-74

283 - Jonhattan Vegas (VEN) 73-70-72-68, Chase Seiffert 73-71-71-68, Tyler McCumber 72-69-73-69, Roberto Castro 70-69-70-74

Source: News24

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