Joel Dahmen became the third former University of Washington golfer in three years to win his first PGA Tour event, on Sunday capturing the U.S. PGA Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic.
Dahmen edged fellow American Sam Ryder and Puerto Rican player Rafael Campos by a stroke. He shot a 2-under 70 in the final round to finish at 12-under 276, pressed all the way to the final putt. He received a first-place check for $540,000.
At a gusty Corales Puntacana Resort, Dahmen joined former Huskies C.T. Pan (2019 RBC Heritage) and Nick Taylor (2020 Pebble Beach Pro-Am) as recent PGA Tour champions.
Dahmen, originally from Clarkston, Washington, played a single season for the UW in 2007 before turning professional.
He hadn't won as a pro golfer since 2014, when he finished first in a pair of Mackenzie Tour events in Canada. His best PGA Tour finish had been runner-up at the 2018 John Deere Classic and the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship.
For that matter, Dahmen entered this event after missing cuts in six of his seven events this year. Victory couldn't have come at a better time.
"It has been a tough start to the year," Dahmen said. "To turn around those missed cuts to this is pretty incredible. This is unbelievable. This is awesome."
The event was held opposite the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas.
In the final round, Dahmen birdied four of the first seven holes to build a significant lead, but he bogeyed the par-3 11th and par-5 14th to enable others to push him to the end.
"It's so fricking hard to win a golf tournament," he said. "I knew it was hard, but I can't believe how hard it actually is."
Dahmen, 33, is one of the tour's endearing personalities, traveling to all of his golf events accompanied by his wife of a year and a half, Lona. He mentioned how she's supported him emotionally and financially, working multiple jobs when he was playing mini-tours and had no money.
"It’s never as bad as you think it is and it’s never as good as you think it is, but Lona’s been great for me," he said. "She still gives me a hug and a kiss and tells me to go kick butt, so it’s been good.”