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Friday September 17th, 2021 9:03AM

Joel Dahmen wins at windy Punta Cana for 1st PGA Tour title

By The Associated Press

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic (AP) — 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 a 40-footer for birdie on No. 1 and added three more next six holes, then played the last 11 in 2 over with bogeys on par-3 11th and par-5 14th and a series have 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, 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.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Golf, AP Sports - PGA
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