CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Joel Dahmen was tied for the lead with 10 holes to go Sunday at the Wells Fargo Championship, searching for a career-defining first PGA Tour title, when he drove into a fairway bunker and made bogey. He added another two holes later and never challenged good friend Max Homa again. Yet he hardly walked away from Quail Hollow Club empty-handed on Sunday.
In the short run, he managed to get up and down from a difficult spot in the rough left of the creek on the 18th hole, a par that was worth an additional six-figure payout ($158,000) as he finished solo second and earned the full $853,200 runner-up check.
“My caddie wanted me to play it safe [with my approach shot], but I thought if I snuck a 3 in there and Max hit it in the lake, I could come back around,” Dahmen said of his play on 18. “He’s over here laughing at me. I had such a huge break [that the second shot got a good lie] and actually it’s a pretty easy chip there. But I was certainly aware of what was at stake, absolutely. I mean this was my biggest paycheck by $500,000 maybe. I mean, it’s ridiculous what I just won today, absolutely ridiculous.”
Indeed, his previous largest pay day $382,800 for finishing T-2 at last year’s John Deere Classic.
In the bigger picture, though, is the psychological boost the event provided the comedic 31-year-old, who along with Homa, ranks among the top followers on Twitter, going forward. The runner-up finish, which was his seventh top-25 showing in 19 starts this season, vaulted the former University of Washington golfer to 29th in the FedEx Cup standings and assures him a spot in the playoffs for a second straight year. It’s also another building block.
When asked earlier in the week about pressure, Dahmen referenced this year’s Players Championship, where he tied for 12th after a par-par finish for another big payday.
“[Max] deserves to win,” Dahmen said Sunday night. “But I didn’t beat myself today, which was my whole goal. Could have made another birdie in there and a couple tee balls kind of went awry and a couple putts didn’t drop, but that’s golf.
"The next time they might and maybe I’ll be in Max’s spot.”