Clarkston High junior Joel Dahmen came up one shot short in his bid for the State 3A boys golf title. That shot probably could be measured in centimeters.
Dahmen, engaged in a daylong shootout with Ryan Dolbow of Bellevue, came to the 18th green at The Creek at Qualchan on Thursday trailing by one stroke, though he was unaware of the margin because he was playing one group in front of Dolbow.
Dahmen’s 15-foot eagle putt started to disappear into the cup, but lipped out at the last second. He settled for birdie and a round of 69 for a two-day total of 140 (4-under). Dolbow, who birdied 17 with a 15-foot putt, added another birdie from short range on 18, giving him a 70 and a two-day total of 5-under 139.
“I hit it right over my spot. I almost fist-pumped because it was in,” Dahmen said. “I took the step forward. … I actually thought that putt was going to win it.”
As it turned out, it would have forced a playoff had it dropped.
“I’m replaying it in my mind,” Dahmen said. “It’s on the high side, going slow, it breaks a lot and it still didn’t go in.”
Dolbow, the first-day leader after shooting 69, was even through 16 holes before his birdie-birdie finish. On the par-5 18th, his approach stopped just off the front edge, but he chipped within 3 feet and calmly made the uphill putt.
The Bellevue junior missed a putt of similar length on the 18th hole last year at Appletree which would have forced a playoff for the state title.
“Nervous? Yeah,” Dolbow said. “But I knew I’d make it. It wasn’t a very hard putt.”
Dolbow’s round nearly duplicated his Wednesday effort. He had 36s on the front nine both days, but played the back in a combined 5-under.
“I didn’t know (if he needed to make the last putt to win), but my goal was to get under 140,” Dolbow said.
Dahmen, who won the 2003 title, burned up the front nine in 32 with birdies on 2, 3, 5 and 9 and a par-saving 15-footer on 4. He fell out of the lead with a double bogey on No. 12 and a bogey on No. 13 when he pushed a lob wedge from 100 yards.
He rebounded with a birdie on 15, but missed an opportunity for another birdie when his 7-iron approach from 175 yards on the par-5 16th sailed right and over the green.
“Halfway through my swing (on 12) I didn’t trust my swing and I came out of it,” Dahmen said. “I didn’t trust my swing again (on 16) and came out of it again. I’m kind of going through a swing change so when I get into contention I can’t trust it.
“It’s pretty frustrating right now. I shot 32 with an easy back side. It’s a good lesson to learn: Trust your swing. That probably cost me three shots.”
Alex Moore of Hanford finished third at 143 (70-73). Bainbridge Island, with 77 points, won the team title. Bellingham was second at 58.
In the girls tournament at Hangman Valley, Issaquah freshman Brittany Tallman held off good friend Katie Somers, a Mount Si freshman, for a two-stroke victory. Tallman, who had a four-shot lead after an opening-round 71, shot 80, but came up with a clutch birdie on No. 18.
Somers shot 76 after her first-round 77. Yelm’s Beth Stonecypher, who finished tied for third, shot 75, the low round of the day.
East Valley’s Ashley Saffle (86-84) and Clarkston’s Kayln Carlson (81-89) shared 16th place. West Valley’s Ashley Wieber (83-88) tied for 18th.
Bellingham rolled to its fourth straight title with 111 points.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.