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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Phil Mickelson, Clarkston’s Joel Dahmen exchange jabs, quality shots at Wells Fargo

Joel Dahmen watches his tee shot on the sixth hole in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on Thursday in Charlotte, N.C.  (Associated Press)

Clarkston native Joel Dahmen and PGA superstar Phil Mickelson: a perfect pairing on Twitter and on the golf course.

The 50-year-old Mickelson, a five-time major champion, fired a 7-under-par 64 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dahmen heated up on the back nine to finish at 3 under, tied for 10th.

Their performance at Quail Hollow was as much fun to watch as their Twitter barbs Wednesday.

Dahmen took the first swing after learning he would be playing with Mickelson for the first time in Thursday’s and Friday’s rounds.

“I get to check off another bucket list item by playing with Phil Mickelson,” Dahmen tweeted. “I’ve been trying to get a game with him for 6 months, but I think he’s scared of my hellacious seeds. See you on the tee, Phil!”

Mickelson fired back: “After 6 months of intense training, I hear you’ve reached your goal of 170 (mph) ball speed. Congrats and I’m looking forward to seeing it in person.”

Mickelson ranks 41st in ball speed at 175.40 mph. The tour average is 169.93. Dahmen is 156th at 166.97.

Someone commented that Dahmen’s calves might be bigger than Mickelson’s. Mickelson chimed in with a picture of his muscular calf and the caption: “Maybe. Oops. Mine just ate his.”

The 44-time PGA Tour winner wasn’t done: “Words cannot express my excitement and jubilation to be finally paired with Joel “DaMan” Dahmen. (Bombs emoji) will be hit and (birdies emoji) will be made. Lanto (Griffin, third member of the group) is ironing his clothes now after hitting the gym. It’s about to rain again in Charlotte (laughing emoji).”

Dahmen offered one last jab: “I’m excited to see how my game stacks up against the best of the Champions Tour.”

Mickelson was sharp, making eight birdies and just one bogey. Dahmen, who earned his first tour win at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic in March, finished with four birdies, three on his back nine.

“I love the banter. I think it’s funny and it kept the atmosphere in our group really light. We were laughing even before we teed off,” Mickelson said. “I like how (Joel) is able to laugh at ourselves and have fun with the game of golf and not take it too serious.”

Dahmen, who finished second at the 2019 Wells Fargo, was all smiles exiting the last green and during a media session.

“Phil’s awesome,” he said. “He’s just so full of information. He’s got great stories. He’s really fun to play with. We were just walking to scoring and Ryan Armour said, ‘You don’t have to poke the bear.’ I poked (Mickelson) a little bit and he played awesome.”

Mickelson had the last words after Thursday’s round. He tweeted a picture of the two holding their scorecards: “Lesson learned,” with a smirking face emoji.