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Clarkston’s Joel Dahmen rallies after slow start, trails by three shots at U.S. Open

UPDATED: Sat., June 18, 2022

Joel Dahmen, who shot 4-over 74 Saturday, reacts to a putt on the fifth green during the third round of the U.S. Open.  (Patrick Smith / Getty Images)
Joel Dahmen, who shot 4-over 74 Saturday, reacts to a putt on the fifth green during the third round of the U.S. Open. (Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

Joel Dahmen lost ground in the third round of the U.S. Open, but he had plenty of company.

Dahmen and some of golf’s biggest stars felt the wrath of gusty winds and firmer greens Saturday at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.

The good news for Dahmen? Only a small number of players handled the unforgiving conditions and the Clarkston native remains within striking range, just three behind co-leaders Will Zalatoris, who had the day’s low score with a 3-under-par 67, and Matt Fitzpatrick (68).

Defending champion Jon Rahm (71) made double bogey on No. 18 and slipped one shot behind the leaders. Scottie Scheffler (71), first-round leader Adam Hadwin (70) and Keegan Bradley (69) are two off the lead.

“I knew it was going to be hard. I didn’t know it was going to be that hard,” said Dahmen, who couldn’t wear his customary bucket hat due to the breezy conditions. “The wind flipped, made some of the easy holes really hard, and the first four holes were brutal. Then (on) the back, a lot of those hard holes got a little bit easier, as well. I wouldn’t say it was a wash. It was way harder today.”

The busiest folks on the property were those in charge of updating leaderboards. Seven players held at least a share of the lead. Only seven managed to break par. Nine players are under par after 54 holes.

Dahmen, 34, found his footing late on the front nine. He’ll carry some momentum into Sunday after making pars on the last 10 holes to close out a 4-over 74, but he’ll be in chase mode after sharing the second-round lead with Collin Morikawa.

Dahmen, Sam Burns (71) and Rory McIlroy (73) share seventh place.

Dahmen’s best chance at a birdie came when he used the slope behind the flag on No. 18 to hit his approach within 10 feet. His putt drifted just right of the cup.

Still, his final 10 holes looked quite a bit like his first 36, packed with solid ball-striking, other than a few shaky wedges. He hit 10 of 14 fairways but struggled on the greens. The first hole was indicative of what was to come as he three-putted from 40 feet.

Dahmen bogeyed the par-4 fourth after hitting the fairway. The same thing happened on the par-4 seventh. He was in great position after two shots on the par-5 eighth, but his wedge didn’t clear the green’s false front and he eventually missed a five-footer for par. That was his fourth bogey, matching his total from his first 36 holes.

“My putter just wasn’t great and I didn’t chip it very well,” Dahmen said. “I drove it well and hit my long irons. Hit my wedges poor (and) that led to a couple bogeys and a couple three-putts, but I’m comfortable. My game is right there. I’ve proven I can hang with these guys. If I get off to a good start (Sunday), it’s going to be really fun. That’s the goal.”

Dahmen avoided the big numbers that dropped playing partner Morikawa and Scheffler from the top spot. Scheffler, No. 1 in the world rankings, raced into first place at 6 under after holing out from 102 yards for eagle on No. 8. His two-shot lead melted away in two holes. He trailed by four shots after a double bogey on No. 11 and three consecutive bogeys.

Morikawa had two double bogeys and shot 77, fading from a tie for first to a share of 17th.

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