A career-best fifth place in last week's event, moved Dahmen into the top 125, joining University Place's Andrew Putnam, Puyallup's Ryan Moore, Gig Harbor's Kyle Stanley and former Husky C.T. Pan.
It is that time of the season when the pressure can get intense for PGA Tour players near the 125th spot in the FedEx Cup standings.
Only the top 125 make it to the season-ending playoffs, and retain their PGA Tour cards.
“You can’t really hide from it, and you can’t get away from it because you get texts and emails at the end of the week (detailing the standings),” said former UW Husky and Clarkston native Joel Dahmen, who is in his second year on the PGA Tour. “So you can’t avoid it, but it’s not consciously something I am thinking about when I am playing.”
With six weeks remaining before the start of the playoffs on Aug. 23 in the Northern Trust event, Dahmen, 30, put himself into the top 125 with a tie for fifth last week in the Military Tribute at the Greenbrier. That moved Dahmen from the dreaded 126th spot to 108th.
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Five spots ahead of him is C.T. Pan, the former Husky and one-time No. 1-ranked amateur in the world. In much more comfortable spots are Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley at No. 35, Andrew Putnam of University Place, who is having easily the best year of his career, at No. 55, and Puyallup’s Ryan Moore at No. 58.
Nick Taylor, another former Husky who was once the top-ranked amateur, will need to have a good end to the season. Taylor, who shared a house with Dahmen in college, dropped four spots this past week and is at No. 128.
For Dahmen, who did not finish in the top 125 last year but earned his PGA Tour card back at the Web.com Tour finals, it has been a steady climb in recent months. In his past eight events, he has made the cut six times, finishing in the top 25 in each of those events.
“I’m playing the best golf of my life,” he said. “A lot of the things I have been working on are starting to click a little bit. And I am feeling more comfortable. And that’s a huge thing, just feeling like I belong, and believing and trusting I am good enough to compete with these guys each and every week.”
Dahmen said the hard work he has put in, including getting instruction from former Husky player Rob Rashell, is paying off.
“My confidence is also at an all-time high,” Dahmen said. “It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg thing. Am I confident so I am playing well, or do you play well to get confident? But I have worked really hard with Rob these past few months and I am starting to really see the fruits of my labor.”
Dahmen can keep the pressure of the PGA Tour season in perspective better than most, having beaten testicular cancer that he was diagnosed with in 2011, then having to work his way through the Canadian and Web.Com tours to reach the highest level, where he once again found himself playing with Taylor.
Dahmen and Taylor — the only current Husky to have won on the PGA Tour — hang out often. Last week, the two had dinner together five times, and they almost always play practice rounds together. The two are playing in this week’s John Deere Classic, as are Stanley, Putnam, Moore and Pan.
“Nick and I are super close,” said Dahmen, who is tied for 16th along with Taylor at the John Deere Classic at 7-under 135. “He’s one of my best friends, on and off the course. It’s great to have your best friend out here. We’ve been close since college, and it’s been fun to do this with him out here.”
If the trend of good play continues for Dahmen, he should have no trouble maintaining his PGA Tour card and maybe making a run in the playoffs.
“I can’t play defense on anyone else, so if I keep golfing well it will take care of itself,” Dahmen said of staying in the top 125.
- Putnam has four top-10 finishes this season, including a second-place finish in the St. Jude Classic in June.
- Pan has made the cut in seven of his past eight events, including three top 20 finishes.
- Moore, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, has four top-10 finishes this season, with his best being a tie for fifth.
- Stanley, who recharged his career with a great 2016-17 season that included his second PGA Tour victory, has four top-10 finishes, including a tie for second at the Memorial.