It was mostly a good news scenario for Clarkston native Joel Dahmen at The RSM Classic on Friday.
Just to get the bad news out of the way: He trails by seven shots heading into the weekend, gaining just one shot from Thursday’s first-round effort of 74 on the Plantation course at the Sea Island Resort in Sea Island, Ga.
Brushing that aside, nothing else probably could change the mood of the 33-year-old former University of Washington player after what he did to the Seaside course in the second round.
Dahmen absolutely brought what was playing as the easier of the two courses to its knees, carding nine birdies in finishing with a bogey-free round of 61 and vaulting to a tie for 11th place at 7-under-par 135.
It is the lowest round Dahmen ever has shot in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event. Previously, he shot a 63 in the third round of the third round of the RBC Heritage Classic on June 20.
However, it is not the lowest round he has shot, not even this year.
As the golf world came to a screeching halt because of the coronavirus pandemic, Dahmen fired a 58 on May 8 with some of his buddies at the 72-year-old Mesa Country Club, one of his adopted home courses.
At the time, all he cared about was just winning a bunch of $10 and $20 pots with his playing partners, agent Derek Bohlen and Chicago Cubs utility player Ian Happ.
“I was so much involved in the game in our group that I forgot about the score,” Dahmen said at the time.
This time, it could mean much more than just change in his pocket.
He might have gotten some motivation from a friendly game of miniature golf last week with former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. Playing on a course in a backyard in Scottsdale, Ariz., that was inspired by Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters, the two had a contest where the winner earned not a green jacket, or even a gold jacket signifying membership into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, of which Urlacher is a member of. Nope, it was for a Dr. Pepper.
With Dahmen giving Urlacher two shots for every hole, the two matched each other shot for shot in what turned into a post on Twitter that went viral. After the round, the two celebrated with their Dr. Peppers and Dahmen slipping a green jacket onto Urlacher.
While he was unavailable for comment at press time after Friday’s record-setting performance, Dahmen and caddie Geno Bonnalie took to Twitter after the completion of the round to celebrate.
In fact, walking up to the green on No. 7 — Dahmen’s 16th hole of the round — Dahmen reached into his pocket and took out some inspiration.
“Geno, sometimes you just have to believe,” Bonnalie tweeted Dahmen to have said, with a picture of a painted blue rock that said, “Believe.”
In six tournaments at the start of the 2020-21 season, Dahmen has scored better than 70 in 10 of his 20 rounds. His best finish so far was a tie for eighth in his previous tournament, Oct. 25 at the no-cut Zozo Championship at Sherwood in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Dahmen trails leader Robert Streb by seven shots heading into today’s third round.
Starting on No. 10 with partners Sean O’Hair and Adam Schenk, he carded birdies on Nos. 12, 14, 15 and 18 to make the turn in 31 and basically erase the first-round score. Dahmen then caught fire on his back nine, stringing together birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9 for his score. He finished by hitting 14 of 18 greens in regulation.
Players in the second round at Seaside, a par-70, 7,005-yard course, had an average score of 68.679. For the two rounds thus far, players are averaging 69.281 strokes per round. In comparison, the Plantation course, a par-72, 7,060-yard track, is yielding 71.328 shots per round.
More good news for Dahmen: The final two rounds of the event are taking place at Seaside.
He will tee off at 7:45 a.m. Pacific today on No. 1 with partners Cameron Tringale and Adam Long.
Walden may be reached at (208) 848-2258, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @waldo9939.