(FORT MCMURRAY, Alta) – PGA Tour Canada Order of Merit leader Joel Dahmen took control of the Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON Friday, firing a 6-under 66 at Fort McMurray Golf Club to take the 36-hole lead by three shots over Vancouver’s Ryan Williams.
Dahmen, the PC Financial Open champion three weeks ago in Vancouver, rebounded from a bogey at the first hole with seven birdies, finishing at 15-under through 36 holes, three ahead of Williams.
“I’ve made a few putts. When you get in a groove, you just try to keep playing golf and not think about it too much,” said the Clarkston, Washington native of his red-hot play over the first two rounds. “I started to play more aggressively and the putts fell on the back nine for me.”
With a win in his back pocket already this year and the chance to take a strong grip on the top spot on PGA Tour Canada’s Order of Merit, Dahmen said he would be trying to go full speed into the weekend to secure another victory. The 26-year-old is looking to build on experience from last year at the Cape Breton Celtic Classic presented by PC Financial, where he held the 36-hole lead by three before faltering on the weekend to a 7th place finish.
“There’s still a lot of golf left. I did the same thing last year [in Cape Breton] and had a three-shot lead going into the weekend and it didn’t pan out, so there’s still a lot left. I still have to keep the pedal down and keep going,” said Dahmen.
2014 has been a breakout season for the former University of Washington Husky, who claimed two wins on the All-American Gateway Tour this winter and now finds himself in the driver’s seat on PGA Tour Canada, a position he admitted he hasn’t always felt comfortable in but now expects to see each time he tees it up. Dahmen credited a new mental approach crafted with former University of Washington assistant coach Jon Reehoorn, now the head coach at Oregon State, centered around playing aggressively regardless of his position on the leaderboard.
“We were talking about staying aggressive, and keeping the same mentality all the way through the round,” said Dahmen. “I really fought myself hard today, and I’m going to be excited when I text him and tell him that I did it. I fought myself early and I turned it around and played really well.”
With a great chance at another win this weekend, Dahmen said the confidence he gained from his win at the PC Financial Open has helped him play well this week.
“For me to actually win in Vancouver was huge. I know that I can do it, and I feel like I belong. I feel like I’m supposed to be at the top,” said Dahmen.
One shot behind Williams in third was Florida’s Jeff Corr, who shot 65 to finish at 11-under. Two shots behind Corr were Montreal, Quebec’s Beon-Yeong Lee, California’s Sean Shahi and Monday qualifier Kevin Spooner of West Vancouver at 9-under.