Joel Dahmen, tied for first place heading into the weekend at this year’s U.S. Open, said he was glad to have had a change of heart after nearly skipping the contest to focus on PGA Tour events he felt were better suited to his game.
The 34-year-old is five-under par at the Country Club outside Boston and if not for a missed 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, he would have sole possession of first place and a one-shot lead over Collin Morikawa.
“There was a lot of discussion leading up to it the prior week. I told my wife I wasn’t going to do it,” Dahmen told reporters, following his second round of 2-under 68.
“I was never really going to do it until I played better at Memorial and the game was there.”
The affable American said he was still adjusting to the extra attention he has been getting and could not resist waving to fans even in pressure situations but was pleased to have tapped into the competitive energy that runs deep within.
“I’m incredibly happy now, for sure,” he said.
“Sometimes you take for granted what you have out here a little bit. I think this is my eighth or ninth major championship, and not long ago I would have done a lot of things to play in one.”
Amid the fanfare and pressure that comes with playing on the sport’s biggest stage he said the key to his outstanding play through 36 has been staying within himself.
“It was just like, dude, you’re playing really well, don’t screw this up right now,” he said.
“Get out of your own way kind of thing. Just hit some golf shots, and I did that really well.”