June 21,2014(ISN)- (Fort McMurray, AB) – In what is becoming a regular occurrence on PGA TOUR Canada
this season, Clarkston, Washington’s Joel Dahmen finds himself atop the
leaderboard once again after shooting 4-under par at Fort McMurray Golf Club to
take a five stroke lead into the final round of the Syncrude Boreal Open
presented by AECON.
The Order of Merit leader got his day started right with birdies on two of his first
three holes to break away from the field and look as though he may run away and hide
with the Order of Merit lead through three events. Dahmen led by five over Las
Cruces, New Mexico’s Tim Madigan and by six over Syracuse, New York’s Daniel
McCarthy and defending champion Riley Wheeldon of Comox, British Columbia through
“I didn’t make a bogey today, which is huge. It was kind of a goal of mine,” said
Dahmen, who has made just two bogeys for the week and is without a blemish on the
scorecard in his last 35 holes. “It’s been great.”
After cruising along for much of the day without trouble, the 26-year old faced a
difficult sand save on the par-3 15th and a 15-foot par putt following an
indifferent bunker shot. The ensuing putt, however, found the cup for par, keeping
Dahmen’s momentum going.
“I hadn’t been close to a bogey all day, so I said to my caddie, ‘We have to make
this one.’ There was a little fist pump in there. That was huge,” said Dahmen, who
shared the 54-hole lead here last year before finishing tied for fourth.
Despite the considerable lead heading into Sunday and the chance to take a vice grip
on PGA TOUR Canada’s Order of Merit, the former University of Washington Husky isn’t
getting too far ahead of himself before a chance to close the deal in the final
“It’s far from over,” said Dahmen. “One swing and you make double or triple and a
guy makes birdie and it’s back to square one. If I go out tomorrow and shoot four-
or five-under and play well it’s going to be very difficult for somebody to catch
me, and that’s going to be the plan.”
Dahmen added that the big lead wouldn’t lead to a change in his strategy at Fort
McMurray Golf Club on Sunday.
“I’m not taking too many chances, but it’s more of a conservative strategy with an
aggressive swing,” said Dahmen. “My strategy isn’t overly aggressive, but my mind
frame has to be.”
FIELD RACING TO PLAY CATCH-UP WITH DAHMEN
With one round to go, the 71 players who made the cut find themselves in a
familiar position heading into Sunday – attempting to play catch-up with Joel
Dahmen. For those immediately behind Dahmen on the leaderboard, that has meant
taking a more aggressive strategy in an effort to make as many birdies as
“Joel’s starting to run away with it,” said Tim Madigan, who sat in solo second at
14-under through three rounds. “I’m just trying to just keep place, play solid and
just make birdies when I can.”
Defending champion Riley Wheeldon – who at 13-under par through three rounds had
already matched his winning score from 2013 – said Dahmen’s lead has left his
chasers with no choice but to play for as many birdies as possible.
“Joel was so far ahead that it pretty much released the reins on the rest of the
field,” said Wheeldon, who admitted he has been forced to play differently than last
year, when he elected to hit 2-iron off most tees. “You have to go out there and
make birdies. The difficulty of this golf course is off the tee, keeping it in play.
When you don’t really have pressure, you can go out and swing away and be
Despite Dahmen’s lead, his pursuers haven’t admitted defeat yet, knowing that the
tree-lined forest lurking just off the fairways at Fort McMurray Golf Club are able
to play the role of the great equalizer.
“On a course like this you can make up shots because all it takes is one bad swing
and you’re fighting to make bogey. I’m definitely not hoping that Joel does that,
but there is the possibility there,” said Madigan. “I don’t know if there’s even a
safe lead out here. It just takes that one swing and it can throw you off.”
WET CONDITIONS FORCE USE OF 17-HOLE COURSE FOR SATURDAY
After persistent rains Friday night into Saturday morning, the rules committee
elected to eliminate the use of the water-saturated ninth hole for the third
round and put a 17-hole course in play.
“The rules committee determined it would be in the best interest of the competition
to eliminate the 9th hole from play and continue with a 17-hole course,” said John
Slater, Vice-President, Competitions, PGA TOUR in a statement. “I would like to
commend the Fort McMurray Golf Club staff, especially superintendent Jeff Hacior,
for the work they have done to get the remainder of the course in good condition
leading up to and during this week.”
For online scoring, players were given an automatic par on the 9th hole for
Saturday’s third round. The use of the course for Sunday’s final round will be
determined at a later time.