Mathias Dahl thought about putting away the clubs for good last winter. It wasn’t about a lack of will power; it was more about doubting whether he could ever make enough money to keep up with the expenses he had every tournament.
Jim Colbert grilled a steak for Dahl on Tuesday. Dahl was about to compete in the All Pro Tour golf tournament named after Colbert, the Colbert Charity Classic.
“It’s a pretty special thing,” Dahl said. “I don’t think he cooks steaks for that many people.”
Dahl won the tournament Saturday with a score of 10-under, shooting a 7-under-par 65, the low round of the event
But Dahl wasn’t finished after 18 holes. His 10-under score tied him with Nashville, Tenn., native Steven Fox, forcing a playoff.
Fox’s wayward drive on the first playoff hole landed in a lateral hazard, incurring a one-stroke penalty. From there, Dahl was in complete control.
“It was kind of weird, because it was for a longer period than usual that it was going to be mine to lose,” Dahl said. “As soon as I hit the green on 18, I knew that I could probably go out and three-putt and still win. ... Once I saw that he wasn’t making par or maybe five, I just pulled out the 6-iron and hit it into the middle.”
Colbert said he knew Dahl had “been a pretty good player” for quite some time.
“He just (hadn’t) quite pushed the peanut over the hill,” Colbert said. “This time he did, on a good golf course on a windy day.”
Dahl and Colbert have known each other for about 10 years now. They met in Dahl’s hometown of Palm Desert, Calif., at BIGHORN Golf Club. Colbert admitted he didn’t know Dahl’s name for the first couple years, but he always was a fan of his game. Since then, Dahl listened and learned from the former PGA player.
“He’s always been so supportive of my career throughout all the years I’ve been at BIGHORN,” Dahl said. “He’s always just been like, ‘Look, you’ve got so much game. You’ve just got to put it to the test, and once you play at the level you can play at, there’s nothing that can stop you.’ I can’t thank him enough for that.”
Dahl played well through the first three rounds to leave him at 3-under par. Yet he still entered Saturday six strokes back from the leader. After a remarkable four-hole sequence between Nos. 10 and 14 that included two eagles and a birdie, Dahl found himself in prime position to win the $20,000 first-place purse.
“(Before 10) I didn’t have much of a thought that I was going to be able to win the tournament because I was a little too far back, and I figured the winner would have to get to 11 or 12-under today,” Dahl said. “But I rolled in a long putt on 10, and if it didn’t go in I probably would’ve hit par because it would’ve gone 10 feet behind.”
The competition was stiff in the event, with only four strokes separating the top eight finishers, including former Kansas State golfer Curtis Yonke, who tied for third at 8-under. Another former Wildcat, Kyle Weldon, tied for 15th at 3-under. The talent, Colbert said, was one of his favorite components to his tournament.
”This is the biggest purse these players have had for first place,” Colbert said. “If they are going to come, we’ve got to have 20 grand for first place because we want to attract the best players. And at this stage in their lives, 20 grand is a lot of money and changes your opportunities. If you do it more than once or twice then you get to chance to qualify for the next step. That costs more money, but it is a lot easier to raise it there, too, when you’ve shown you can beat everybody at this level. I (have to) say, I was most impressed by the talent competing here this weekend.”
Dahl’s called the victory his “first legit professional win” since graduating from the University of San Diego in 2015.
And it happened at the course designed by the man whose house he was staying at this week.
“I told Jim before the week started that it was going to be fun to play in an event on a big golf course that’s actually hard,” Dahl said. “They’ve always been so nice to me, and I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done.”