Last Update :11/8/2009

Baloga Streaks Away from Challengers

Baloga Streaks Away from Challengers to Take Baltimore City Amateur at the Country Club of Maryland

Chris Baloga, the 2008 Middle Atlantic Amateur champion and member of the Maryland team in the recent USGA State Team Championship, rang up the only sub-par round in the second round of the 55th annual Baltimore City Amateur championship, with his 70-68--138 good for an eight-stroke margin on runnerup Tom Grem, 72-74--146, at the Country Club of Maryland, November 8.

Baloga, from Towson Golf & CC and part of the winning team with Mike Stallings in last week's Baltimore Cup, and defending champion Brad Foxwell, from Pine Ridge GC, had opened with par-matching 70's and were paired in the final round, along with veteran Grem, the 1977 runnerup, from Hunt Valley GC. While Foxwell fell back with bogeys at the first three holes, Grem, who had opened with 72, made up a stroke on Baloga over the front nine (35 to 36) to trail by just one.

The challenge deteriorated from there, however, as Baloga gained a three-stroke lead, then saw it doubled at the 570-yard 15th. While the leader knocked in a six-foot birdie putt, Grem encountered tree problems and wound up with a double-bogey seven. Baloga had two other birdies on the back, and called it his best putting round of the year.

"It's the first time I've really putted well," he said of being able to solve the fast greens and tough hole locations. "I had 30 putts -- good for me -- and no three-putts." The 138 was the best total since Ki Moon shot 136 in 2005, and the eight-shot margin of victory was the best since Bob Kaestner's record nine-shot win in 1995.

There was a three-way tie for third among Jordan Steinfelder, Woodholme CC, 75-72--147; last year's runner up and Maryland State GA Player of the Year John Howson, Towson Golf, 74-73--147: and three-time champion Rick Sovero, Rolling Road GC, 73-74--147. Chris Saumell, from the CC of Maryland, had five birdies in posting the second-low round of the day, 70, for a total of 148, followed by Foxwell, 70-80--150. Ed Walsh, Hunt Valley GC, eagled the 370-yard sixth hole when he holed a 117-yard pitching-wedge second shot, and went on to finish 80-82--162.

The event, twice postponed by rain on successive October weekends, drew a break in the weather for a second straight day. This time, it was sunny and warm with the temperature in the 70's. From a starting field of 32 in the invitation program, there was a cut to the low 24 and ties after the frirst round, and 26 players at 85 and better advanced.

- Reported by John Stewart from the CC of Maryland

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