Castle goes back-to-back at Maryland Mid-Amateur
-Story courtesy of the Maryland State Golf Association

LAYTONSVILLE, Md. (August 13, 2014) — Jeff Castle, the defending champion from Towson Golf & Country Club, repeated as champion of the Maryland State Golf Association's Mid-Am championship when he closed the rain-delayed event with a 5-under-par 67 and a 36-hole total of 137 at Montgomery CC in Laytonsville. Although there have been two other multiple winners (Terry Burke, 3, and Dave Rasley, 2), this marked the first back-to-back winner in the tournament's 28-year history.

Chris Baloga, the 2010 winner, dropped a shot at the 17th and fell into second place with 68-70--138.

A heavy rainstorm during the scheduled second round (Tuesday, August 12) forced two suspensions of play before officials called off play for the rest of the afternoon. As is often the case in similar situations, the decision made a dent in the final-round field, as only 24 players from the original 46 returned for the completion of play (Wednesday, August 13).

Castle, 30, who won last year at Baltimore CC's West Course with 66-70--136, began his interrupted round with a birdie at the 509-yard ninth, nearly drove the 328-yard 12th, then settled for a chip and a putt, and capped the rally with a 6-iron second to just left of the green, from where he chipped in for an eagle-3 at the 486-yard, par-5 13th. He added a final birdie at the 330-yard 16th, where he drove the green and two-putted.

In what turned out to be a bogey-free round, "I hit the driver great and reached all 18 greens [in regulation]," Castle, the 2006 MSGA Amateur champion, reported. "I had hit 17 [greens] the first round, but didn't putt nearly as well. In the rain, I was just trying to make pars, but the last nine [in sunny, mild weather], I hit it a lot closer."

Baloga, 31, was 2 in front after the first round, 1 ahead at the turn, then surged with birdies at 10-11. Then, just as quickly as it came, the lead was gone. Castle birdied 12 and his eagle-3 made up three more strokes, as Baloga's 13th tee shot was not found and he eventually got up-and-down for bogey. Baloga birdied 15 to draw even and both birdied 16, but at 17, Baloga knocked one putt past the 17th hole and missed coming back for a bogey.

Mark Cusic, from Breton Bay G&CC, had three birdies in a closing 69 for 143, where he was tied by Bart Mease, Argyle CC, 70-73--143. Endel Liias, CC at Woodmore, rounded out the top five with 72-73--145. First-round leader Steve Delmar (67), a three-time Montgomery CC club champion, had to withdraw after the rain delay and was unable to return for the completion of the event.

The 2015 tournament is scheduled for August 10-11 at the Elkridge Club in Baltimore.

ABOUT THE Maryland Mid-Amateur

This tournament is open to male amateurs who have reached their 30th birthday and are residents of Maryland or are members of member clubs of the Maryland State Golf Association with an up-to-date USGA Index of 5.4 or less. The tournament will be conducted at 36 holes stroke play, with the field being reduced to the low 60 scores and ties after the first round.

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