Maryland Mid-Am: Baloga Wins by Five Shots

IJAMSVILLE, MD. (Aug. 20, 2010) -- Chris Baloga, despite at least one other major item on his mind, was able to focus enough for a closing 3-under-par 69 and a record-setting 36-hole total of 135 at Holly Hills Country Club in Ijamsville, August 20. This was the 24th annual Mid-Amateur championship of the Maryland State Golf Association, and the 135 also set a record at 9 under par.

Baloga, 27, left immediately after the event to catch an airplane flight to Seattle, Wash., and preparation for next week's U.S. Amateur championship at Chambers Bay in suburban Tacoma. He took with him a rush of confidence as the result of winning the Washington County Open last weekend and the Mid-Amateur, where he headed a 63-man field that made the first-day cut of 78. On the same Holly Hills course in late May, Baloga took the title in the Washington Metropolitan Mid-Amateur.

At the same time, the Hillendale Country Club member had to share the spotlight with some precise shot-makers, as five eagles were recorded at the par-4 16 hole, shortened from an original setup of 290 yards to just 220 yards to provide a different sort of challenge and give the players something to talk about. Steve Ford of Caves Valley and Talbot Country Club came within a few inches of making a hole-in-one on the 16th. At the score card table, onlookers were shocked to learn that Ford had not made an ace in his many years of stylish play from the lefthand side.

Travis Russell (70-70--140) was second; Andrew Rice (71-71-142) and Bill Jenner (70-72--142) shared third; Larry Storck (74-69--143), Pete DeTemple (73-70-143) and Greg Bolling (72-72-143) were tied for fifth; and John Howson (76-68--144), Matthew Brady (74-70--144), Walter Jew (73-71--144), Tracy Vallandingham (72-72--144) and Chris Demetrakis (71-73--144) were in a logjam for eighth place.

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