By John Stewart, MSGA
The leaders struggled for much of the final round of the 41st annual Maryland Amateur Stroke Play Championship July 6, but in the end managed to produce an exciting finish at Mount Pleasant Golf Course.
Chris Baloga was not out of the lead for the last six holes of regulation, although the status of those around him kept changing. After 54 holes, Baloga, 2002 champion Tom Gross and first-time entrant Brendan Kelly were tied at even-par 213.
With the sudden-death playoff set for holes No. 13, 16, 17 and 18, Baloga rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 386-yard 16th to clinch the victory.
Earlier, it appeared as though none of the players in the last two groups wanted it, because four of them tossed a double bogey into the mix, two-day leader Kyle Stough tripled the first hole (after driving out of bounds) and later added a double of his own. Baloga went into the lead at 2-under with a par at the 13th and held on, despite bogeys at the 14th and 17th.
Chris Baloga (left), the Maryland Amateur Stroke Play Champion,with Mount Pleasant assistant pro Mike Dreyer.
"I was thinking about bogeys instead of birdies," said Baloga, who turned 25 and got married within the last month. In winning, the Towson University graduate added to his list of Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation victories, after winning the match-play title two years ago.
Henry Blue, 51, won the senior title with 71-71-72. … The cut fell at 156 for the third successive year, and 64 played the final round. … For the first time since 1999, a score of even par was good enough to win. … A record 12 seniors (50 and over) made the cut, and two others missed by a stroke from a starting number of 21.
Issue 3.28: July 10, 2008