July 5, 2011
BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland Head Men's Golf Coach Chris Baloga added another piece of hardware to his trophy collection last weekend when he won the 43rd-Annual Maryland Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Mount Pleasant Golf Course.
Baloga, who recently completed his first year at the helm of Loyola's program, won the event for the second time in three years.
The Baltimore-area native opened the final round with a one-shot lead only to lose it see it go away early.
Baloga who graduated from Towson University in 2005 was tied with his collegiate teammate, Billy Wingerd, entering the 16th hole of the final round. Baloga, however, drained an eight-foot birdie putt to take a one shot advantage going to the penultimate hole.
The pair both matched pars on the par-3 17th hole, although Baloga needed a six-foot putt to record the par, and they went to the final tee box with Baloga up by a stroke.
Baloga hit his 90-yard approach shot to within 12 feet, but Wingerd knocked his 30-yard approach closer, stopping his ball just eight feet away. Baloga putted first and birdied the hole to win the tournament.
After shooting a even-par 72 to tie for fifth after the first 18 holes, Baloga carded a 67 in the second round, the lowest round of the day, to take the lead. He strung together 13-straight pars to open Sunday's final round - part of a streak of 22 pars in 26 holes dating back to Saturday's second round.
Wingerd, however, made three birdies in a row to take the lead on the front nine Sunday. He took a three-stroke lead at the turn after Baloga made his first bogey in 27 holes.
Baloga, however, eagled the par-5 10th hole and birdied the 12th. When Wingerd bogeyed the 14th hole, the pair were tied going into the final stretch of holes.
Baloga, who won last year's Maryland State Amateur Player of the Year honors, led the Greyhounds to their fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011 by virtue of winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title for the fourth time in as many years.