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Balderston triumphs at John Daillio Invite

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Tommy Balderston is ready to reclaim his spot in the Irish lineup.

Balderston, who had been struggling in recent weeks, brought his best game to the John Dallio Memorial Invitation. Balderston won the event by two strokes Tuesday, after three strong rounds over the course of two days.

The junior had an impressive second round, in which he shot a five-under-par 67, the fourth lowest round in school history.

Partnered with his first and 3rd round scores of 72 and 74, respectively, Balderston’s score of 213 ties a career best that he set at the 2002 SMU/Stonebridge Invitational.

After his first tournament this season, Balderston believes his troubles may be coming to an end.

“I’ve been kind of struggling the first couple weeks back, but my game’s slowly been coming back,” he said. “I’m happy with the way I played, happy to have my game back and be a presence on the team.”

Balderston also felt that it was up to him to make it back to this point.

“I’ve been practicing pretty hard, [this victory] is kind of like payoff for all the hard work,” Balderston said.

Southern Illinois won the invitational as the Irish sent five players to the event, but did not enter as a team. This was due to NCAA regulations of each team only being allowed 24 days of competition during the course of the season. Therefore the Irish could send players who need more experience at the varsity level. The challenge for Balderston proved to be a success.

Following Balderston in the standings were sophomore Adam Gifford and freshman Eddie Peckels. This was the first NCAA event for Peckels. The pair tied for 17th in the field by shooting three-round total scores of 222 each.

Junior Daniel Klauer finished in 37th place with a total of 230. Junior Federico Salazar, who was also competing in his first event as a collegian, placed 52nd by finishing with an 18-over-par total of 234.

After the way he performed at the John Dallio Memorial, Balderston feels ready to become a contributing member to the varsity team once again and hopes to join the team next week.

“It’s where I should be, I feel like I can have a huge impact on the team,” he said. “Being on the varsity team is where I play the hardest and my best.”

The Irish will be back in action on Monday, when the team competes in the Windon Memorial Classic. The two-day event will be hosted by Northwestern University in Lake Forrest, Ill.