Paladino outlasts Ballo in Conn. Amateur

Cody Paladino during his win in the 2013 Connecticut Amateur.

Cody Paladino, a 24-year-old graduate of Baylor, took home the Connecticut Amateur trophy by defeating 21-year-old Peter Ballo of Woodway Country Club 3 & 1 at New Haven Country Club, in Hamden, Conn.

Paladino is on a roll in 2013, adding the State Am title to his already impressive resume – which includes winning the Russell C. Palmer Cup. “After winning the Palmer Cup earlier this year, I knew that was validation that I could perform in competition,” said Paladino. “This win proves that I can play well over an entire week, even when the going gets tough.”

Paladino was 1 down to Ballo through six holes in their morning match before winning Nos. 7, 8, 12 and 14 to take a 3-up lead. Ballo, a long hitter, had a chance to close the lead to 2-up after reaching the 568 yard, par-5, 18th hole in two but wound up halving the hole after missing his birdie attempt.

“Being down to Cody in the morning, I knew that I had to come out and play really well in the afternoon to have a chance,” Ballo said. “I made a great birdie on the second hole, which was a huge boost for me, and I was able to battle back.”

After a couple of crucial mistakes by Paladino on the front nine during the afternoon round, Ballo was able to get the match to all-square on the 27th hole of the 36-hole match.

“Being 3 up at the break, I felt great but I knew that Peter would come out swinging in the afternoon,” Paladino said. “After the eighth hole when he pulled all square, I had to have a serious talk with my caddie and collect my thoughts.”

Paladino hit a 7-iron to 4 feet on the 173-yard, par-3, 9th hole taking a 1-up lead heading into the final nine- a lead he would never relinquish.

Despite the loss, Ballo said that earning first appearance in the finals was a tremendous accomplishment.

“It feels great,” said Ballo. “This is the furthest I’ve ever gone in the Amateur and it was definitely a good learning experience for me.”

Paladino becomes only the second player in CSGA history to capture both the Palmer Cup and the Connecticut Amateur – and the first to win both in the same year.

Connecticut is the first state to use a live hole-by-hole tracking system for the final 36-hole match. The Live Round Tracker was able to show each player’s position on the course as well as such stats as driving distance, club selection, fairways hit and greens in regulation.

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