ISN – (Aug 1, 2014 – Calgary, AB) – Rockville, Maryland’s Daniel Balin and
Peterborough, Ontario’s Ted Brown shared the lead at 8-under par when play was
suspended due to dangerous weather on Thursday at the ATB Financial Classic.
Balin shot 64 to take the clubhouse lead, while Brown was 8-under through 15
The pair was one stroke ahead of defending champion Joe Panzeri of Meridian, Idaho
and Linus Gillgren of Sweden, who shot a pair of 65s earlier in the day.
“I hit it pretty solid all day. I got a couple of good breaks to start off my round
and didn’t really hit it off line, so I was able to take advantage of a few of the
opportunities I had and just played solid,” said Balin, who recently became a PGA
TOUR Canada member thanks to some timely play earlier in the season.
A teaching pro out of Burning Tree Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, Balin has
played in the last four PGA Championships thanks to solid performances in the
Professional National Championship, and recently earned conditional status as one of
the top three non-members on the Order of Merit through the Staal Foundation Open
presented by Tbaytel. He open qualified into the field at the SIGA Dakota Dunes Open
presented by SaskTel, where he finished in the top 20 to gain entry into the
following week’s The Players Cup, where he finished T13. His earnings were enough to
put him 52nd on the Order of Merit six events, second among non-members.
“I just needed to go out and play,” said Balin, who also plays on NEC Series – PGA
TOUR Latinoamérica, where he has two top-10 finishes. “I finished top 20 in
Saskatoon as well as the next week and found out there were three spots for
non-members. I’m excited that I can come out here and hopefully play the rest of the
With his number of starts on PGA TOUR Canada and in South America making him
ineligible to play the PGA Championship again this year, Balin has changed his focus
towards a goal of making it to the PGA TOUR as a full-time TOUR player.
“It’s a bit of a downer with that being always something to look forward to, but at
the end of the day, trying to play full time, it’s something that I had to give up,”
said Balin. “I experienced it four years in a row playing in a major, and I figured
the next time I play will hopefully be as a player and not as a teaching pro or club
Brown, who has been named Freedom 55 Financial Canadian Player of the Week twice in
his first season on PGA TOUR Canada, continued what has been a strong season with a
good start on Thursday to sit one shot ahead of Gillgren and Panzeri, who is looking
to defend his title in Calgary.
DAHMEN TRYING TO BUILD OFF PGA TOUR EXPERIENCE
With his first PGA TOUR start under his belt last week at the RBC Canadian Open,
Order of Merit leader Joel Dahmen says he’s more motivated than ever to continue
his strong season and work towards status on the Web.com Tour next season. After
a strong start at Royal Montreal, where he sat tied for fifth after an opening
round 66, the 26-year old said he was encouraged about his prospects of making it
to the PGA TOUR.
“I said ‘Hey, I didn’t play great and didn’t have my A-game, and I’m right here.’
Obviously to do it for four rounds is going to be the next step, but I knew then
that I could play out there. I probably got a little bit ahead of myself, but I felt
like I belonged out there,” said Dahmen, who finished T53 and was the top PGA TOUR
Canada player in the event.
Dahmen opened with a 7-under 65 on Thursday, adding another solid round to what has
been a brilliant season, with two wins in his first three events to take a grip of
the top spot on the Order of Merit. The Clarkston, Washington native said he has a
renewed focus on finishing out the final six events of the season on a high note.
“If I finish off this year strong, then [a chance to play on the PGA TOUR] is only a
year away,” said Dahmen. “Right now it’s two years away. I’m definitely more
motivated to get out there now than I ever was before.”
FLEMING FEELING GOOD AT HOMETOWN EVENT
As a PGA TOUR Canada rookie, Alberta’s own Riley Fleming admitted he’s taken some
time to get used to the life of a travelling TOUR pro. This week, however, poses
no such challenges, with the 21-year old able to stay at the home he grew up in
in nearby Airdie, just on the other side of Calgary.
“This is awesome,” said Fleming. “I woke up and my mom made me breakfast this
morning. I get to sleep in my own bed. Having no suitcase this week feels awesome,
so I love being able to play in this area.”
The rookie, whose best finish this year is a tie for 7th at the SIGA Dakota Dunes
Open presented by SaskTel, opened with a 2-under 70 on Thursday to sit tied for
41st, and is looking to do some more damage this weekend
“I hit the ball well today but left a few putts out there,” said Fleming. “I’ve got
friends coming out and watching and showing a lot of support, so it should be fun.”