Pete Weber became the most successful bowler in U.S Open history Sunday, winning the most challenging major title in bowling for a record fifth time with a strike on his final ball in the 10th frame to nip top qualifier Mike Fagan, 215-214.
Weber, who came into the stepladder finals as the No. 4 qualifier, threw clutch shots in three matches to win, but none was more critical than the strike on his final ball in the title match. Needing at least a nine-count, spare and strike to win, Weber threw a what looked like a perfect shot on his first ball, but left a 10-pin. After converting the spare, he threw a seemingly identical shot that carried for a strike.
In winning the title, Weber broke a tie with his late father, PBA legend Dick Weber, and his father’s close friend and teammate, the late Don Carter, each of whom won the forerunner to the U.S. Open – the BPAA All Star – four times.
“Dad, I know you were watching,” Weber said as he looked up toward heaven after the win. “I know you’re proud, and I’m sorry I broke your record.”
BJI’s Jim Dressel was on hand for the history-making tournament, and will file a special feature story for the April edition of the magazine. Meanwhile, here’s a day-by-day recap of the 2012 Open…
Dan MacLelland, whose victory earlier this month in the International Mini in Las Vegas will be chronicled in the March issue of BJI, takes the first-round lead with a six-game total of 1429.
Three other bowlers top the 1400 plateau: Brian Kretzer with 1423, newly elected PBA Hall of Famer Jason Couch with 1410, and Mike Fagan — who will appear on the cover of the March issue as the 2012 USBC Masters champion — with 1403.
Pete Weber gets off to an inauspicious start, struggling to a 1200 total that leaves him 83rd among the starting field of 394.
Ryan Shafer, who has appeared on 13 championship round telecasts in major tournaments without winning a title, takes over first place with a 12-game total of 2702.
Couch moves up a spot to second, Fagan and Kretzer finish the day tied for third, while MacLelland drops to sixth. Weber has a better day, shooting 1259 and climbing to a tie for 42nd place.
Shafer continues to lead after 18 games, followed by P.J. Sonday, Fagan, Ron Nelson and John Janawicz.
The field is cut to the top 98, and 14-year-old Kamron Doyle is among those advancing (in 54th place), thus assuring himself of becoming the youngest casher in U.S. Open history. Doyle will be featured in the “Chat Room” department in the April issue of BJI.
Weber continues his “upward mobility,” finishing the day in 22nd place. The 18-game cut score is 66 “under” — 3534.
The 98 survivors bowl an 8-game morning block, and Shafer opens up a 170-pin lead over second place, a position now filled by Fagan. Bill O’Neill moves up to third place, while Nelson, Sonday and Janawicz remain in the top six.
Weber makes another move, climbing to 10th place to begin match play. The match play cut score — in 24th place — is 5376. Doyle finishes 61st, a position that pays $1,340.
Later, Shafer goes 4-4 for the first eight games of match play, and sees his lead over second place cut to 85. Fagan remains in second, now followed by Jason Belmonte, Chris Barnes, O’Neill and Osku Palermaa. Weber goes 3-5 and drops to 13th.
Two more 8-game match play rounds are on tap, and after the first, Belmonte takes over the lead. He’s followed by Fagan, Shafer, Barnes, Rhino Page and Weber.
During the evening block, all eyes are on fourth place, as that’s how many players will advance to the ESPN-televised stepladder finals.
Fagan and Belmonte end up switching places, meaning Fagan is the top seed and just one match away from winning back-to-back majors. Shafer maintains his hold on third place, which means he has qualified for his 14th major telecast.
And landing the fourth and final spot, thanks to a 208-164 position-round win over Shafer, is PDW.
Weber and Shafer meet again to kick off the ESPN telecast, and Weber wins again, 223-191.
In the second match, Weber eliminates Belmonte, 225-213.
And in one of the most exciting championship matches ever — with the $60,000 first prize on the line — Weber downs Fagan, 215-214.
“This is my greatest title ever,” Weber proclaims… and you can read all about it in the April edition of BJI.
Meanwhile, you can view Weber’s winning shot here (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&q=bowling&oq=bowling&aq=f&aqi=d1g3g-m1d-o1&aql=&gs_sm=12&gs_upl=2471l3230l0l5413l7l5l0l0l0l0l1401l1951l0.4.7-1l5l0).