TO LISTEN TO NORM DUKE'S APPEARANCE ON THE BOWLERS JOURNAL PODCAST FOLLOWING HIS INDIANAPOLIS OPEN WIN, GO HERE: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/podcast-norm-duke-reflects-on-pba-indianapolis-open-win-and-much-more/
JONESBORO, Ark. (March 1, 2019) – PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke needs to win one more match Sunday to become the third player in Professional Bowlers Association history to win 40 career titles after earning the top berth in the PBA Jonesboro Open stepladder finals at Hijinx Family Entertainment Friday.
Sunday’s finals will air live on FS1 at 5 p.m. Eastern. Also qualifying for the finals are EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Ind., in second place with a 30-game total of 6,803 pins – 43 behind Duke; Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas, 6,794 pins; Kris Prather of Plainfield, Ill., 6,715, and Japan’s premier player, Shota Kawazoe, 6,709.
Duke, Tackett and Simonsen are trying for their second title of the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season. Prather and Kawazoe are each looking for his first PBA Tour title.
“That was a long, long day,” Duke said of the two eight-game rounds of head-to-head match play on a challenging mixed lane condition environment. “As soon as you thought you could put some distance between guys, up jumped the devil. It was so hard. The left lane was so slippery; on the right lane the ball would check up and you’d leave some ugly spares. You couldn’t remember what lane you were on, what target you were throwing at, where you wanted to start…
“It would wear you to death. If you don’t believe it, just look at all the carnage out there.
“I know I’m in the lead, but I feel like I choked it. I didn’t feel like I bowled well,” Duke continued. “But then I said, Norm, the lanes are just hard. Deal with it.”
Duke, who turns 55 in less than a month, said he has never given up on winning another PBA Tour title, but he also never thought about getting to 40 titles, a milestone only Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Earl Anthony have exceeded with 47 and 43 titles, respectively. Even after winning his 39th title last Sunday in the Go Bowling! PBA Indianapolis Open, winning 40 wasn’t a target.
Sunday, he’ll await the survivor of three preliminary matches to bowl one game for another slice of bowling history.
“One more game to win,” he said. “It’s a tough ordeal, but would I rather be in the lead or not? I get to bowl more one game for the title. As cool as the idea of 40 titles is, you forget about all of it. You don’t think about accomplishments. It’s just win one more game.”
All rounds of the Jonesboro Open, a Tier 3 event in the 2019 PBA Playoffs points competition, were contested on a mixed lane conditioning environment where the 45-foot Shark oiling pattern was applied to the left lane and the 36-foot Viper pattern to the right lane.
Next up on the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule is the 10th anniversary PBA World Series of Bowling at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., March 11-21. The PBA’s next televised event is the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals, presented by the PBA, on FS1 Sunday, March 10, at 10 p.m. EST.
PBA JONESBORO OPEN
Hijinx Family Entertainment Center, Jonesboro, Ark., Friday
Final Match Play Standings (after 30 games, including match play bonus pins. Top five advance to the live FS1 finals Sunday at 5 p.m. EST)
1, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 9-7, 6,846.
2, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 10-6, 6,803.
3, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, 10-6, 6,794.
4, Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 7-9, 6,715.
5, Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 11-5, 6,709.
Other Cashers (after 30 games):
6, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 11-5, 6,707, $5,000.
7, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 7-8-1, 6,635, $4,500.
8, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 10-6, 6,611, $4,000.
9, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 9-7, 6,513, $3,500.
10, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 6-10, 6,511, $3,200.
11, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 9-7, 6,506, $3,000.
12, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 7-9, 6,421, $2,900.
13, Richie Teece, England, 7-9, 6,368, $2,800.
14, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo., 6-10, 6,307, $2,700.
15, Nicholas Pate, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., 3-11-2, 6,257, $2,600.
16, Mike Coffey, Melbourne, Fla., 4-11-1, 6,172, $2,500.
300 Game: Kris Prather.