Joe Scarborough of Charlotte, N.C., rolled three consecutive 300 games to start the first round of qualifying in the PBA50 Sun Bowl at The Villages (Fla.) presented by Hammer at Spanish Springs Lanes Sunday, recording the first 900 series in PBA history.
Scarborough, who turned 50 last October, was bowling in only his second PBA50 Tour event. He qualified 38th in the re-named PBA Senior Tour’s season-opener in New Port Richey, Fla., last week, but lost his first best-of-three single-elimination match.
The self-employed electrical contractor threw another strike to start his fourth game, but his streak ended at 37 when he left a split on his 38th shot. Three straight sub-200 games then toppled him out of the lead and into a tie for 12th place.
Things did not get better on Monday, as Scarborough struggled to a 1652 eight-game total, and missed the cut to the top 32 players, finishing in a tie for 49th place.
For his 13 games after the 900, Scarborough averaged just 205. In comparison, the two-day leader, Kevin Croucher of Grants Pass, Ore., was rolling at a 251 clip on the forgiving Cheetah pattern.
When all was said and done, a familiar face was in the winner’s circle: that of Walter Ray Williams Jr.
In a stepladder final round featuring three of the PBA’s all-time greats, Williams captured his fifth career PBA50 Tour title. The reigning Senior Player of the Year defeated fellow Hall of Famer and 2012 Senior Rookie of the Year Amleto Monacelli, 276-216, in the championship match.
Williams found it necessary to implement the unusual technique of using a different ball on each lane of the championship pair in the title match to get the desired ball reaction on each lane.
“It’s not something I normally do, but I practiced with a few balls and was able to determine that if I needed to make a change like that, I had the equipment I could do it with,” Williams said. “It turned out that I made the right decisions at the right time, and Amleto had a couple bad breaks and I was fortunate to get the win.
“Anytime you can beat Amleto, it’s an accomplishment,” added Williams, who owns 47 PBA Tour titles, which tops the all-time list.
Williams advanced to the title match by defeating Bo Goergen, 258-191, in the semifinal. Goergen, who was trying for his first PBA50 Tour win, made a dramatic jump from seventh place in the position round to make the final stepladder spot.
In the opening match, Goergen defeated Hall of Famer Pete Weber, 259-256.
BJI correspondent Gianmarc Manzione was on site for the first two PBA50 Tour events of 2013, and will have a full report in the June issue of the magazine.