LAS VEGAS - Google might be working overtime this weekend with bowling fans trying to learn more about Ty Dawson of Sunnyvale, California, who outlasted nearly 200 of the top United States Bowling Congress members age 60 and older at the 2019 Super Senior Classic.
The 66-year-old right-hander and first-time participant at the Super Senior Classic was the top seed for the star-studded stepladder Sunday at the Sam's Town Bowling Center and wasted no time showing his desire for the coveted title and $8,500 top prize, striking on the first five shots of his 227-214 win over Hugh Miller of Mercer Island, Washington.
Though Dawson faltered briefly, missing the 3-6-10 in the sixth frame of the title tilt, he rallied back with three more strikes to pull away from Miller for good. Miller, a seven-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion and the lone left-hander in the championship round, collected $7,000 for the runner-up finish.
"I can't believe it, but I can, because I threw the ball really well," Dawson said. "I worked hard to get this far, and I'm excited about this. The adrenaline and emotions were really high. I shed a few tears. I had a bunch of my friends come up and congratulate me afterwards, so it feels really good knowing your peers appreciate all of the hard work."
Dawson became the seventh different player since the inaugural event in 2013 to hoist the trophy at the Super Senior Classic, and one of his keys to success this week at Sam's Town simply was to focus only on the things he could control.
Early in the championship match, when Miller missed a 6 pin and 4-10 split in back-to-back frames, Dawson wasn't watching his opponent or the scores and had no idea he'd opened up such a significant lead. He said his own miscue in the sixth frame was the adrenaline getting the best of him, something he was able to move past with a quick mental reset.
"I kept my mind still and didn't really focus on anything," Dawson said. "I wanted to clear my mind and focus on what I wanted to do. I didn't even watch to see how Hugh was bowling, so I had no idea if I was winning or not. I waited to the end of the match to look up and see the scoreboard. I was focused on my game, since I had no control over what he was doing."
Miller earned his spot in the championship match with an exciting 284-226 win against Pete McCordic of Katy, Texas. Miller started the semifinal with 10 consecutive strikes, before a 4-6-7-10 split ended his run at perfection.
In the opening match of the Super Senior Classic stepladder, McCordic eased past Darryl Bower of Middletown, Pennsylvania, 247-157.
McCordic and Bower were the survivors of the unique and simultaneous group stepladders that kicked off Sunday's action at Sam's Town.
In the Group A stepladder, Bower defeated 2017 Super Senior Classic champion Ron Mohr of Las Vegas, 222-204, after Mohr missed two 10 pins and could not recover. Bower defeated Chris Keane of Cape Coral, Florida, in the opening match, 234-210.
In the Group B stepladder, McCordic caught a couple of breaks - a rolled 2 pin and a broken-up 4-9 split - to outlast USBC Hall of Famer Tom Baker of King, North Carolina, 228-220. Baker, a two-time winner at the USBC Senior Masters, topped Japan's Takeo Sakai in the first match, 246-222.
Dawson and Miller earned automatic spots in the main stepladder based on their performances over two days of qualifying, a cashers' round and six games of round-robin match play, all of which began Thursday.
The 198 competitors this week at Sam's Town rolled 12 games of qualifying over two days, before the field was cut to the top 50 for the six-game Cashers' Round.
The top 12 bowlers, based on their 18-game pinfall totals, advanced to round-robin match play, where they were split into two six-player groups - Group A and Group B - with all odd-numbered qualifiers going to Group A and all evens going to Group B.
At the conclusion of match play, the leader from each group automatically advanced to the final stepladder, earning the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds based on total pinfall for 24 games, including 30 bonus pins for each win in match play.
Dawson, the Group B leader, edged Miller, who topped Group A, by 32 pins for the top seed, while the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 finishers in each group advanced to Sunday's group stepladders.
Before finding the spotlight at the Super Senior Classic, Dawson already knew he could compete against the best around, something he proved in 2016, when he finished third at the PBA50 Northern California Classic presented by MOTIV, an event he skipped last week to keep his focus on the Super Senior Classic.
The four-time PBA50 regional champion enjoys his day job at Cisco Systems in San Jose, California, and prefers to pick and choose the events in which he competes. Even after Sunday's success in Las Vegas, that will not change, and he'll sit out the upcoming USBC Senior Masters, also at Sam's Town, and the PBA Senior U.S. Open at the nearby Suncoast Bowling Center.
"I just didn't like the way I was throwing the ball, so I skipped Brentwood and focused on bowling here," Dawson said. "I worked on some things and got to where I was feeling better, and I didn't want to ruin that by bowling Brentwood. It worked out to my advantage."
Many of the Super Senior Classic competitors now will turn their attention to the 2019 Senior Masters, the premier event for USBC members age 50 and older, which gets underway Monday with official practice.
All rounds of Senior Masters competition will be broadcast live at BowlTV.com, concluding June 9 at 1 p.m. Eastern.
For complete results from the Super Senior Classic or for more information on the Senior Masters, visit BOWL.com.
2019 SUPER SENIOR CLASSIC
At Sam's Town Bowling Center, Las Vegas
1, Ty Dawson, Sunnyvale, Calif., 227 (one game), $8,500
2, Hugh Miller, Mercer Island, Wash., 498 (two games), $7,000
3, Pete McCordic, Katy, Texas, 473 (two games), $5,500
4, Darryl Bower, Middletown, Pa., 157 (one game), $4,000
Match No. 1: McCordic def. Bower, 247-157
Semifinal: Miller def. McCordic, 284-226
Final: Dawson def. Miller, 227-214
Group A Stepladder
Semifinal: Darryl Bower, Middletown, Pa., def. Chris Keane, Cape Coral, Fla., 234-210 (Keane finishes tied for seventh, earns $2,600).
Final: Bower def. Ron Mohr, Las Vegas, 222-204 (Mohr finishes tied for fifth, earns $3,200).
Group B Stepladder
Semifinal: Tom Baker, King, N.C., def. Takeo Sakai, Japan, 246-222 (Sakai finishes tied for seventh, earns $2,600).
Final: Pete McCordic, Katy, Texas, def. Baker, 228-220 (Baker finishes tied for fifth, earns $3,200).