Duke Climbs Ladder to Win PBA50 Dave Small’s Jax 60 Open for Sixth PBA50 Title

by Jerry Schneider, Professional Bowlers Association 0

JACKSON, Mich. -- Hall of Famer Norm Duke won all four stepladder matches while battling through an on-going wrist injury Sunday to win the PBA50 David Small’s JAX 60 Open for his first PBA50 Tour title of the season.

Duke, the No. 4 seed for the finals, defeated top seed Brad Angelo 238-227 in the championship match for his sixth career title on the tour for players 50 and over.

“You pray every shot because you never know when it’s going to be your last,” said the 57-year-old Duke. “It’s also added incentive to throw strikes because that’s less shots you have to make.”

In the opening match Duke def. local favorite No. 5 seed Larry Verble 197-171 but the injury didn’t become readily apparent until the second match when he struggled through the pain to beat No. 3 seed Ryan Shafer 268-171.

“When you bowl as many games as we do every day, all day, you just hope you don’t do irreparable damage,” said Duke, whose forearm was heavily taped for the finals.

It was in the second match against Shafer that Duke had to pull up on the approach during his delivery midway through the match but was able to hang on to the ball as he crossed the foul line to avoid a foul.

“It (the pain) really wasn’t an issue until that shot but I was able to hang in and manage it,” Duke said of the injury.

In the semifinal match Duke beat Eugene McCune 248-235 to advance to the title match. McCune earned the No. 2 seed thanks to an 11-1 record and 237 average in match play earlier Sunday to make a surge from 20th in qualifying to make the finals.

Duke’s sixth career title ties him with Steve Neff, Dick Weber and Parker Bohn III on the all-time list. His last title on the PBA50 Tour came in the 2018 Security Federal Savings Bank Championship.

“You don’t want to go a year without winning whether it’s a tournament or a league,” said the 40-time winner on the PBA Tour. “Winning something is the important thing.”

Trying for a third consecutive PBA50 Tour win this season, Bohn failed to make the finals finishing the tournament in eighth.

Next on the schedule is the PBA60 Dick Weber Classic, for players 60 and over, at JAX 60 Lanes Aug. 17-19.


  1. Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., $7,500
  2. Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., $4,000
  3. Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., $2,500
  4. Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., $2,000
  5. Larry Verble, Mason, Mich., $1,825


Match 1 – No. 4 Norm Duke def. No. 5 Larry Verble, 197-171
Match 2 – Duke def. No. 3 Ryan Shafer, 268-171
Semifinal match – Duke def. No. 2 Eugene McCune, 248-235
Championship match – Duke def. No. 1 Brad Angelo, 238-227


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