LAS VEGAS - Heading into the final game of match play at the 2017 Super Senior Classic, any one of four players could've grabbed the top seed for Sunday's championship round, but it was frontrunner Ron Mohr of North Las Vegas, Nevada, who earned the honor for the second consecutive year.
Mohr outlasted a charging Paul McCordic of Sugar Land, Texas, in the Group B half of the match-play field and claimed the No. 1 seed for the stepladder finals with a 24-game pinfall total of 5,580, which included 30 bonus pins for each of his four wins in match play.
McCordic defeated Mohr in the position round, 236-218, but fell seven pins short of the guaranteed spot in the finals, finishing with a 5,573 total. Now, McCordic must earn a spot in the championship round by winning one of two group stepladders taking place live on BowlTV on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. Eastern.
The main stepladder finals of the 2017 Super Senior Classic will be broadcast live on BowlTV beginning Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern, and the winner will take home a $7,000 top prize.
The other automatic spot in the finals went to United States Bowling Congress and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer John Petraglia of Jackson, New Jersey, who led qualifying through 18 games this weekend at Sam's Town and dominated the Group A standings to earn the No. 2 seed with a 5,534 pinfall total.
The new format at the Super Senior Classic mimics what is used on the Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour, and the simultaneous group stepladders Sunday will determine the final two seeds for the championship round.
The two groups in match play each included six of the 12 remaining bowlers, with the odd-numbered qualifiers competing in Group A and the even-numbered bowlers battling in Group B for six games of round-robin competition.
At the conclusion of match play, the leader in each group automatically advanced to the finals, with seeding based on pinfall, while the second, third and fourth finishers will continue their journeys Sunday.
The opening match of the Group A stepladder will feature No. 3 Dick Baker of nearby Henderson, Nevada, taking on No. 4 William Nichols of Bella Vista, Arkansas. The winner will meet No. 2 Kevin Croucher of Grants Pass, Oregon, for a spot in the main stepladder.
The Group B stepladder will open with defending champion Junichi Yajima of Japan (No.3) taking on No. 4 USBC Hall of Famer Tom Baker of King, North Carolina, and the winner will face McCordic.
Mohr and Petraglia now find themselves in the same positions they were in at the 2016 Super Senior Classic, also held at Sam's Town, though they're both hoping the end result is much different.
As the top seed in 2016, Mohr bowled well against Yajima, but carry was not on his side as he fell to the event's first international champion, 248-218. Petraglia finished third.
Even though his performance in last year's final simply seemed unlucky, Mohr knows there's always more that can be done.
"I bowled well but just couldn't carry last year, but I still know I can be better and make better shots," said Mohr, an eight-time PBA50 Tour champion who hasn't found the winner's circle since 2012. "At this level, it's the small, minor adjustments that can make all the difference. These bowlers are talented, so you have to do everything you can to create an advantage."
Heading into the final, Mohr feels he does have an advantage because his look on the event's 40-foot oil pattern this weekend improved with the more games that were bowled on each pair of lanes.
He also gets the benefit of sleeping in his own bed and enjoying some extra rest while his fellow competitors are battling to join him in the finals.
"I didn't like my look on the fresh, so I'm blessed to be in the third match," said Mohr, who also made the stepladder of the 2016 USBC Senior Masters at Sam's Town. "There will be two matches and practice shots in between, and my shot seems to get better when there's some games and transition. I definitely feel like being the top seed is an advantage, and it's time for me to step up and make the shots when it matters."
The Super Senior Classic, for USBC members age 60 and older, featured a sellout field of 140 competitors, who bowled 12 games of qualifying Friday, before the field was cut to the top 35 for Saturday's cashers' round.
After an additional six games Saturday, the top 12, based on 18-game pinfall totals, advanced to match play.
The Super Senior Classic is the first of two premier senior events heading to Sam's Town this week. The 2017 USBC Senior Masters, open to USBC members 50 and older, will be held June 6-11.
For more information on USBC tournaments, visit BOWL.com/Tournaments.
2017 SUPER SENIOR CLASSIC
At Sam's Town Bowling Center, Las Vegas
MATCH PLAY - GROUP A
1, John Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 5-1-0, 5,534.
2, Kevin Croucher, Grants Pass, Ore., 5-1-0, 5,339.
3, Dick Baker, Henderson, Nev., 3-3-0, 5,325.
4, William Nichols, Bella Vista, Ark., 3-3-0, 5,289.
5, Robert Reed, Weed, Calif., 1-5-0, 5,277 (eliminated; earns $1,850).
6, Tom Carter, Columbus, Ohio, 1-5-0, 4,986 (eliminated; earns $1,650).
MATCH PLAY - GROUP B
1, Ron Mohr, North Las Vegas, Nev., 4-2-0, 5,580.
2, Paul McCordic, Sugar Land, Texas, 6-0-0, 5,573.
3, Junichi Yajima, Japan, 3-3-0, 5,469.
4, Tom Baker, King, N.C., 3-3-0, 5,201.
5, Warren Nelson, Hemet, Calif., 1-5-0, 5,149 (eliminated; earns $1,850).
6, Ted Staikoff, Black Hawk, S.D., 1-5-0, 5,072 (eliminated; earns $1,650).
Group A Stepladder
(Will air on BowlTV on Sunday at 11 a.m. Eastern)
Match No. 1: D. Baker vs. Nichols
Match No. 2: Croucher vs. Match No. 1 winner
Group B Stepladder
(Will air on BowlTV on Sunday at 11 a.m. Eastern)
Match No. 1: Yajima vs. T. Baker
Match No. 2: McCordic vs. Match No. 1 winner
(Will air on BowlTV on Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern)
Match No. 1: Group A Stepladder winner vs. Group B Stepladder winner
Match No. 2: Petraglia vs. Match No. 1 winner
Final: Mohr vs. Match No. 2 winner
CASHERS' ROUND (18-game totals; top 12 advance)
1, John Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 4,077. 2, Junichi Yajima, Japan, 4,030. 3, Dick Baker (a), Henderson, Nev., 4,028. 4(tie), Paul McCordic, Sugar Land, Texas, and Robert Reed, Weed, Calif., 4,007. 6, Ron Mohr, North Las Vegas, Nev., 3,993.
7, William Nichols, Bella Vista, Ark., 3,917. 8, Warren Nelson, Hemet, Calif., 3,904. 9, Tom Carter, Columbus, Ohio, 3,885. 10, Tom Baker, King, N.C., 3,874. 11, Kevin Croucher, Grants Pass, Ore., 3,863. 12, Ted Staikoff, Black Hawk, S.D., 3,857.
DID NOT ADVANCE
13, Mitch Vernon, Olympia, Wash., 3,848, $1,500. 14, Rich Cook, Olympia, Wash., 3,818, $1,450. 15, Gary Morgan, Marietta, Ga., 3,810, $1,400. 16, Darryl Bower, Middletown, Pa., 3,804, $1,350. 17, Mike Matosich, Phoenix, 3,794, $1,300. 18, Steven Davis, Manteca, Calif., 3,788, $1,250.
19, Donald Blatchford, Santa Monica, Calif., 3,784, $1,200. 20, Terry Leong (a), Henderson, Nev., 3,769, $1,150. 21, Russ Davies, Las Vegas, 3,765, $1,100. 22, John Dudak, Orland Park, Ill., 3,760, $1,050. 23, Randy Turner, Shallowater, Texas, 3,749, $1,000. 24, Kerry Painter, Henderson, Nev., 3,737, $950.
25, Gary Burke (a), San Diego, 3,722, $900. 26, John Masiello (a), Kenmore, N.Y., 3,720, $850. 27, Koichiro Tamaki, Japan, 3,713, $800. 28, Norbert Wetzel, Fon Du Lac, Wis., 3,707, $750. 29, Jim Heintz, St. Charles, Mo., 3,703, $700. 30, Jim Gordin, Modesto, Calif., 3,688, $650.
31, Jeff Jamison, Boulder City, Nev., 3,676, $600. 32, Max Shellabarger, Layton, Utah, 3,660, $550. 33, Marc Scherlis, San Diego, 3,653, $500. 34, Steve Kiss (a), Clackamas, Ore., 3,631, $450. 35, Tim Dunbar (a), Largo, Fla., 3,609, $400.