Prior to making his PBA50 Tour debut in the Pasco County Florida Open to kick off the 2014 PBA50 season, Hall of Famer Norm Duke was quick to point out that starting another new chapter in his legendary career on the so-called PBA senior tour was something he was going to take very seriously. It wasn’t going to be some kind of leisurely hobby.
He’s lived up to his word.
In 2014 Duke went on to become only the second player to earn PBA50 Player of the Year and PBA50 Rookie of the Year in the same season, winning two titles including the Senior U.S. Open.
The Clermont, Fla., resident will begin his POY title defense when he joins a field of approximately 120 50-and-older players who will compete in the 2015 season-opening PBA50 Pasco County Florida Open at Lane Glo Bowl in New Port Richey, Fla., April 11-14.
The 2015 PBA season marks Duke’s 33rd season in PBA competition. His career dates back to 1983 when, at age 18, he won the Cleveland Open to become the youngest player ever to win a PBA Tour title. Since then he has amassed a PBA career that puts him among the PBA’s elite.
“You know how it is when you’re young you think you’re going to take the world by the horns,” Duke said of his early days on Tour. “But I quickly learned that as good as I thought I was, I had a lot to learn, not only about bowling, but life in general.
“I learned some lessons along the way and am pretty proud about the body of work I’ve been able to put together on the PBA Tour. I hope I can continue to build it on the PBA50 Tour.”
The latest milestone for the 51-year-old was teaming with Wes Malott to win the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship in February to move into third place on the all-time PBA Tour titles list with 38 titles, trailing only all-time leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. with 47 wins and Earl Anthony with 43.
“Obviously, myself and some of the other guys who have been around a long time can’t compete with the players of today using the power game, so we have become what I like to call ‘craft players,’” Duke said. “Through all the years you develop your ability so much that it becomes a craft where you take your experiences and techniques and draw on them to stay competitive, rather than just being able to rely on one particular dimension of your game. It’s something that has just naturally prepared me well for the PBA50 Tour.”
Once again Duke will be among a field of PBA legends competing in New Port Richey who compete full time on both the PBA Tour and PBA50 Tour. They include fellow Hall of Famers Walter Ray Williams Jr., Pete Weber, Parker Bohn III and Pasco County Open defending champion Amleto Monacelli.
“I’ll say one thing, on both Tours there’s no “just getting by days,” Duke said. “You need to be strong day in and day out if you want to be successful.
“When I was young I never saw myself competing on the PBA50 Tour but now I’m embracing it,” he added. “I’ve accepted that this is another stage in my career and I need to build on that.”
The Pasco County Open begins on Sunday, April 12 with qualifying rounds at 10 a.m. Qualifying continues on April 13. Match play rounds will take place on April 14 with the stepladder finals getting underway at approximately 7 p.m. Practice and pro-ams will be conducted on Saturday, April 11.
The Pasco County Open will be covered start-to-finish on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame. Fans can follow PBA action through the entire PBA Network which includes wall-to-wall coverage of an expanded schedule of live events on Xtra Frame, player interactions through Facebook and Twitter, mobile gaming, original programming, archived events and immediate news updates 24/7 on varying communications devices anywhere in the world. For additional PBA Network information visit http://www.pba.com/PBANetwork
For Pasco County admission and pro-am entry information contact Lane Glo Bowl at (727) 376-1164.
PBA50 PASCO COUNTY FLORIDA OPEN SCHEDULE
Lane Glo Bowl, New Port Richey, Fla. (All times Eastern)
Saturday, April 11
A & B Squad practice session: 9 a.m. – Noon
Pro-Am Squads 1, 3, 5 p.m.
Sunday, April 12
10 a.m. - A squad qualifying
4 p.m. - B squad qualifying
Monday, April 13
10 a.m. – B squad qualifying
4 p.m. – A squad qualifying
All cashers advance (including super senior cashers)
Tuesday, April 14
9 a.m. - Players in cash positions below 24th place (including super senior cashers) bowl five qualifying games. Top eight advance to match play.
Modified Match Play Round One
12:30 p.m. - Top eight from the cashers round and qualifiers 9-24 bowl five match play games. Top eight advance.
Modified Match Play Round Two
4 p.m. - Top eight from match play round one and qualifiers 1-8 bowl six match play games. Top five advance to stepladder finals which start immediately after match play round 2.