LAS VEGAS – As the top seed for the finals at the 2017 Super Senior Classic, Ron Mohr of North Las Vegas, Nevada, found himself one win away from redemption and his first national victory in nearly five years, and he refused to be denied either Sunday at the Sam’s Town Bowling Center.
In a rematch of the 2016 title tilt in the same venue, Mohr was able to best defending champion Junichi Yajima of Japan, 230-188, to record the win and claim the $7,000 top prize.
Yajima, who was looking to become the first player to successfully defend a title at the Super Senior Classic, earned $5,500 for the second-place finish. Yajima defeated Mohr in the 2016 final, 248-218.
Mohr earned the top seed for the stepladder finals for the second consecutive year and started the title match with three consecutive strikes, before leaving a washout in the fourth frame, which he was unable to convert. Yajima returned the open in the fourth frame with a 7-10 split, giving Mohr a 16-pin advantage halfway through the game.
Yajima opened for a second time in the eighth frame, allowing Mohr to mark in the ninth and 10th frames to lock up the title. Mohr, a 61-year-old right-hander, sealed the win with strikes on both attempts.
“I liked the right lane, since it hooked a little more, so I knew I could go away with it a little bit and be OK,” said Mohr, an eight-time Professional Bowlers Association 50 Tour champion. “I threw it well in the ninth, but stepping up in the 10th on the left lane, I had the fourth frame in the back of my mind. I told myself I just needed to stay slow and let the ball read and get there. I didn’t need to make it get there. When the ball picked up in the midlane and turned over, I knew it was going to be a good shot. To get the ball off my hand that well, especially in that situation, is as good as it gets.”
The win ended a recent run of 12 championship-round appearances without a victory for Mohr, who collected his last PBA50 Tour title in 2012.
“After winning eight titles in a little over four years, I thought I could start getting pretty used to this,” Mohr said. “When you go winless for a couple of years, you start to wonder if you’re ever going to experience the winner’s circle again. The talent keeps getting better and better, and I’m not getting any younger, so you never know if it’s the last time. I don’t know if I’ve ever teared up for a victory before, but I started to today. It’s pretty special, especially with my wife here and in front of my hometown fans.”
The semifinal match Sunday also featured a rematch from the 2016 event as Yajima met United States Bowling Congress and PBA Hall of Famer John Petraglia of Jackson, New Jersey. Yajima again prevailed, this time by a score of 256-235.
Petraglia, down by a pin to start the 10th frame, left a 5-10 split on his first offering, which he was able to convert, but Yajima sealed the win with a strike on his first delivery.
In the opening match of the stepladder, Yajima started with six consecutive strikes on his way to a 241-192 victory against Kevin Croucher of Grants Pass, Oregon.
Croucher and Yajima earned their spots in the finals after winning their respective group stepladders Sunday morning.
Croucher made his way out of the Group A stepladder by defeating Bill Nichols of Bella Vista, Arkansas, 246-202. Nichols won the opening match against Dick Baker of Henderson, Nevada, 234-183.
Yajima won the Group B stepladder by besting Paul McCordic of Sugar Land, Texas, 225-183. Yajima defeated USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker of King, North Carolina, in the opening match, 200-158.
The 2017 Super Senior Classic featured a sold-out field of 140 competitors, and the field was cut to the top 35 players after 12 games of qualifying. The field was reduced from 35 to 12 after six additional games for round-robin match play.
Match play featured two groups simultaneously bowling an additional six games, including a position round. The top seeds from each group automatically were seeded into the stepladder finals, with total pinfall, including bonus pins, determining the top seed.
The second, third and fourth qualifiers in each group were placed into a group stepladder to determine the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds for the main championship round.
Sam’s Town now will host the 2017 USBC Senior Masters, with competition beginning Tuesday with the opening round of qualifying. BowlTV will provide wire-to-wire coverage of the event.
For more information on the Super Senior Classic, visit BOWL.com/SuperSenior.
2017 SUPER SENIOR CLASSIC
At Sam’s Town Bowling Center, Las Vegas
1, Ron Mohr, North Las Vegas, Nev., 230 (one game), $7,000
2, Junichi Yajima, Japan, 685 (three games), $5,500
3, John Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 235 (one game), $4,000
4, Kevin Croucher, Grants Pass, Ore., 192 (one game), $3,000
Match No. 1: Yajima def. Croucher, 241-192
Semifinal: Yajima def. Petraglia, 256-235
Final: Mohr def. Yajima, 230-188
Group A Stepladder
Semifinal: Bill Nichols, Bella Vista, Ark., def. Dick Baker, Henderson, Nev., 234-183 (D. Baker finishes tied for seventh, earns $2,050).
Final: Kevin Croucher, Grants Pass, Ore., def. Nichols, 246-202 (Nichols finishes tied for fifth, earns $2,400).
Group B Stepladder
Semifinal: Junichi Yajima, Japan, def. Tom Baker, King, N.C., 200-158 (T. Baker finishes tied for seventh, earns $2,050).
Final: Yajima def. Paul McCordic, Sugar Land, Texas, 225-183 (McCordic finishes tied for fifth, earns $2,400).