After a heartbreaking loss in the 10th frame of the championship match of the season-opening PBA50 Pasco County Florida Open, PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke got some redemption by sealing the deal in the 10th frame of the PBA50 Race City Open Presented by Columbia 300 Wednesday to notch his fourth career PBA50 Tour title.
Thanks to a clutch strike on the first ball of the 10th, Duke defeated top qualifier Kenny Parks, 221-213, in the title match at George Pappas’ Victory Lanes in Mooresville, N.C.
“I tell you, nothing’s a given,” Duke said. “You just can’t take anything for granted. It seems like the lanes are changing every frame and it’s all you can do to get to the pocket. It’s a lot of guesswork and fortunately I guessed right this time.”
Taking the lead into the 10th frame of the Pasco County Open two weeks ago, Duke left the 2-4-8-10 split, which handed the win over to Brian LeClair for his second PBA50 Tour title.
“There’s one philosophy that says, put those situations behind you and move on, but for me, I stew over it,” said Duke, who ranks third on the all-time PBA Tour titles list with 38 wins. “That was a learning experience and I want to learn from it. I don’t want to get into a second-place cycle.”
Duke was able to overcome two splits in the Race City Open title match that he failed to convert, but was able to come back with strikes at the end of the match when he needed them.
“I’ll be honest, this victory was probably more ball than it was me,” said Duke, who qualified third for the stepladder finals. “I needed every advantage I could get.”
Parks, the 2008 USBC Senior Masters winner, was trying for his second career PBA50 Tour title.
In the second stepladder match, Duke beat last week’s UnitedHealthcare Sun Bowl In The Villages winner, Lennie Boresch Jr., 216-187, and then went on to beat Sammy Ventura in the semi-final, 210-202, to advance to the title match.
In the opening match, Boresch defeated five-time PBA Tour winner Michael Haugen Jr., 223-216. Haugen’s fifth-place finish was his second top-five of the season after finishing third in the Pasco County Open.
Two-time PBA Tour winner Jeff Bellinger earned a check the hard way when he showed up late for his second round qualifying squad on Tuesday. Commuting from his home in Columbia, S.C., the 63-year-old Bellinger got caught in a traffic jam caused by road construction in the Charlotte area.
Giving the field what amounted to an eight-frame head start, he began competition in the 9th frame and bowled a 40 in his first game. He followed it up with games of 225, 248, 246, 257, 197, 211 and 225, which was good enough to finish 44th in qualifying and advance to Wednesday’s cashers round. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get anything going in the cashers round and finished the tournament in 51st, winning $1,000.
The PBA50 Tour travels to Farmingdale Lanes in Farmingdale, N.Y., May 6-9 for the Johnny Petraglia BVL Open Presented by Brunswick. Fans can catch all the action on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. Visit www.xtraframe.tv for subscription and schedule information.