It isn’t often that an aspiring youth bowler has a chance to bowl one of the world’s greatest bowlers and then beats him in a match. But that’s exactly what 14-year-old Matt Brauckman of Carroll, Iowa did.
Brauckman, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had the opportunity to bowl Walter Ray Williams Jr. at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, the site of the 50th Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions, as a result of a Make-A-Wish Foundation grant. After some practice and a few tips from Williams, Brauckman beat the PBA’s all-time titles leader (47) in a one-game match, 213-206.
“He’s the best ever in my opinion,” said Brauckman, who carries a 176 average. “I’ve always admired his game and how he throws the ball. Just to be able to bowl with him was great, but to beat him was something I didn’t expect.”
Prior to the match, Brauckman had a brand new Brunswick ball drilled with some help from Williams and then it was off to the lanes to try it out.
“When he said he was a 176 average, I didn’t believe it,” Williams said. “He’s got everything you want at his age – great fundamentals, ball control, timing. Like all of us, he probably needs to make sure not to forget to work on the spares, but I was pretty surprised at how well he threw the ball.”
The spare advice was well-taken as Matt missed a 10 pin in the 10th frame, even though he still won the match.
Brauckman bowls in a youth league and is an avid tournament bowler in Iowa. Last year he finished ninth in his division in the Iowa State Youth BA singles. Brauckman was accompanied to Indianapolis by his mother Karen, father Douglas and teammate Tyler Mohr.
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