In a stellar stepladder final that included five Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famers, Storm's Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., emerged as the winner of the PBA50 UnitedHealthcare Sun Bowl In The Villages presented by Radical Tuesday capturing his first career PBA50 Tour title.
Bowling in his second PBA50 Tour tournament, after finishing second in last week’s season-opening Pasco County (Fla.) Open, Duke defeated four-time PBA50 Player of the Year and Roto Grip star Tom Baker of King, N.C., 256-228, in the title match at Spanish Springs Lanes.
“I tell you, there were more titles in that final than I can even think about so it makes winning that much more gratifying,” Duke said. “I’ve bowled against these guys on Tour so many times but it’s still the same – a battle for every game, a battle for every frame.”
In the opening match, Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., also bowling in his second PBA50 Tour tournament, defeated two-time defending PBA50 Player of the Year and 2013 Sun Bowl In The Villages winner Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., 287-268, to advance to the second match.
In a contest between the PBA50 Tour rookies, Duke defeated Bohn, 255-238, in the second match to advance to the semifinal. Duke then went on to beat 2013 PBA50 Rookie of the Year and fellow Storm staffer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., 279-215, in the semifinal to set up the championship showdown against Baker.
Duke started the title match with the first seven strikes which ultimately proved too much for Baker to overcome.
“When the scores are high, the match is never over,” Duke said. “Tom is a great player so it inspires you to remain focused.”
In all, the five finalists represented 164 titles – 26 of them majors – won during their careers on the PBA Tour. Williams is the PBA Tour’s all-time titles leader with 47 wins, with Weber and Duke tied for third with 37 titles each. Bohn ranks sixth in career PBA Tour titles with 33 wins. Baker, a 10-time winner on the PBA50 Tour also has 10 PBA Tour titles.
Duke qualified third for the finals with the help of a 10-6 match play record earlier Tuesday which he described as one of the toughest tests he has experienced in his career.
“I think the past two days were the hardest two days I’ve experienced in a tournament in a long time,” Duke said. “It was physically demanding and as tough to win as any tournament I’ve ever bowled.”
The PBA50 Tour travels to Mooresville, N.C., for the Miller High Life Classic presented by Columbia 300 at George Pappas Victory Lanes in Mooresville, N.C., April 27-30. The Miller High Life Classic will be covered in its entirety on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame. Click on the Xtra Frame logo on the pba.com homepage for subscription and schedule information.
PBA50 UNITEDHEALTHCARE SUN BOWL IN THE VILLAGES PRESENTED BY RADICAL
At Spanish Springs Lanes
The Villages, Fla.,
Tuesday’s final results
1, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., $9,000 (Storm)
2, Tom Baker, King, N.C., $4,500. (Roto Grip)
3, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., $3,000. (Storm)
4, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., $2,500.
5, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., $2,000.
Match One: Bohn def. Williams, 287-268.
Match Two: Duke def. Bohn, 255-238.
Semifinal Match: Duke def. Weber, 279-215.
Championship: Duke def. Baker, 256-228.