As one of the most popular bowlers in Denny’s PBA Tour history, Norm Duke might be the only bowler who could have gotten away with his mistreatment of New York bowlers on Sunday.
Duke defeated four bowlers from New York to capture his fourth career title in New York state, knocking off top-seed Ryan Shafer, 218-179, to win the 2006 Columbia 300 Classic at AMF Babylon Lanes.
The victory was the 25th of Duke’s storied career, giving him sole possession of ninth on the career titles list. He also became the first bowler this season to win two titles, taking early control of the 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year race heading into a two-week holiday break.
“I had a tough choice and I chose to play an area not many were playing,” said Duke, who played the lanes straight rather than playing inside like the other four finalists. “Two days ago I said I believed if I continued to play where I was playing things would get better for me and lo and behold I’m the one left standing. It was a tough call but it worked out pretty well.”
Shafer (Horseheads, N.Y.) held the lead through four frames, but working on a double he left a 7-10 split and opened in the 5th, giving the slight edge to Duke. The Clermont, Fla., native responded with four strikes in the next five frames to clinch the victory.
Duke came into the championship round as the fourth-seed and became the first bowler since Tommy Jones in the Dydo Japan Cup 2005 to win as many as four matches en route to a title. Shafer, meanwhile, became the ninth consecutive top-seed to lose in a stepladder final.
In the semifinal match, Duke held a slim nine-pin lead over Tommy Delutz Jr. (Flushing, N.Y.) through eight frames. A crucial strike by Duke in the 9th frame became even bigger when Delutz failed to match him in the 9th, settling for a nine-spare. Another nine-spare in the 10th meant Duke only needed to mark in the 10th for the 226-207 win.
Duke won his second match over third-seeded Joe Ciccone (Buffalo, N.Y.), 257-206, striking in eight of the first nine frames. In the first stepladder match, Duke knocked off No. 5 Michael Fagan (Greenlawn, N.Y.), 248-184.
Duke took home $25,000 while Shafer earned $13,000 for second. Delutz took home $6,500 for third, Ciccone earned $5,500 for fourth while Fagan earned $5,000 for fifth.
The Denny’s PBA Tour takes a two-week break before returning with the 2007 H&R Block Classic at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., Jan. 3-7. The live ESPN televised finals take place Sunday, Jan. 7, at 1 p.m. EST. Denny’s PBA Tour
2006 Columbia 300 Classic
AMF Babylon Lanes
West Babylon, N.Y.
Sunday, Dec. 17
|1.||Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla.||949 (4 games)||$25,000|
|2.||Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y.||179 (1 game)||$13,000|
|3.||Tommy Delutz Jr., Flushing, N.Y.||207 (1 game)||$6,500|
|4.||Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y.||206 (1 game)||$5,500|
|5.||Michael Fagan, Greenlawn, N.Y.||184 (1 game)||$5,000 |
SCORES – In the first match, Duke def. Fagan, 248-184; in the second match, Duke defeated Ciccone, 257-206; in the semifinal, Duke defeated Delutz, 226-207; and in the final, Duke def. Shafer, 218-179.
This is Duke’s 25th career Denny’s PBA Tour title.