The streak is over.
Jason Couch became the first No. 1 seed to win a stepladder final since February 2005 and he did it in style, repeating as the Dick Weber Open champion with a 258-236 win over Patrick Allen at Fountain Bowl.
The left-hander became the first bowler to successfully defend a Denny’s PBA Tour title since Tommy Jones in the Dydo Japan Cup 2005 and just the fourth in history to do it in two different events. The three-time Tournament of Champions winner captured his 14th career title, pulling him even with PBA Hall of Fame left-hander Johnny Petraglia.
In a tournament dominated by lefties – four of the five finalists were southpaws – Couch was far and away the most dominant. He led the field from the end of qualifying through three rounds of match play, breaking a nine-match losing streak by top seeds in stepladder finals.
“We all know the problems the top seeds have had and I said last night ‘I’m going to shoot 250 and win tournament.' I didn’t think I was actually going to (shoot 250) but I certainly did,” Couch (Clermont, Fla.) said. “To win the Dick Weber Open last year was just an honor because the Weber’s are such a great family. To win two consecutive years is very special. Pete and Tracy treat me like family.”
Couch has rebounded from a lackluster first half of the season when he did not make a TV appearance and was 27th in points to make the finals in two of the three events in the second half.
“I wasn’t very pleased with myself the first half of the season,” Couch said. “I had a couple good weeks but I didn’t bowl like I expect myself to. I told my wife at the break I was going to come back with a positive attitude and it’s paid off.”
In the title match, the two fiery lefties traded strikes through the first three frames before Allen had trouble in the middle frames. The 2004-05 PBA Player of the Year had four spares in frames 4-8, while Couch had a big strike in the 8th after a nine-spare in the 7th. Couch then struck in the 9th and 10th to clinch his first title this season.
The No. 2 seed Allen advanced to the title match with a 249-245 win over all-time titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. Williams had a chance to win with a strike in the 10th, but he left the 4-pin, giving Allen his second win over the PBA Hall of Famer on TV in three weeks.
The fifth-seed Williams advanced with wins over No. 4 Parker Bohn III, 227-225, in the first match and No. 3 Andrew Cain, 216-205, in the second match.
Couch earned $25,000 and an exemption for the 2007-08 season, while Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) took home $13,000 for second. Williams (Ocala, Fla.) earned $7,000 for third, Cain (Scottsdale, Ariz.) earned $6,000 for fourth and Bohn (Jackson, N.J.) earned $5,000 for fifth.
Next week the Denny’s PBA Tour heads to Henderson, Nev., for the 2007 Motel 6 Classic, Jan. 24-28 at Strike Zone at Sunset Station. The live ESPN televised finals take place Sunday, Jan. 28 at 9:30 a.m. PST. Denny’s PBA Tour
2007 Dick Weber Open
Fountain Valley, Calif.
Sunday, Jan. 21
|1.||Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla.||258 (1 game)||$25,000|
|2.||Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla.||485 (2 games)||$13,000|
|3.||Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla.||688 (3 games)||$7,000|
|4.||Andrew Cain, Scottsdale, Ariz.||205 (1 game)||$6,000|
|5.||Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J.||225 (1 game)||$5,000 |
SCORES – In the first match, Williams def. Bohn, 227-225; in the second match, Williams defeated Cain, 216-205; in the semifinal, Allen defeated Williams, 249-245; and in the final, Couch def. Allen, 258-236.
This is Couch’s 14th career Denny’s PBA Tour title.Notes
Couch joined PBA Hall of Famers Earl Anthony, Dick Ritger and Dick Weber as the only players to defend a title in two different events.