The debate can finally end. Walter Ray Williams Jr. officially has more professional bowling titles than anyone in the history of the sport.
Williams captured his 44th career Denny’s PBA Tour title, dominating Chris Loschetter, 276-204, to win the 2007 Great Lakes Classic at Spectrum Lanes for his second title of the season.
Williams passed Earl Anthony to become the Tour’s all-time titles leader in the first event of the 2006-07 season. Some said Anthony was still ahead of Williams, however, as Anthony’s two USBC Masters titles are not recognized as Denny’s PBA Tour titles.
At 48 years old, Williams is off to one of the best starts of his 26-year career. He has made the championship round in four of the first seven events, winning twice and finishing second once. He also holds a big lead in the PBA Player of the Year race, which if it holds up would be his record seventh Player of the Year honor, breaking another Anthony record.
On Sunday, Williams came out on fire in the title match after a close semifinal against Mike Scroggins, in which he needed to double in the 10th to win. Williams threw a perfect shot with his first ball in the 10th then caught a break with his second shot when he threw it light and tripped the bucket, advancing with a 234-226 win.
“You have to have breaks along the way any time you win out here,” Williams (Ocala, Fla.) said. “You don’t always get strikes when you throw it well and sometimes you get strikes when you don’t throw it well. Fortunately I had a lot of good breaks this week. It was kind of silly.”
What’s silly is how well Williams is bowling this late in his career. The last time he won two titles this early in the season was 1998. He holds a more than 30,000 point lead in the PBA World Point Rankings, is second on Tour with $85,900 and leads the Tour in average by five pins.
He was nearly taken down by Scroggins, who held an 11-pin lead and was working on a four-bagger when he missed a 10-pin conversion in the seventh frame. Williams took the lead with a double but then gave it away when he seven-spared the ninth and Scroggins doubled in the eighth and ninth. The three-time titlist missed a chance to lock up the match, however, when he nine-spared and struck in the 10th.
Williams made sure things weren’t that close in the final match against Loschetter, who was looking to become the 10th bowler to win his first career title against Williams. After a nine-spare in the first frame, Williams struck nine consecutive times to wrap up the win.
Loschetter advanced to the title match with a 239-226 win over PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III. Loschetter used a five-bagger in frames three through seven to take the lead. Bohn tried to rally late with a four-bagger but after a strike and nine-spare in the 10th, Loschetter only needed a mark to advance.
Williams earned $25,000 for his win. Loschetter (Avon, Ohio) earned $13,000 for second while Bohn (Jackson, N.J.) and Scroggins (Amarillo, Texas) took home $6,000 each for third and fourth, respectively.
The Denny’s PBA Tour moves to Baltimore, Md., next week for the 2007 Lumber Liquidators Championships, Dec. 5-9 at AMF Country Club Lanes. The finals will air tape-delayed on ESPN Sunday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. EST.Denny’s PBA Tour
2007 Great Lakes Classic
Sunday, Dec. 2
|1.||Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla.||510 (2 games)||$25,000|
|2.||Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio||443 (2 games)||$13,000|
|3.||Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J.||226 (1 game)||$6,000|
|4.||Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas||226 (1 game)||$6,000|
– In the first match, Loschetter def. Bohn, 239-226; in the second match, Williams def. Scroggins, 234-226; and in the final, Williams def. Loschetter, 276-204.
This is Williams’ 44th career Denny’s PBA Tour title