They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but on the Denny’s PBA Tour, Emerson Lanes has been hit with a historic lightning bolt two years running.
Mike Mineman became just the second bowler in Tour history to win a title after advancing through the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round, joining Sean Rash who became the first in last year’s West Virginia Championship at Emerson Lanes.
Mineman, a 48-year-old journeyman who is a stark contrast to the 24-year-old Rash who won as a virtual unknown on Tour last year, defeated Mike Machuga, 223-202, Sunday to win the 2007 Bayer Classic for his first career title.
Emerson Lanes hosted a PBA Tour event in 1965 and then did not host another Tour stop until last season, when Rash came out of nowhere to win the title. Mineman was appearing in his 41st career Tour event and had never previously advanced past the Round of 16. He earned $25,000 and an exemption for the 2007-08 season with the win.
“It’s tough to go through that (Qualifying Round) on Wednesdays, but the gentlemen did it last year and paved the way and proved it could be done,” said Mineman (Belleville, Ill.), who didn’t even cash at Emerson Lanes last year. “It’s just been a magical week. It’s everything I ever thought it would be.”
The title match came down to the last frame despite Mineman leading throughout as Machuga had a chance to tie the match and send it to a one-ball sudden death roll-off.
Working on a four-bagger while Machuga was working on an open in the 7th, Mineman made a crucial mistake when he chopped the 4-pin off the 2-4-5 to let Machuga back in the match, and he responded with a double in the 8th and 9th.
After a nine-spare, Mineman struck out the 10th, forcing Machuga to strike out to tie. Machuga left the 10-pin with his first shot, however, to give Mineman the win.
Mineman advanced to the title match with a 217-178 win over Dale Traber. Traber led after four frames before splits in the 5th and 7th frames. Mineman took advantage with a double in the 6th and 7th to take the lead, then struck again in the 9th and 10th frames to move on to the title match.
In the first semifinal, Machuga defeated all-time Denny’s PBA Tour title leader Walter Ray Williams Jr., 264-223.
Machuga (Erie, Pa.) took home $13,000 for second, while Traber (Cedarburg, Wis.) earned $6,500 for third and Williams (Ocala, Fla.) earned $5,500 for fourth.
Next week the Denny’s PBA Tour heads to North Brunswick, N.J. for the 64th U.S. Open, the second of four Majors this season, Feb. 26–March 4. The live ESPN-televised finals take place Sunday, March 4 at Noon EST at Brunswick Zone Carolier. Denny’s PBA Tour
2007 Bayer Classic
Sunday, Feb. 25
|1.||Mike Mineman, Belleville, Ill.||440 (2 games)||$25,000|
|2.||Mike Machuga, Erie, Pa.||466 (2 games)||$13,000|
|3.||Dale Traber, Cedarburg, Wis.||178 (1 game)||$6,500|
|4.||Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla.||223 (1 game)||$5,500|
SCORES – In the first match, Machuga def. Williams, 264-223; in the second match, Mineman def. Traber, 217-178; and in the final, Mineman def. Machuga, 223-202.