It took two extra frames, but Kevin Croucher finally came away with his first career PBA Senior Tour title.
Croucher won a sudden death roll-off, 20-18, over Gary Smith after the two tied at 227 through 10 frames Tuesday to win the 2007 PBA Senior Decatur Open at Spare Time Lanes.
Smith came into the match on fire, averaging 279.67 in his previous three games in the Round of 8 and Round of 4, but he cooled off enough for Croucher to pull even with him with three clutch strikes in the 10th frame.
Croucher then started the one-ball, sudden death roll-off with a strike, which Smith matched. On the second ball, Croucher struck again while Smith left the 6- and 10-pins, giving Croucher the win.
“I’ve played a lot of sports my whole life and they all pertain to staying calm,” Croucher said. “After a while you get used to it and that’s the fun part. The fun part is having to throw shots in that situation and perform under pressure. That’s when you find out how good you are.”
Croucher was good enough to knock off Smith, who swept his best-of-three match in the Round of 8 with wins of 276-243 and 279-210 over Keith Sharp (Orlando, Fla.). Smith then overcame PBA Hall of Famer David Ozio (Beaumont, Texas) in a semifinal shootout in which both bowlers struck with their first nine shots and seemed destined for the first 300-300 tie in PBA Senior Tour history. Ozio left a 10-pin with his first shot in the 10th, however, and Smith struck once in the 10th for the win.
Croucher, meanwhile, had to overcome Bob Kelly (Dayton, Ohio) in the Round of 8, winning the final two games for a 2-1 win. It was a small measure of revenge for Croucher, who was edged in the 2006 PBA Senior Rookie of the Year voting by Kelly last season.
After knocking off 10-time PBA Senior Tour titlist Dale Eagle in the semifinals, 231-180, Croucher took the lead early in the title match, until back-to-back spares in the fifth and sixth frames. Smith, meanwhile, struck four consecutive times to take the lead and looked like he might cruise to his first career PBA Senior Tour title.
Smith (E. Peoria, Ill.) needed a strike with is first ball in the 10th to shut Croucher out, but a nine-spare gave the Grants Pass, Ore., resident an opening. He took it by striking all three times in the 10th to send the match to a roll-off.
“I made one bad shot in the match but then he gave me a window. You look forward to getting that window out here but when it comes up you have to remain calm,” Croucher said. “I wasn’t thinking about anything other than making a good shot. Once we tied I knew I could start on the lane I finished on. I threw it a little light but luckily it carried.”
Croucher earned $8,000 for the win while Smith took home $4,500 for second. Ozio and Eagle earned $3,000 each for third and fourth.
Next week the PBA Senior Tour wraps up with the PBA Senior Dick Weber Invitational, Aug. 17-21 at West County Lanes in Ballwin, Mo. The winner will take home $9,000 and a berth in the 2008 H&R Block Tournament of Champions, one of four Majors on the Denny’s PBA Tour.Notes
It's been a big week in the world of sports for Croucher, who extended a thank you and hello to his wife, Sharon, and daughters, Brandy, Jill and Karah, who were unable to attend.
On Friday, Croucher shot 73 at Redtail Run Golf Club in Decatur. The most impressive part of his feat - he played with rental clubs and tennis shoes. Croucher is part of a large contingent of PBA Senior Tour bowlers who play golf every week.
On a side note, Croucher did not use a house ball or street shoes for the final Tuesday night.PBA Senior Tour
PBA Senior Decatur Open
Spare Time Lanes
Tuesday, Aug. 14
(Single-game match. Winner earns $8,000. Losers earns $4,500.)
|#7 Kevin Croucher||9/||9/||X||X||9/||9/||X||9/||X||XXX|| (10)||(10)|
|#9 Gary Smith||X||9/||X||9/||X||X||X||X||8/||9/X|| (10)||(8)|
ROUND OF 4
(Single-game matches. Losers eliminated, earn $3,000.)
|#9 Gary Smith||284|
|#4 David Ozio||279|
|#7 Kevin Croucher||231|
|#11 Dale Eagle||180|
ROUND OF 8
(Single elimination, best-of-three-games. Losers eliminated, earn $1,700.)
|#16 Keith Sharp||243||210|
|#9 Gary Smith||276||279|
|#5 Tom Baker||213||237||239|
|#4 David Ozio||238||183||245|
|#15 Bob Kelly||232||214||224|
|#7 Kevin Croucher||202||268||254|
|#11 Dale Eagle||207||249|
|#3 Roger Kossert||187||244|
ROUND OF 16
(Single elimination, best-of-five games. Losers eliminated, earn $1,300.)
|#16 Keith Sharp||204||244||257||225||213|
|#1 Vince Mazzanti Jr.||207||237||214||247||194|
|#9 Gary Smith||237||204||214||256||247|
|#8 Dale Traber||213||255||222||185||216|
|#5 Tom Baker||197||245||247||257|
|#12 Rohn Morton||205||190||213||210|
|#4 David Ozio||268||245||269|
|#20 Don Blatchford||235||200||229|
|#15 Bob Kelly||202||222||237||235|
|#2 Jim Knoblauch||210||201||215||217|
|#23 Michael Henry||195||242||288||244||199|
|#7 Kevin Croucher||203||198||212||246||268|
|#6 Kenny Parks||238||192||257||236|
|#11 Dale Eagle||255||195||199||241|
|#3 Roger Kossert||255||206||243||195||203|
|#19 Tom Carter||209||258||195||254||146|
ROUND OF 24
(Single elimination, best-of-five-games. Losers eliminated, earn $1,100.)
|#32 David Axon||213||195||246||224||216|
|#16 Keith Sharp||220||278||228||193||219|
|#24 Don Sylvia||213||187||235||201|
|#9 Gary Smith||245||225||164||225|
|#12 Rohn Morton||269||189||258||269|
|#21 Fred Cole||210||269||221||267|
|#13 Barry Mefford||201||222||285||258||217|
|#20 Don Blatchford||244||247||183||213||256|
|#31 Bill Keenan||190||225||190||200|
|#15 Bob Kelly||193||215||254||212|
|#23 Michael Henry||202||243||238||278|
|#10 Butch Woolen Jr.||225||196||227||197|
|#11 Dale Eagle||158||242||247||193||207|
|#22 Andy Ippolito||236||176||190||227||182|
|#14 Mark Roth||224||267||175||210|
|#19 Tom Carter||246||248||245||229|
ROUND OF 32
(Single elimination, best-of-five-games. Losers eliminated, earn $1,000.)
|#17 George Hall||208||248||202||237||210|
|#32 David Axon||193||258||237||213||220|
|#25 Sam Zurich||235||258||248||228||191|
|#24 Don Sylvia||266||246||268||166||222|
|#21 Fred Cole||216||233||216||206||289|
|#28 Billy Young Jr.||205||216||257||208||238|
|#29 Patrick King||180||204||236||192|
|#20 Don Blatchford||258||237||202||194|
|#18 Jerry Edwards||205||227||197||210|
|#31 Bill Keenan||280||215||238||226|
|#26 Dennis Lane||181||178||245||212||187|
|#23 Michael Henry||171||212||222||258||191|
|#22 Andy Ippolito||208||204||184||255||186|
|#27 Barry Gurney||248||215||175||224||171|
|#30 Jay Aono||268||190||199||235||186|
|#19 Tom Carter||233||250||222||157||269|