Croucher Wins First in Roll-Off

by PBA Editor August 13, 2007 19:00
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
Decatur, Ill.
Tuesday, Aug. 14

CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

(Single-game match. Winner earns $8,000. Losers earns $4,500.)

#7 Kevin Croucher9/9/XX9/9/X9/XXXX (10)(10)
19396888107127147167197227


#9 Gary SmithX9/X9/XXXX8/9/X (10)(8)
20406080110140168188207227


ROUND OF 4

(Single-game matches. Losers eliminated, earn $3,000.)

#9 Gary Smith284
#4 David Ozio279
Smith Advances


#7 Kevin Croucher231
#11 Dale Eagle180
Croucher Advances


ROUND OF 8

(Single elimination, best-of-three-games. Losers eliminated, earn $1,700.)

#16 Keith Sharp243210
#9 Gary Smith276279
Smith Advances


#5 Tom Baker213237239
#4 David Ozio238183245
Ozio Advances


#15 Bob Kelly232214224
#7 Kevin Croucher202268254
Croucher Advances


#11 Dale Eagle207249
#3 Roger Kossert187244
Eagle Advances


ROUND OF 16

(Single elimination, best-of-five games. Losers eliminated, earn $1,300.)

#16 Keith Sharp204244257225213
#1 Vince Mazzanti Jr.207237214247194
Sharp Advances


#9 Gary Smith237204214256247
#8 Dale Traber213255222185216
Smith Advances


#5 Tom Baker197245247257
#12 Rohn Morton205190213210
Baker Advances


#4 David Ozio268245269
#20 Don Blatchford235200229
Ozio Advances


#15 Bob Kelly202222237235
#2 Jim Knoblauch210201215217
Kelly Advances


#23 Michael Henry195242288244199
#7 Kevin Croucher203198212246268
Croucher Advances


#6 Kenny Parks238192257236
#11 Dale Eagle255195199241
Eagle Advances


#3 Roger Kossert255206243195203
#19 Tom Carter209258195254146
Kossert Advances


ROUND OF 24

(Single elimination, best-of-five-games. Losers eliminated, earn $1,100.)

#32 David Axon213195246224216
#16 Keith Sharp220278228193219
Sharp Advances


#24 Don Sylvia213187235201
#9 Gary Smith245225164225
Smith Advances


#12 Rohn Morton269189258269
#21 Fred Cole210269221267
Morton Advances


#13 Barry Mefford201222285258217
#20 Don Blatchford244247183213256
Blatchford Advances


#31 Bill Keenan190225190200
#15 Bob Kelly193215254212
Kelly Advances


#23 Michael Henry202243238278
#10 Butch Woolen Jr.225196227197
Henry Advances


#11 Dale Eagle158242247193207
#22 Andy Ippolito236176190227182
Eagle Advances


#14 Mark Roth224267175210
#19 Tom Carter246248245229
Carter Advances


ROUND OF 32

(Single elimination, best-of-five-games. Losers eliminated, earn $1,000.)

#17 George Hall208248202237210
#32 David Axon193258237213220
Axon Advances


#25 Sam Zurich235258248228191
#24 Don Sylvia266246268166222
Sylvia Advances


#21 Fred Cole216233216206289
#28 Billy Young Jr.205216257208238
Cole Advances


#29 Patrick King180204236192
#20 Don Blatchford258237202194
Blatchford Advances


#18 Jerry Edwards205227197210
#31 Bill Keenan280215238226
Keenan Advances


#26 Dennis Lane181178245212187
#23 Michael Henry171212222258191
Henry Advances


#22 Andy Ippolito208204184255186
#27 Barry Gurney248215175224171
Ippolito Advances


#30 Jay Aono268190199235186
#19 Tom Carter233250222157269
Carter Advances
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