January 17, 2008 19:00
It took three years, but Pete Weber finally has a chance to honor his father with a win in the event named after the late PBA Hall of Famer.
Weber went 7-1 in the final eight-game block of round robin match play Friday to earn the No. 4 seed for Sunday’s stepladder finals in the 2008 Motel 6 Dick Weber Open at Fountain Bowl.
Weber’s father, Dick, passed away in February 2005 and the next season the Dick Weber Open was created in his honor. Weber finished 35th in the 2006 Dick Weber Open and just missed the cut to match play by two places last season, finishing 26th.
This time, Weber finished 12th in qualifying then went 15-9 in match play, including 7-1 in the final block where he needed every win. He went into the position round fifth where he beat Parker Bohn III, 245-205, to earn the fourth seed for Sunday.
“It feels great. I bowled pretty well the first half and last week was just a warm-up week,” said Weber (St. Ann, Mo.), who had four top-eight finishes but no championship rounds in the first half. “All the hard work I put in the first half, maybe the second half it will start paying off. Today I made the right guess at the right time with the right ball.”
The move Weber was referring to happened just before the position round, where he took on fellow PBA Hall of Famer Bohn for the second consecutive match.
“I bowled Parker the seventh game on lanes 21 and 22 and I was watching the guys on 23 and 24 where the position round was going to be, and the guys who were playing the deep part of the lane were having problems,” Weber said. “Two games before, Wes (Malott) bowled 240 throwing it hard and straight. I took a ball I knew I could throw hard and straight and I got the reaction I looked for. It could have gone the other way but fortunately it didn’t.”
Weber will still need to win four matches Sunday to win the title, but he feels just as confident as ever.
“I don’t care about being the fourth seed,” the 34-time Denny’s PBA Tour titlist said. “I’m good from the fourth or fifth position. A lot of my titles came from there so I’m perfectly fine with it.”
Weber’s first match will come against No. 5 Mike Scroggins (Amarillo, Texas), who went 18-6 in match play, tied for the best record of the 24 bowlers. The winner will face No. 3 Tommy Delutz Jr. (Flushing, N.Y.) who is making his first championship round of the season and will be looking for his first title since 2001.
Earning the No. 2 seed was Jack Jurek, who went 14-10 and will look to break one of the longest title droughts on Tour. Jurek’s lone title came in the 1995 Tums Classic, a span of 132 events.
The man waiting in the title match is eight-time titlist Chris Barnes, who is making his Tour-high tying fifth championship round of the season but is still searching for his first title in 2007-08. Barnes tied Scroggins with the best record at 18-6 and overcame tough lane conditions to average 220 in match play.
“This week has been U.S. Open-like. In fact, the scores might have been lower than the year I won the U.S. Open,” Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) said of the tournament widely regarded as the most difficult on Tour. “Today was probably the best day I’ve had performance-wise this year. The lanes were just hard, but my swing was in-line and I was just very clear mentally and very focused and had very few give-away shots.”
Barnes has had success as the top seed before, capturing his first career Major in the 62nd U.S. Open in 2005 as the top seed.
“I’d rather be the top seed than not,” Barnes said. “It’s all going to be a crap shoot. The lanes will be a lot different because of the guys on the show and the practice time. What guys decide to do in practice determines a lot. I’m feeling good, I just have to make the right moves on Sunday.”
Sunday’s finals get underway at 10 a.m. PST at Fountain Bowl with the winner taking home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.
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