Mike Scroggins came into Sunday’s final round of the Motel 6 Dick Weber Open two losses away from tying a PBA record for the longest losing streak in televised matches. Now he’s on a four-game winning streak.
Scroggins broke an eight-match television losing streak and became the first No. 5 seed since Tommy Jones in 2005 to win a stepladder final on the Denny’s PBA Tour, knocking off top-seed Chris Barnes, 226-171, to win his fourth career title at Fountain Bowl.
Just as Wes Malott did as the lone right-hander in last week’s Lumber Liquidators Earl Anthony Medford Classic final round against three lefties, the lone lefty Scroggins let the four right-handers in the finals burn up the lanes while he put up high score after high score. After a close game against Pete Weber in the opening match, Scroggins dominated his next three opponents.
In the title match, Barnes was doomed by a 4-6 split and an open in the sixth frame followed by a 1-2-4-10 washout and open in the seventh. Scroggins wrapped up the match with strikes in the eighth and ninth frames.
After the match, Scroggins was brought tears when talking about what it meant to him to win the tournament named in honor of the late Dick Weber. He recalled the time Weber gave him a hand-clipped newspaper article soon after Scroggins won the 2004 Baby Ruth Real Deal Classic.
“He was such a great guy and for a legend to come up after a tournament and give me press clippings that he actually cut out, I’ll never forget that,” Scroggins (Amarillo, Texas) said. “He said, ‘Mike, put these away and always remember how you felt that day.’ He was a special guy and I’ll never forget him.”
Scroggins was anything but the sentimental favorite going into the finals, facing the unenviable task of going up against Pete Weber, who was making the finals for the first time in the three years the event has been held in honor of his father, who passed away in February 2005. Weber took control of the match after overcoming an early deficit by striking in the seventh, eighth and ninth frames. Needing a strike in the 10th to win, Weber left the 4-9 split which opened the door for Scroggins. Weber picked up the split and struck to force Scroggins to double and Scroggins calmly struck twice to advance.
“I knew bowling Pete was going to be a tough match because the lanes started out so difficult and I knew whoever survived that match would probably go a long way,” Scroggins said of his lowest-scoring of the four matches. “On my side, the lanes definitely got better and I was fortunate to double in the 10th to beat Pete. After that just I relaxed.
“Whenever your opponents give you an opening it gives you a boost and fortunately I took advantage of it.”
Scroggins was given an opening in all four of his matches and he more than took advantage. In his second match against No. 3 Tommy Delutz Jr., a 269-224 win, Scroggins struck eight consecutive times after an eight-spare in the second frame while Delutz never recovered from two spares and an open in the first four frames.
The third match was never in question as No. 2 seed Jack Jurek was unable to strike until the sixth frame while Scroggins struck seven consecutive times after a nine-spare in the first frame, cruising to the 254-199 win.
Scroggins took home $25,000 for the win and an exemption for the 2008-09 season, while Barnes (Double Oak, Texas), who fell to 0-5 in championship rounds this season, earned $13,000 for second. Jurek (Lackawanna, N.Y.) took home $6,500 for third, Delutz (Flushing, N.Y.) earned $5,500 for fourth while Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) earned $5,000 for fifth.
The Denny’s PBA Tour heads to Las Vegas, Nev., for two events next week, the 2008 PBA Exempt Doubles Classic Jan. 20-22 and the H&R Block Tournament of Champions, Jan. 23-27. The live ESPN-televised finals of the H&R Block Tournament of Champions take place Sunday, Jan. 27 at 12:30 p.m. while the PBA Exempt Doubles Classic finals take place immediately after and will air Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. EST. Denny’s PBA Tour
2008 Motel 6 Dick Weber Open
Fountain Valley, Calif.
Sunday, Jan. 20
|1.||Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas||953 (4 games)||$25,000|
|2.||Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas||171 (1 game)||$13,000|
|3.||Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y.||199 (1 game)||$6,500|
|4.||Tommy Delutz Jr., Flushing, N.Y.||224 (1 game)||$5,500|
|5.||Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo.||197 (1 game)||$5,000 |
– In the first match, Scroggins def. Weber, 204-197; in the second match, Scroggins def. Delutz, 269-224; in the third match, Scroggins defeated Jurek, 254-199; and in the final, Scroggins def. Barnes, 226-171.
This is Scroggins’ fourth career Denny’s PBA Tour title.