March 20, 2008 19:00
Pete Weber hasn’t had his usual mojo on television this year. In fact, he’s been so off-kilter he’s even considered losing his signature sunglasses.
Weber may mix it up Sunday, he may not. Regardless, he needs his magic for just one game to take home his 35th career Denny’s PBA Tour title.
The PBA Hall of Famer defeated Tommy Delutz Jr., 247-212, in the position round Friday night to earn the top seed for Sunday’s stepladder finals of the GEICO Classic at AMF Babylon Lanes.
Weber will be making his fourth championship round of the season, but he’s come up empty in his previous three TV appearances. He will look for his first title since last season’s 64th U.S. Open and will look to break a tie with Mark Roth for third on the all-time titles list.
“I got the good breaks to stay in the lead, but Sunday is a different day,” Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) said. “We’ll just see how we break the lanes down for the show. I’ll be focused though. The sunglasses haven’t been lucky, so I’m thinking about not wearing them.”
Weber took the lead in the second block of qualifying Thursday night and never looked back. He led after every game of the 18 games of round robin, with the exception of game 17, despite a 9-9 record. Delutz took the lead after game 17 before giving it back to Weber in the position round.
The New York native Delutz (Flushing, N.Y.), who made the final round last year at AMF Babylon Lanes, won his last title in the in Syosset, N.Y. in the 2001-02 season. He went 12-6 on Friday.
Earning the No. 3 seed was 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones who went 13-5 on Friday and will look for his second title of the season and 12th of his career.
All-time Denny’s PBA Tour titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. earned the No. 4 seed and can take over the lead in the PBA Player of the Year race. Williams trails Chris Barnes by four points and would need to win two matches Sunday to tie Barnes. He would take a four-point lead if he advances to the title match and a 12-point lead should he win the title heading into next week’s season-ending 65th Denny’s U.S. Open.
“There’s still next week,” Williams (Ocala, Fla.) said. “But it would be nice to at least take the lead. I have to win some games Sunday though. It actually hurts me that there’s five on the show instead of four.”
Williams will face three-time titlist Wes Malott in the first match Sunday. Malott tied an 18-game PBA record by going 16-2 on Friday. Malott will look for his second victory of the season, which would keep him in the running for the PBA Player of the Year award as well.
The live ESPN-televised championship round gets underway at 1 p.m. ET Sunday with the winner taking home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 Denny’s PBA Tour.
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