Jeff Carter of Springfield, Ill., ended his 122-tournament quest for his first Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title Sunday, defeating his idol, Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., 235-213, to win the GEICO Plastic Ball Championship at Brunswick Zone-Wheat Ridge.
Carter, 39, threw six strikes in a row after an opening-frame spare to build a 56-pin lead after five frames and he easily held off Weber to win the $25,000 first prize, a one-year exemption to bowl on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour next season, and a berth in the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions.
The tournament was contested with throw-back polyester bowling equipment that dominated the sport in the 1970s, providing a challenge similar to requiring professional golfers to play an entire tournament using persimmon woods, or tennis players to compete with wooden rackets and cat-gut strings.
With the entire field using identical low-tech bowling balls, the emphasis was on accuracy, speed control and hand action at the point of release. Carter – a contemporary power player – didn’t expect to do well when he entered, but he found the equipment limitations actually worked in his favor.
“This tournament took some variables out of play that I’ve struggled with in the past,” Carter said. “I just put my game into slow motion and went from there.
“Bowling against Pete was indescribable,” Carter continued, adding with a grin: “Actually, bowling him for the title made it easier. He’s my friend. He’s also one of my heroes. I’ve dreamt about bowling him for my first title. Today that dream came true.”
Carter also said that Weber had made a reference before the title match that seeing Carter vs. Weber on the scoreboard was special. Pete was referring to memories of his late father Dick Weber’s close relationship to fellow Budweiser teammate and hall of famer Don Carter. Jeff Carter is not related to Don, but the symbolism wasn’t lost on him.
“Who would have thought it would come down to Carter vs. Weber for my first title,” Carter said. “Who could ask for anything better?”
In the first semifinal round match, Weber followed an open frame and spare with eight consecutive strikes to defeat Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 269-226. In the second semifinal match, Carter fell behind when he left and failed to convert the 4-6-7-9-10 “Greek church” in the fifth frame, but struck on six of his next seven shots for a 220-191 victory over Michael Fagan of Patchogue, N.Y.
The Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour now moves to Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis for the Etonic Marathon Championship where an open field of competitors will bowl 54 games on six different lane conditioning patterns. The third stop on the PBA Tour’s “Extreme Swing” gets underway on Tuesday. ESPN will televise the finals next Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern.
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA TOUR
GEICO PLASTIC BALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Brunswick Zone-Wheat Ridge, Wheat Ridge, Colo.
Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill. ($25,000) def. Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo. ($13,000), 235-213
Match One – Weber def. Barnes ($6,000), 269-226
Match Two – Carter def. Fagan ($6,000), 220-191