INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 27, 2010) – Defending champion Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, methodically worked his way through the field Saturday, rolling a key 300 game on the way to clinching the top qualifying position for Sunday’s finals in the 67th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Woodland Bowl.
And Jason Couch of Clermont, Fla., bowled the biggest 214 game of his life to earn his shot at the title in a pressured-packed final round of match games.
In the intense position round to determine Sunday’s finalists, Scroggins defeated Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa., 227-185, to pass O’Neill for the top rung on the stepladder with a total of 11,537 pins for 51 games. O’Neill, who is trying for his second career title and first major championship, dropped to second with 11,486 pins.
Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., slipped past Australia’s Jason Belmonte in the final game, 203-190, to clinch the third spot in the finals. Belmonte, who led the tournament after the first match play round, battled a hamstring injury suffered earlier Saturday and dropped to sixth place because of his loss.
But the real drama was unfolding on the adjacent pairs of lanes where the winner of the Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., vs. Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., match was poised to pass Belmonte for the fourth position in Sunday’s finals. Duke closed his game with four strikes to force Williams to get a double and good count in the 10th frame to win and earn 30 bonus pins. Williams got the first two strikes, but left four pins on his final shot to end the match between PBA Hall of Famers in a 201-201 tie.
Because the tie gave each player 15 bonus pins, Couch – who entered the position round in seventh place – jumped all the way to fourth by winning his match against four-time U.S. Open champion Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., 214-190. With 30 bonus pins for winning the match, Couch edged Williams by two pins for fourth place.
Scroggins will try to become the first bowler since Dave Husted in 1996 and 1995 to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles. Ironically, Husted won his 1996 in Indianapolis. Prior to changing its name to the U.S. Open in 1971, St. Louis bowling legends Dick Weber and Don Carter each won the former BPAA All Star in consecutive years twice.
Sunday’s stepladder finals will air live on ESPN at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. At stake is the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour’s final major title of the 2009-10 season, a $60,000 first prize and a three-year PBA Tour exemption.
67TH LUMBER LIQUIDATORS U.S. OPEN
Woodland Bowl, Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 27
FINAL MATCH PLAY STANDINGS (after 51 games, including won-lost records and pinfall including match play bonus pins)
1, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 16-8, 11,537.
2, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 13-11, 11,486.
3, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 16-8, 11,413.
4, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 13-11, 11,282.
5, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 13-9-2, 11,280, $10,000.
6, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 11-12-1, 11,277, $8,000.
7, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 14-9-1, 11,264, $6,500.
8, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 13-11, 11,188, $6,000.
9, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 14-10, 11,117, $5,500.
10, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 11-13, 11,061, $5,000.
11, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 12-12, 11,058, $4,500.
12, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 12-11-1, 11,056, $4,300.
13, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 9-15, 10,992, $4,100.
14, Jason Wojnar, Chicago, 14-10, 10,955, $4,000.
15, Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, 10-14, 10,947, $3,900.
16, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 11-13, 10,943, $3,900.
17, Ronnie Russell, Camby, Ind., 12-12, 10,933, $3,700.
18, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 12-12, 10,892, $3,600.
19, Brian LeClair, Athens, N.Y., 11-13, 10,888, $3,500.
20, Dave D'Entremont, Middleburg Heights, Ohio, 11-13, 10,771, $3,400.
21, David Beres, Waukesha, Wis., 9-14-1, 10,721, $3,300.
22, Anthony Jordan, Sycamore, Ill., 12-12, 10,691, $3,200.
23, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 8-16, 10,678, $3,100.
24, x-PJ Haggerty, Clovis, Calif., 8-8, 10,653, $2,920.
25, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 0-8, 7,266, $2,920.
x-Haggerty replaced Amleto Monacelli of Venezuela who withdrew at the end of the fifth round due to injury.
300 Games – Nathan Bohr, Mitch Beasley