MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Jake Peters of Decatur, Ill., who had never finished higher than 19th place in a previous Professional Bowlers Association Tour event, defeated former Wichita State University teammate Josh Blanchard of Gilbert, Ariz., 245-212, to win his first PBA Tour title in the Lucas Oil PBA Badger Open at AMF Bowlero.
The first of five GEICO PBA Summer Swing presented by Lucas Oil telecasts aired Tuesday on CBS Sports Network.
Peters, a 24-year-old second-year PBA Tour competitor, used a high level of inward focus to bowl a pair of near-perfect games en route to his first win. He started the semifinal match against newly-crowned USBC Intercollegiate Singles Champion Aaron Lorincz of Belleville, Mich., with six strikes – and nine strikes on his first 10 attempts – for a 265-174 victory, and started the title match against Blanchard with another five strikes.
“I told myself all last night and today that I was going to be slow, stay focused, stay in the moment and see what happened,” Peters said. “I told myself if I could keep the ball on line, if it strikes, it strikes. If not, there’s nothing I could do. The hardest thing to do, once you get a few in a row, is to not get amped up and that’s why I looked down a lot.
“It was fortunate the first six struck, and then the first five in the title match. That never happens.”
The victory fulfilled a lifelong dream for the former two-time Junior Team USA member.
“It’s something I wanted so bad, something I wanted forever,” Peters added. “I told my fiancé (Melissa Hurst) this morning that I’m ready for this. I told her this is the one moment I’ve practiced for forever. Since I was five years old I’ve been throwing mock shots in front of a mirror to win a title. I’ve done this a million times; it’s just that no one else has seen me do it.
“I’ve bowled Josh in match play before. I know how good he is, and that if I didn’t put shots on line, I wasn’t going to win. He wasn’t going to give me anything. If I had lost, I would have been perfectly okay with that. I know he’s going to win, but I’m kinda glad it didn’t happen today.”
Peters said the money he won wasn’t the reason for his jubilation.
“I got the check, but that didn’t mean much until I got to hold the trophy,” he grinned. “That’s really what it’s all about.”
Reminded that he also becomes eligible for the PBA Tournament of Champions for the first time, Peters responded, “Wow. I never even thought about that. That’s really awesome.”
Blanchard, the 2011-12 PBA Rookie of the Year, was disappointed he missed his chance for his first title, but was happy for his ex-Wheatshocker teammates.
“It’s nice to see (Jake) win. Obviously you want to win yourself, but it’s nice to see guys who have worked as hard as he has win,” Blanchard said. “He bowled a great game, but I’ll get there eventually.”
The Badger Open, bowled on a 52-foot lane conditioning pattern – the longest ever used in PBA Tour competition – was the first ever televised by CBS Sports Network. In the opening match, Michael Haugen Jr. of Phoenix defeated Kurt Pilon of Warren, Mich., 224-180. Lorincz eliminated Haugen in the second match, 215-170, before losing to Peters.
The finals of the Lucas Oil Wolf Open, the second event in the GEICO PBA Summer Swing series, will air next Tuesday, June 18, at 7 p.m. ET. The preliminary rounds of the Wolf Open was contested on a 32-foot lane condition pattern – the shortest of the eight PBA “animal patterns” – at AMF West. Advancing to the finals at AMF Bowlero were top qualifier Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio; PBA Hall of Famer and 37-time Tour champion Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla.; 20-year-old rookie E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind.; PBA Hall of Famer and 37-time titlist Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., and four-time Tour winner Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa.
To find CBS Sports Network in your home market, visit: http://www.cbssportsnetwork.com/channel-finder.
LUCAS OIL BADGER OPEN
AMF Bowlero, Wauwatosa, Wis.
Final Standings: 1, Jake Peters, Decatur, Ill., $8,000. 2, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., $5,000. 3, a-Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., $4,000. 4, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, $3,000. 5, Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., $2,000.
Stepladder Results: Match One – Haugen def. Pilon, 224-180. Match Two – Lorincz def. Haugen, 215-170. Semifinal Match – Peters def. Lorincz, 265-174. Championship – Peters def. Blanchard, 245-212.