Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, ended his nine-year quest for a Professional Bowlers Association Tour title when he defeated four-time PBA Tour winner Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa., 264-231, to win the Lucas Oil PBA Wolf Open at AMF Bowlero.
The second of five GEICO PBA Summer Swing presented by Lucas Oil telecasts aired Tuesday on CBS Sports Network.
Loschetter, 33, who had finished second four times during a PBA Tour career that began in 2003 and included 153 previous events, followed a pair of poor shots in the third and fourth frames with a near-perfect finish to run away from O’Neill for the win. Loschetter entered the Wolf Open finals as the top qualifier, claiming that honor in the preliminary rounds at AMF West by two pins over PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla.
“I’ve put in thousands of hours in this game and to finally win is what matters to me,” Loschetter said. “To say I’m a champion is amazing. I didn’t think for a long time that was ever going to happen. It finally did.”
Loschetter admitted it was increasingly disappointing to know that O’Neill and Mike Fagan, among others – guys who started their careers about the same time he did – had titles while he was left behind.
“Bill’s an amazing bowler,” Loschetter said. “I got to see him and Fagan and all the guys coming up with me win, and it’s been very hard. I’ve been very happy for them because they’re great guys in addition to being great bowlers. But it’s been very hard to watch.
“I had a lot of people telling me to get that first win,” he added. “They mean well and I appreciated it, but it’s hard to keep hearing. I had to deal with all of those thoughts going through my head. I woke up at 7 this morning and I was thinking all of the crazy things that could happen. I had to let it go. I didn’t know if I could, but I did. Finally. I finally have a title. It’s my lifelong dream.”
Along with his first title, Loschetter qualified for the PBA Tournament of Champions for the first time and he secured a berth in the GEICO Summer King of the Swing special event, the concluding event of the Summer Swing.
O’Neill, who entered the finals as the No. 5 qualifier, nipped PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., 222-221, in the opening match. He then spoiled the PBA television debut of 20-year-old rookie E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind., 234-204, and used a string of six consecutive strikes to rally past Duke in the semifinal match, 233-206.
The Wolf Open was contested on a 32-foot lane conditioning pattern – the shortest in the PBA’s series of eight animal patterns.
The finals of the Lucas Oil Bear Open, the third event in the GEICO PBA Summer Swing series, will air next Tuesday, June 25, at 7 p.m. ET. The preliminary rounds of the Bear Open were contested on a flat 40-foot lane condition pattern – similar to the demanding pattern used in the U.S. Open – at AMF Bowlero. Advancing to the Bear Open finals were top qualifier Jason Belmonte, Australia; Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas; Loschetter; Dan MacLelland of Canada, and Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa.
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LUCAS OIL WOLF OPEN
AMF Bowlero, Wauwatosa, Wis.
Final Standings: 1, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, $8,000. 2, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., $5,000. 3, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., $4,000. 4, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., $3,000. 5, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., $2,000.
Stepladder Results: Match One – O’Neill def. Weber, 222-221. Match Two – O’Neill def. Tackett, 234-204. Semifinal Match – O’Neill def. Duke, 233-206. Championship – Loschetter def. O’Neill, 264-231.