PBA Spare Shots: Norm Duke Turns 50, Makes PBA50 Debut in Pasco County Open April 12-15

by Bill Vint March 26, 2014 04:19

The PBA50 Tour will make its 2014 debut April 12-15 when Lane Glo Bowl hosts the Pasco County Open in New Port Richey, Fla. Among the field of 100-or-so players will be another PBA Hall of Famer making his PBA50 debut.

Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., turned 50 on Tuesday. Duke, who still holds the PBA record as the youngest player ever to win a PBA Tour title, will join the ranks of 50-and-older players 31 years after that memorable event. Duke was 18 years and 345 days old when he defeated Tom Milton of St. Petersburg, Fla., 238-204, to win the 1983 Cleveland Open.

Duke, who is tied for third place on the all-time PBA Tour titles list with fellow PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber – last year’s PBA50 Rookie of the Year – is eligible for PBA50 competition in 2014 along with 33-time PBA Tour winner and hall of famer Parker Bohn III (who turned 50 last July, at the close of the 2013 season), along with PBA Tour titlists Dave Arnold (New Year’s Day), twin brothers Mike and Mark Scroggins (March 12) and Rick Steelsmith (June 1).

Duke wasn’t sure if he wanted to bowl on the so-called senior tour or not, but as his 50th birthday grew closer, he examined his options more closely and decided he should participate.

“I polled some of my close friends and they all told me I’d be missing the boat if I didn’t bowl,” he said. “Not only will my fans want to see me compete, but maybe I can do some good for the senior tour. Look at what Pete (Weber) has done, and Walter Ray (Williams Jr.) and Mark Roth and Earl Anthony before them. It began to make sense, and Storm – my ball sponsor – also wanted me to be there.

“That’s what I needed to hear,” he continued. “If my sponsors think it’s important, it’s important to me. My career goal, from the very beginning, was to bowl against the very best in the world and beat them, but when you look at it from the viewpoint of what your sponsors want, it’s a whole different landscape.”

But Duke said he isn’t going to approach the PBA50 Tour as a leisurely hobby.

“I’m going to be prepared. I’m not going to approach this like it’s retirement,” he said. “It’s something I’ll take very seriously. I’m not going just to play; I’m going to compete.

“I thought about Pete and Walter Ray and Amleto (Monacelli) – guys who were the heroes while we were all bowling on the PBA Tour – I don’t remember bowling in events when those guys weren’t my competition. So I want to go out there on the PBA50 Tour and equal or exceed what they’ve already done. It’s like starting my quest all over.”

Duke said his current plan is to bowl the first three PBA50 Tour events in Florida and North Carolina, plus the PBA Senior U.S. Open and USBC Senior Masters in Las Vegas in June. At that point he’ll re-assess his plans for the duration of the PBA50 Tour’s 12-event 2014 schedule.

XTRA FRAME GEARS UP FOR PBA50 TOUR COVERAGE

The PBA50 Pasco County Open from Lane Glo Bowl in New Port Richey, Fla., will be the first of several PBA50 Tour events covered live on PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. Start-to-finish coverage of the Pasco County event (won last year by Bob Learn Jr.) begins with qualifying rounds on Sunday, April 13, and continues through the match play eliminations on Tuesday, April 15.

To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link. Monthly subscriptions are $7.99; a full year of Xtra Frame coverage, which includes access to a huge archive of past telecasts, interviews and instructional materials, is available for $64.99.

ROOM RATES AVAILABLE FOR SUMMER SWING AT OKLAHOMA’S GRAND CASINO RESORT

PBA members, amateur bowlers and fans who are planning to attend the Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort PBA Summer Swing in Shawnee, Okla., are urged to use a special online link to obtain the special $99-per-night room rate. To reserve your room at the special PBA rate, visit http://usgcr.webhotel.microsdc.us/ and enter 140516SUMM in the Group Code Box. Or you can call the Grand directly at 405-964-7777 and mention the PBA Summer Swing to obtain the preferred rate.

PBA REGIONAL ROUNDUP: AULT NEARLY PERFECT IN PORTLAND WIN

Thomas Ault Jr. of Portland, Ore., was nearly perfect in defeating top qualifier Wayne Garber of Modesto, Calif., 298-187, to win the PBA Northwest/West DV8 Open at Caveman Bowl in Grants Pass, Ore., on Sunday, March 23.

The win for Ault, who left a pocket 7-10 on his final shot in the title match, was his fifth in PBA Regional competition and included a $2,000 first prize.

Kevin Vostry of Plainfield, Ill., defeated Darryl Traber of Waterford, Wis., 214-170, to win the PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open presented by MOTIV at Showtime Lanes in Virden, Ill., Sunday for a $1,500 first prize and his first PBA Regional title.

Gary Morgan of Atlanta, Ga., defeated Bill Keenan of Orlando, Fla., 230-225, 185-235, 258-155, in the best-of-three-game title match to win $1,600 and his 14th PBA Regional title in the PBA50 Fayetteville Southern Open at LaFayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C., Sunday.

Andy Patterson of Tyler, Texas, defeated Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, 236-202, to win $2,500 and his fifth PBA Regional title Sunday in the inaugural PBA San Angelo Southwest Open, presented by Ebonite, at Stadium Lanes in San Angelo, Texas.

David Kneas of Annapolis, Md., doubled in the 10th frame to defeat Jeff Zaffino of Warren, Pa., 201-186, to win the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Eastern Open at Rossi Lanes in Elmira, N.Y., Sunday. Kneas earned $2,200 along with his eighth career PBA Regional title.

● Closing out the March schedule will be the PBA50 Boys and Girls Club Midwest/Central Open presented by Columbia 300 at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville, Ill., and the Bowlers Discount Eastern Open at Brunswick Zone Normandy in Ellicott City, Md.

For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area.

QUICK NOTES

Reminder: The starting time for Sunday’s ESPN telecast of the PBA League semifinal showdown between L.A. X and the New York City WTT Kingpins has been changed to 5 p.m. ET.

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