SHALLOTTE, N.C. – In a showdown between two of the Professional Bowlers Association’s all-time greats, PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. beat fellow hall of famer and top qualifier Norm Duke, 259-237, in the title match Sunday to win the PBA50 Storm Invitational at Planet Fun Bowling & Entertainment Center.
Williams and Duke were part of an elite 14-player field that competed in the “all-star” non-title special event that featured the top 12 in points from PBA’s tour for players 50 and over plus invitees hall of famers Johnny Petraglia and Brian Voss.
Down by eight pins in the fourth frame of the title match, Williams, the PBA Tour’s career titles leader with 47 wins and an 11-time PBA50 Tour winner, took advantage of a missed 9-pin by Duke in the fifth frame and then struck on the next seven of eight shots to take the title.
“When I got done with practice I wasn’t real excited about how I was going to play the lanes,” said Williams, who turns 59 on Oct. 6. Going into the semifinal match I planned on playing the lanes straighter but I had to make an adjustment a little further inside and hook it a little more. When I go to the title match against Norm I started to feel pretty comfortable and didn’t miss the pocket.
“Both of us threw good shots in the title match,” Williams added. “I was fortunate that I only left two 10 pins.”
Both Williams and Duke, who is third on the all-time PBA Tour titles list with 38 wins and also owns five PBA50 Tour titles, have been bowling against each other in tour competition for more than three decades.
“We’ve been bowling against each other for a long time and he’s a great player,” Williams said. “When you bowl someone like Norm, you always feel fortunate to come out on the winning end.”
Williams finished the season fourth in points with three runner-up finishes and two other top-five finishes including fifth in the PBA50 National Championship. Duke, who finished fifth in points, had one title in 2018 and runner-up finishes in the PBA50 National Championship and USBC Senior Masters.
Williams, who qualified second for the finals after two seven-game match play rounds, defeated No. 3 qualifier five-time PBA Tour winner Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., 256-212, in the semifinal to advance to the title match against Duke.
Shafer, who finished ninth in points, had six PBA50 Tour top-10 finishes including a career best of second.
In the second match, Shafer beat USBC Hall of Famer and 2018 PBA50 National Championship winner Lennie Boresch Jr. of Kenosha, Wis., who qualified fifth for the finals, 257-222, to advance to the semifinal match against Williams.
In the opening match Boresch, who finished the season seventh in points, beat 2018 PBA50 Player of the Year and season points leader Michael Haugen Jr., of Phoenix, 225-207, to advance to the second stepladder match against Shafer.
Haugen, a five-time tour and three-time PBA50 Tour winner, had two wins, two second and two third-place finishes in 2018
PBA50 STORM INVITATIONAL
Planet Fun Bowling & Entertainment Center
1, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., $10,000
2, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., $5,000
3, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., $3,500
4, Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis. $2,500.
5, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, $2,000.
Match One – Boresch def. Haugen, 225-207.
Match Two – Shafer def. Boresch, 257-222.
Semifinal – Williams def. Shafer, 256-212.
Final – Williams def. Duke, 259-237.
SECOND ROUND RESULTS
(after 14 games. Includes match play record and total pinfall including bonus pins. Top five advance to stepladder finals)
1, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 8-5-1, 3,633.
2, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 10-4, 3,573.
3, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 10-4, 3,566.
4, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 8-6, 3,505.
5, Lennie Boresch Jr, Kenosha, Wis., 9-5, 3,494.
6, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 8-6, 3,449, $1,700.
7, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 8-6, 3,350, $1,600.
8, Brian Voss, Cornelius, N.C., 6-8, 3,257, $1,500.
9, Bob Learn Jr, Erie, Pa., 6-8, 3,241, $1,400.
10, Ron Mohr, Las Vegas, 4-8-2, 3,030, $1,300.
11, Johnny Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 5-8-1, 2,935, $1,200.
12, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3-11, 2,931, $1,100.
13, Harry Sullins, Chesterfield Twp., Mich., 4-10, 2,921, $1,050.
14, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 4-7, 2,436, $1,000, WD.