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Bowling is a physical activity, so it behooves everyone to do some type of warm-up before throwing that first ball down the lane.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bill Vint | PBA Media Relations
Professional Bowlers Association | 719 Second Avenue, Suite 701 | Seattle, WA 98104
33-time PBA Tour champion relishes challenge of pressure-packed final day
NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (Feb. 25, 2011) – Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., won his first six matches and lost his next two, but his strong start was enough for him to overtake defending champion Bill O’Neill and Southampton, Pa., and take the lead in the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier Friday.
Duke, a 33-time Professional Bowlers Association champion and one of two players (Mike Aulby, Indianapolis) to complete the PBA Grand Slam of major championships, advanced from third to first with a 34-game total of 7,662 pins, including match play bonus pins. Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., was second 83 pins behind Duke, with O’Neill third at 7,527 pins.
Also leading the bid for six spots in the stepladder finals were Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte in fourth place, amateur Marcus Berndt of Sweden – a Wichita State University student – in fifth and Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., in sixth place.
Duke was in control of the round until the final two matches which were televised live on ESPN2 for the first time in PBA Tour history.
“The television lights were a bother, blinding at times,” Duke said. “I applaud the PBA for putting this element into the event. We need to do things like this, but you also have to make perfect shots at US Open. It was hard to do, for all of us. We bowl our finals on TV and those of us who have done that have some experience with the lights, but those lights were blinding at times. I’d never experienced anything quite like it.
“But we do this for a living and we know about it. Next time, I’ll know to bring sun glasses.”
Despite closing with two losses, Duke was pleased to be the leader of the pack.
“When you start an event with 380 people and with one day left, you’re in lead, I’ll take it,” he said. “In my position at 46 years of age, it’s all about winning. I’ve done a lot in my career. I’m building a legacy and winning another U.S. Open would add to that. I see myself with multiple U.S. Open titles, even though I don’t have them yet. You have to believe, and I believe.
“The majors are everything to me. The majors cement your place in history, and this is the hardest title, bar none, to win. I won the U.S. Open in 2008 and it took me 27 years to do it. That one was for everything: the grand slam, the triple crown. I’m glad I don’t have that hanging over my head any more. The only thing bothering me now is, can you win or can’t you?
“Tomorrow the pressure increases exponentially,” Duke added. “Your hands sweat. The players will be scared, confident, excited. They’ll run the gamut of all of the emotions. When the day is done, they will be physically and mentally drained, and that’s how I like it.”
Following Saturday’s final two eight-game match play rounds, the top six will advance to the stepladder finals. The first two matches will air live on ESPN2 Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern when the No. 5 qualifier will bowl against the No. 6 qualifier, with the winner taking on the No. 4 player.
Saturday’s winner will join the top three finalists for Sunday’s championship round at 3 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. First prize in the final major championship of the 2010-11 PBA Tour season is $80,000.
During Saturday’s match play rounds,the PBA website's Xtra Frame video streaming service will provide live coverage of key matches as part of 70 hours of live online coverage during the week To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit the PBA website and click on the Xtra Frame logo.
68TH LUMBER LIQUIDATORS U.S. OPEN
Brunswick Zone-Carolier, North Brunswick, N.J., Friday
FIFTH ROUND (after 34 games, including match play records and bonus pins):
1, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 6-2, 7,662.
2, Tommy Jones, Greenville, S.C., 4-4, 7,579.
3, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 4-4, 7,527.
4, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 6-2, 7,420.
5, a-Marcus Berndt, Sweden, 7-1, 7,413.
6, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 4-4, 7,379.
7, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 4-4, 7,352.
8, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 4-4, 7,323.
9, Dan MacLelland, Saginaw, Mich., 4-4, 7,306.
10, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 7-1, 7,285.
11, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 4-4, 7,275.
12, a-Mark Clark, Naperville, Ill., 5-3, 7,250.
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