When the top bowlers from the qualifying rounds of the PBA50 National Championship were announced for the five-person step-ladder final, you knew it couldn’t be anything but a slugfest.
The top finalist was Norm Duke, who had won 38 PBA titles and three PBA50 events and pocketed more than $3 million.
Second in qualifying was Ron Mohr, one of the latest inductees into the PBA Hall of Fame.
The No. 3 qualifier was Lennie Boresch Jr.
Boresch had won three PBA50 titles, including two at Spanish Springs Lanes.
The No. four qualifier was Walter Ray Williams Jr., who is a seven-time Player of the Year and has won a record 47 PBA titles plus 11 PBA50 events and more than $4 million.
The final qualifier was Parker Bohn III.
Bohn had won 35 PBA titles and four PBA50 titles and more than $3 million.
There was also a local touch to the finals, as Williams lives in Oxford and Duke in Clermont.
In the end, it was Boresch who once again made The Villages feel like home by winning his third event at Spanish Springs Lanes, defeating Duke 198-192.
Boresch went to the line in the 10th frame knowing he needed two strikes for the win.
It was Boresch’s first major tournament victory and his fourth PBA50 win overall. After converting the second and winning strike, Boresch slid down the lanes on his knees with a big show of emotion.
“I stepped up to the line knowing I needed a double to win,” Boresch said. “It is something you dream about all of your life. I had to move a little to my right at the end.”
Boresch seems to have found a home in The Villages.
“It is always special to come down here. It’s like family,” he said. “It reminds me of being a kid. Everyone is so friendly. I have some friends who have moved down here. I just like the whole scenario.”
Both bowlers’ beginnings were rocky.
Duke led 27-23 after two frames.
“I was thinking if he left a pin, I still had a chance,” Boresch admitted.
Duke was able to open an advantage until he ran into an 8-10 split in the eighth frame, which slowed his momentum and opened the opportunity for Boresch.
The first match of the evening was between No. 4 Williams and No. 5 Bohn.
Williams ran into a split in the opening frame while Bohn jumped on top with a strike.
A seven-bagger beginning in the second frame and a split by Williams in the sixth gave Bohn a big lead.
Like the all-star he is, Williams strung some strikes at the end to lose by a respectable 257-221.
Bohn then faced Boresch.
Boresch had a pair of four-baggers in the game and Bohn had trouble sticking pins, getting numerous nine-counts.
Boresch won out 248-221.
Boresch advanced to play Mohr.
Boresch threw strikes on seven of his first eight balls to open a big advantage.
Mohr closed the contest with seven consecutive strikes, but it wasn’t enough, as Boresch triumphed 242-232.
Besides his purse money and trophy, Boresch was presented a green jacket. The jacket is symbolic of the winner of the National Championship.
Making the presentation was Bob Chamberlain, who lives in The Villages.
Chamberlain won the PBA National Championship in 1984 in Toledo.
It was announced that Spanish Springs Lanes will host next year’s PBA50 National Championship around Easter time.