LAS VEGAS – For reigning PBA Senior Player of the Year Ron Mohr, his win in the 2011 Etonic Senior U.S. Open was the launching pad for one of the most dominant Senior Tour seasons in PBA history. That’s why he’s looking forward to the first Senior Tour major championship of the 2012 season June 3-8 at the Suncoast Bowling Center.
Leading into last year’s U.S. Open, the Eagle River, Alaska, resident had started his season with finishes of fourth, third, second and a win in the Senior Mooresville Classic. But his Senior U.S. Open victory, where he defeated PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. in the championship match, 246-189, was really the starting point of what became a dream year. He went on to win two more tournaments and had only one tournament all season where he finished lower than fourth place, finishing 13th in Decatur, Ill.
This season, Mohr is getting off to a more modest start with finishes of fifth, 21st, 13th and second, but he’s confident the Senior U.S. Open can create the needed spark for another run at Senior Player of the Year honors.
“Heading into the U.S. Open, the race is pretty wide open,” said Mohr, who was also the 2009 Senior Player of the Year. “We’ve had four different winners in four tournaments and it’s as competitive as ever with a lot of excellent players becoming eligible for the Senior Tour this season, so a win in the U.S. Open can put me right back in contention.”
Mohr is especially looking forward to the U.S. Open because he likes to bowl at Suncoast. Prior to his win in 2011, he finished second to Mark Williams in the 2010 Senior U.S. Open at the same center.
“I’m one of those players who likes a longer format. I think it favors me and I’ve kept a winning attitude. I feel as well prepared if not better than last year,” said Mohr. “Bowling 50 games over the course of the tournament is a lot and with a format where pins carry over after each round, there’s always that little extra pressure to not give pins away. It’s going to be a more challenging condition than we usually face, so making your spares is always especially important. Giving just 10 pins away can be critical.”
As the season approaches the halfway mark, the players who have won in the first four events this season are Senior Tour “rookie” Lennie Boresch Jr.; Walter Ray Williams Jr., rookie Bob Learn Jr. and PBA Hall of Famer Johnny Petraglia. All four titles were memorable for each player.
Boresch won the Senior Sun Bowl In the Villages in his Senior Tour debut the same week he was inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame.
Williams won the Senior Don Carter Memorial for his third career Senior Tour title the same week his father passed away and after a PBA Tour season in which he ended his 26-season streak of making a television finals appearance.
Learn won the Senior Mooresville Classic in just his third tournament competing on the Senior Tour.
Petraglia made PBA history when his win in the Senior Dayton Classic made him the first player to win a PBA Tour or Senior Tour event in six different decades. That win was especially important for Petraglia because he’s likely to miss most of the rest, if not all, of rest of the season due to shoulder surgery.
Like its U.S. Open counterpart on the PBA Tour, the Senior U.S. Open is one of the most demanding tournaments in professional bowling. The four players will have to survive 51 games of qualifying and match play to reach the stepladder finals.
Competition begins Monday, June 4, with the first of three six-game qualifying rounds. Qualifying continues Tuesday and Wednesday. The top 25 percent of the field will then advance to a nine-game cashers’ round Thursday to determine the top 24 players who will advance to round-robin match play Thursday afternoon and Friday. The stepladder finals will get underway at Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. PT.
All qualifying, match play and stepladder rounds in the Senior U.S. Open will be covered live on PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame logo.
ETONIC PBA SENIOR U.S. OPEN PRESENTED BY SUNCOAST
Suncoast Bowling Center, Las Vegas (all times Pacific)
Sunday, June 3
8-9 a.m. - A Squad practice
9:15-10:15 .am. - B Squad practice
10:30-11:30 a.m. - C Squad practice
Pro-Am squads to follow
Monday, June 4
7 a.m. – Squad A, 6 qualifying games
10:45 a.m. – Squad B, 6 qualifying games
2:30 p.m. – Squad C, 6 qualifying games
Tuesday, June 5
7 a.m. – Squad B, 6 qualifying games
10:45 a.m. – Squad C, 6 qualifying games
2:30 p.m. – Squad A, 6 qualifying games
Wednesday, June 6
7 a.m. – Squad C, 6 qualifying games
10:45 a.m. – Squad A, 6 qualifying games
2:30 p.m. – Squad B, 6 qualifying games
Cut to the top 25% of the field
Thursday, June 7
7 a.m. – 9-game cashers round
Cut to the top 24
2 p.m. - Top 24, 8 games match play
Friday, June 8
7 a.m. - Top 24, 8 games match play
Noon - Top 24, 8 games match play
Cut to the top 4
3:30 p.m. – Top 4 advance to stepladder finals