Dave Soutar Concludes Career in PBA Senior Decatur Open After More than Half-Century of PBA Competition
DECATUR, Ill. -- Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Dave Soutar ended his career in PBA competition in appropriate fashion during the final day of qualifying of the PBA Senior Decatur Open presented by Brunswick Monday — before a big crowd and throwing three strikes in the 10th frame of his last game.
It brought an end to more than a half-century of PBA competition for the 72-year-old who won 18 titles on the PBA Tour and seven on the Senior Tour.
“He was my roommate on Tour and has been a close friend for 50 years,” fellow Hall of Famer and competitor Johnny Petraglia said of Soutar. “It marks the end of an era and it’s going to be tough bowling out here without him.”
Soutar, who was the only player to win both the United States Bowling Congress Masters (1973) and Senior Masters (2000), finished the Senior Decatur Open in 52nd with a 3,183 pinfall and a 214 in his final game in qualifying.
“It wasn’t until the last game that I thought about it being my last tournament,” said Soutar, “Then I saw people gathering around and it started to hit me. I don’t show much emotion but I started to get tears in my mind in the 10th frame—so much so that I couldn’t see my target. With everyone gathering around I thought to myself, please let me strike in the 10th frame. It was probably as nervous as I’ve ever been bowling in a tournament.”
Soutar began his care in 1961 and in only his fifth tournament as a professional, he won a major – the PBA National Championship – for his first PBA title. From that launching pad to stardom, he would go on to win 11 titles over the next seven years, finishing in the top 10 in earnings six times over that same period.
His best season came in 1970 when he won five titles, the most of any player on Tour that year. In what he admitted was his biggest disappointment, he did not earn Player of the Year honors that season. That distinction went to another Hall of Famer Nelson Burton Jr., who won four titles. Soutar’s consolation prize was the PBA’s prestigious Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award, awarded by his fellow competitors.
A member of both the PBA and USBC Halls of Fame, Soutar was voted 20th greatest PBA player of all-time in 2009.
“I have to admit that realizing I’m not going to be doing this anymore, is a little depressing, but time goes on,” added Soutar, who now makes his home in Bradenton, Fla., but got his start in the sport in his native Detroit.
As the crowd gathered for his last game, Soutar’s wife, Hall of Fame bowler Judy Soutar, was also hanging on every shot in the last game of his career.
“I so much wanted him to bowl a good game that last game,” Judy said. “As it turned out it was the ultimate ending for a great career. When he got the first strike I was satisfied but the next two were just a bonus.”