FAIRBORN — The nation’s top bowlers are constantly on the go, hitting the road to the next tournament just moments after having played another tournament. And so I was curious to learn just how tiny little Bowl 10 Lanes off Broad Street in Fairborn matched up with the other bowling houses the pros played throughout the year.
Proprietor, competitive bowler and tournament organizer Dave Flemming and the rest of the Bowl 10 staff should be very proud.
The Bowl 10 staff applied the PBA50 Tour’s prescribed oil pattern — named PBA Johnny Petraglia 37 — onto the house’s 20 lanes. The tough lane conditions, combined with the humidity in the atmosphere made for a very competitive bowling environment.
Using a scoring formula created by Dayton PBA bowler and Classic finalist Brian Kretzer, where bowlers continue to accrue points throughout the tournament rather than start over after each elimnation round, legendary bowler Walter Ray Williams Jr., of Oxford, Fla. had bowled 19 games and had to at least mark (record a spare or a strike) on his final ball of the 20th game in order to fend off runner up John Marsala, of St. Louis.
He did. Williams picked up a 10-pin spare, while it was Marsala who failed to mark in the final throw, earning Williams a 7-pin win in the final round of games, 237-230.
Flemming said the combination of the PBA50Tour’s oil pattern, Fairborn’s humidity, and Bowl 10’s AMF lane surface caused balls to be “very aggressive, so the ball tends to hook a little more than some other surfaces.
“Also a factor is the oil may break down or dissipate quicker, due to the ground temperature being higher and the higher humidity this time of year in this area.”
It made for a challenge that the pros seemed to appreciate.
“I liked the pattern in the practice sessions and for the tournament. Fortunately I was able to grind it out and make enough shots to do what I needed to win. It’s really nice that Dave set this tournament up for us as we’re going on our way to Minnesota, and we’re going to Freeport, Ill. which is also this week. Tomorrow, I’ll be playing horsehoes in Springfield, Ill. and then it’s back onto the bowling tour. Hopefully, I’ll continue doing well. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Yeah, Williams is not only a world-class bowler. He’s one of the best around in throwing horseshoes, too.
Marsala felt a change in the weather during Wednesday’s final round, switched bowling balls, and was back on his game. He said the humidity in Fairborn is similar to that of St. Louis.
“Hot, sticky and humid. I didn’t have any problems with the approaches here in the building. Conditions didn’t bother me at all. I was perfectly comfortable with it. I guess I was used to it. That helped me today, and this tournament will help us all get ready for the senior tour events from here on out.”
Talented Horsehead, N.Y. bowler Ryan Shafer said he appreciated the challenging PBA-style oil pattern. He too, found an atmospheric change in how his ball reacted from Tuesday to Wednesday, and so he worked to roll deeper down the lane before having his naturally hooking ball would break toward the pins.
“The good thing about this place is. I when they put the PBA patterns out throughout the tournament, I like when it’s a little tougher,” Shafer said. “It plays into my hand with the lanes being tougher. The house played to my advantage that way. I don’t know what it’s like when they bowl leagues here — I understand the scores are pretty high — but for a tournament where the shots are tough and the scoring isn’t that great, I kinda like that kind of a scoring pace.”
Kretzer, who is now the current points leader in the PBA50 Tour’s Central region after a runner-up finish in Las Vegas in June, and success in his last two regional events, was proud to be a part of the Fairborn event.
“This tournament holds its own. We had a solid field, and it went down to the 10th frame. Walter had to mark to win, so you bowl all those games and you still haven’t won yet. So the fans got to see some great bowling here this week,” he said.
The PBA50 Tour will be back in 2020. If you haven’t been to the tournament, you should check it out.