Brian LeClair became just the second player this season to win back-to-back titles Thursday night as he won the PBA50 South Shore Open.
LeClair defeated Sammy Ventura, 214-203, at Olympia Lanes in Hammond, Indiana, to win his fifth career PBA50 Tour title just a week after winning the PBA50 River City Extreme Open.
The only other player this season to win in back-to-back weeks was when Walter Ray Williams Jr. won the first three events of the season. Williams missed this week’s event in compete in the PBA League.
LeClair trailed in the championship match until the eighth frame when he struck for a double to go up by four. When Ventura stepped up in the ninth frame, he got the ball a little wide and left a 2-10 split for an open, handing LeClair a 16-pin advantage.
LeClair took full advantage of the mistake, striking in the ninth frame, which allowed him to throw the ball up the middle of the lane in the final frame to secure the win. It was a gutsy move, however, that almost backfired.
His final-frame shot sliced right through the headpin and left the 4-6-7 split. He knocked down the 4-7 to shut Ventura out by a pin. Had he left the Big Four and gotten two, Ventura would have had a chance to strike out to tie.
Ventura, who was seeking his first career PBA50 title, survived a high-scoring semifinal against Harry Sullins, 268-245, to advance to the championship match. Both players were perfect through four frames before Sullins was the first to blink, leaving a seven pin in the fifth frame.
Ventura took his string of strikes to the front eight before getting the ball a little wide and leaving a two pin in the ninth. Sullins had a chance to put some pressure on Ventura in the final frame by striking out but left a half 10 pin on his first shot.
Ventura found himself in a tough battle with Ron Mohr in the second match of the semifinal before pulling away down the stretch to win 223-177. A pair of big strikes in the eighth and ninth frames helped Ventura seal the victory.
Mohr trailed by just three pins heading into the seventh frame when he left a 1-6-10 washout, which he converted. The trouble continued into the ninth frame on that lane when he went high and left he 3-6-10, which he chopped to essentially end his night.
Ventura overcame a shaky start to blast past Ryan Shafter in the opening match, 227-198.
Ventura left a 2-10 split for an open in the first frame and followed it up by converting the 2-4-8-10 split in the second frame. He got on track in the fourth frame and struck five consecutive times to all but put the match away.
The PBA50 Tour heads to Anderson, Indiana, for the PBA50 David Small’s Championship Lanes Classic, which begins Sunday live on FloBowling.