The PBA Senior U.S. Open is a marathon grind like no other for the 50 and older bowler so it should come as no surprise that Amleto Monacelli won it in his first year as a senior.
Monacelli always was in supreme shape during his years as one of the PBA Tour's greatest stars and it was clear that hadn't changed when I saw him at his USBC Hall of Fame induction in April, looking as trim and fit as ever.
In fact, the morning after the ceremony as my girlfriend and I were leaving the Arlington Sheraton we ran into Amleto in the hotel's fitness center working out.
I've been a gym rat for years and probably am in better shape than 99 percent of the PBA Senior Tour players, but believe me on the morning after my Hall of Fame induction in 2011 I was not in the hotel fitness center!
At the 2012 Etonic PBA Senior U.S. Open at the Suncoast in Las Vegas it took 51 games (plus many more in practice time) to get to the stepladder finals.
The survivors were not surprises: living legend Walter Ray Williams Jr., who earned the top seed after nearly missing the first cut; Monacelli, Wayne Webb, a two-time Senior Open champ and the stepladder field's third Hall of Famer; and Mike Edwards, the long-time touring pro, Tour champion and also a senior rookie.
In the opening match, Edwards topped Webb 268-244 in a typical score for the atypically high scoring Senior Open conditions.
In the semifinal match, Monacelli edged Edwards 235-225.
In the title match, Monacelli doubled in the 10th frame, forcing Williams to double for the win, but he left a solid 10-pin after getting a strike on his first shot as Monacelli won 255-247. The finish that was webcast live by PBA's Xtra Frame service is posted on YouTube here.
"I wanted to win the U.S. Open so badly on the national tour so that it is why I’m so happy to win the Senior U.S. Open," Monacelli, whose best U.S. Open finish was second in 1990, said in this PBA news release. "It is so unbelievable to win against one of the greatest bowlers of all-time — I’m just very happy."
"I was bowling well but had a couple bad shots in the last game. I threw a bad shot in the ninth frame and left the six pin and knew I gave a chance to Walter Ray. I was just lucky he didn’t get that second strike in the 10th frame."
Williams' second-place finish was his second straight in the Senior Open.
“It’s a strange game,” Williams said in the release. “I was able to hit the pocket but couldn’t strike in qualifying. I was able to claw myself back but I would have bet you a lot of money that I wouldn’t have made it to the finals.”
Monacelli was an international pioneer on the PBA Tour and now is an international pioneer on the PBA Senior Tour, becoming the first international player to win a title.
“I came here hoping to win but there are so many great bowlers on the Senior Tour,” he said in the release. “I’m very happy to be a pioneer for international players.”
The second senior major of the year, the USBC Senior Masters, starts Monday at South Point in Las Vegas.
2012 ETONIC PBA SENIOR U.S. OPEN
Suncoast Bowling Center, Las Vegas, Friday
1, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 490 (two games), $15,000.
2, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 247 (one game), $8,000.
3, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Oka., 493 (two games), $5,500.
4, Wayne Webb, Columbus, Ohio, 244 (one game), $4,500.
Match One – Edwards def. Webb, 268-244; Semifinal match – Monacelli def. Edwards, 235-225; Championship match – Monacelli def. Williams Jr., 255-247.
(51-game totals including match play record, total pins and money earned. Top four advanced to championship round)
1, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 16-8, 12,510.
2, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 13-11, 12,479.
3, Wayne Webb, Columbus, Ohio, 12-12, 12,386.
4, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 15-9, 12,319.
5, Hugh Miller, Seattle, 12-11-1, 12,260, $4,000.
6, Brad Snell, Mount Prospect, Ill., 16-8, 12,125, $3,500.
7, Ricky Beck, Box Elder, S.D., 15-9, 12,040, $3,000.
8, Mike Dias, Lafayette, Colo., 14-10, 12,026, $2,800.
9, Peter Knopp, Germany, 12-11-1, 12,012, $2,600.
10, Brian Voss, Alpharetta, Ga., 14-10-0, 11,928, $2,400.
11, Bob Learn Jr., Erie, Pa., 10-14-0, 11,925, $2,200.
12, Charlie Tapp, Kalamazoo, Mich., 12-12, 11,868, $2,000.
13, a-Barry Zimmerman, Grand Forks, N.D., 14-10, 11,866, $1,900.
14, Tom Baker, King, N.C., 11-13, 11,860, $1,800.
15, Rohn Morton, Vancouver, Wash., 12-12, 11,845, $1,750.
16, Mark Williams, Beaumont, Texas, 11-13, 11,839, $1,700 17, Joe Salvemini, Las Vegas, Nev., 12-12, 11,777, $1,675.
18, Bo Goergen, Sanford, Mich., 8-16, 11,757, $1,650.
19, Sammy Ventura, Syracuse, N.Y., 11-13, 11,712, $1,625.
20, Kenny Parks, Hammond, Ind., 10-14, 11,689, $1,600.
21, a-Terry Leong, Las Vegas, 8-16, 11,688, $1,575.
22, Marv Sargent, Temecula, Calif., 10-13-1, 11,632, $1,550.
23, John Dudak, Orland Park, Ill., 12-12, 11,531, $1,525.
24, Sal Bongiorno, Hollywood, Fla., 6-17-1, 11,226, $1,500.
300 Games — W.R. Williams, Mark Williams