Scott Norton wins Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship

    01/27/13

    2012-13 PBA Tour #10

    Back-to-back splits prove costly to challenger Sean Rash in title match

    201213PBA10ScottNorton2.jpgScott Norton (pictured left) of Mission Viejo, Calif., defeated reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 219-191, to win the Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship Sunday, January 27 at Thunderbowl Lanes for his third career title and second of the 2012-13 season.

    Back-to-back unconverted 4-9 and 4-6-7 splits in the fifth and sixth frames put Rash (right) in a 35-pin hole. He rebounded with a string of three strikes, but Norton continued to fill frames to maintain the lead. When Rash failed to strike in the 10th, Norton only needed seven pins in his 10th frame and the California left-hander threw three strikes to seal the victory.

    201213PBA10SeanRash.jpg"I knew Earl Anthony when I was a kid. My mother (women's professional hall of famer Virginia Norton) bowled on tour at about the same time, so I got to know him," Norton said. "To win the tournament named in his honor is really special.

    "I thought it was a lot to get one title in a year, let alone two," Norton added. "I don't even have the words. I knew I was throwing the ball well. I knew I was in a good place mentally. Last year I knew what it took to win, but this year, I just decided I'm out here because I love to bowl and compete, and for no other reason."

    201213PBA10ScottNorton.jpgNorton was frustrated that he was unable to put the match away early, given opportunities by Rash, but he said he has new-found confidence that he can ultimately get the job done.

    "Every time (Rash) gave me an opening, I couldn't close the door," he said, "but I have a little more determination now than I've had in the past. Every time I'm on that big stage, I know what I need to do."

    Norton, a practicing attorney when he isn't bowling on Tour, knows it's very early to start thinking about the PBA Player of the Year race, but moving into a tie with Mika Koivuniemi as the only two-time winners so far in 2012-13 at least puts him in the conversations.

    "If I win POY that's great," he said. "That's everyone's goal, but I can only do what I can do and the rest isn't up to me."

    Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship
    Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., United States (Jan. 25-27, 2013)
    Championship: Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif. ($25,000), def. Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill. ($13,000), 219-191.