Norm Duke wins his 34th career title and $80,000 in 68th U.S. Open

    02/28/11

    2010-11 PBA Tour #10 / 2011 World Bowling Tour #3

    Mika Koivuniemi misses 10-pin in final frame to hand Duke the title

    201011PBA10NormDuke.jpg201011PBA10MikaKoivuniemi2.jpgNorm Duke (pictured left) of Clermont, Fla., won his 34th Professional Bowlers Tour title and seventh career major in the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier Sunday with a stunning 225-216 victory over Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, Mich., when Koivuniemi missed a 10 pin spare in the 10th frame.

    Duke, the tournament's top qualifier, closed his game with four consecutive strikes, to force Koivuniemi to mark in the 10th, but the Finnish native, one of the best spare-shooters in professional bowling, uncharacteristically missed the single-pin spare attempt (pictured right).

    With his victory, Duke earned $80,000 and moved into a tie for fourth place on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour's list of all-time title-winners with fellow PBA Hall of Famer Mark Roth.

    "You'd like to say to yourself I just won the U.S. Open, and maybe I'll grow into that, but right this minute, I feel like Mika lost the U.S. Open," Duke said.

    "But I'm sitting here, holding the trophy. I had conceded the match. I knew the last four strikes were important, because you never know what'll happen. But missing the 10 pin is like having your ace pitcher on the mound and he throws four straight balls, and you lose."

    Duke knew exactly how Koivuniemi felt on his spare attempt because in 2008, when Duke won his first U.S. Open title to complete the PBA Triple Crown and Grand Slam, he had to convert the 2-4-5-8 "bucket" in the 10th frame to win.

    "I couldn't feel my legs on the approach on that shot," Duke said. "That's what happens under pressure. That's why guys miss three-foot putts. And it's fatigue. I'm exhausted. If I had to make a 10 pin to win, it would be suspect at best.

    "It's not like I didn't deserve to win," Duke added. "I was the top qualifier. I did throw four strikes in a row, after leaving a solid 8 pin in the eighth frame. I did what I needed to do"

    201011PBA10RyanShafer2.jpg201011PBA10TommyJones.jpgKoivuniemi, the No. 3 qualifier for the U.S. Open stepladder finals, eliminated Ryan Shafer (left) of Horseheads, N.Y., 236-222, in Sunday's first match. The key shot in that match was a pocket 7-10 split by Shafer in the eighth frame, following a double that ended his hopes for his first major title in a record 12 appearances in major championship television finals.

    Koivuniemi, the only player in PBA history to reach the television finals in all four PBA major championships in a single year, eliminated Tommy Jones (right) of Simpsonville, S.C., in the semifinal match, 241-158. Jones left splits and failed to convert in the fourth, sixth and eighth frames.

    "Duke is one of the greatest players ever. I knew it was going to be a tough match," Koivuniemi said. "I took the biggest shot of my life in the 10th frame and left the 10 pin, but unfortunately I didn't make my spare. It was my nerves, I guess. I was thinking about the wrong things. This is the first time in my life I've lost a title like that."

    "I sat there stunned, shocked," Duke said. "I can't remember ever winning a PBA title sitting on the bench. I knew I had just won the U.S. Open, but at that moment, my only thought was Mika had lost. I was just like a fan watching in the living room. How could you not feel badly for him?

    "Mika will be fine, he'll bounce back. He's going to be our Player of the Year," Duke said. "But he'll never forget that one."

    Over the past five years, PBA Tour players have a 95.9% success rate in converting the 10 pin on 710 attempts on national television.

    The Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour's next event is the Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship which begins Wednesday at AMF Thruway Lanes in Cheektowaga, N.Y. The four-player stepladder finals will air live on ESPN Sunday, March 6, at 1 p.m. Eastern.

    Brian Ziesig of Levittown, N.Y., is the defending champion. Live coverage of qualifying and match play will be webcast on Xtra Frame, pba.com's exclusive video streaming service.

     


    Related Articles


    Norm Duke earns No. 1 seed for Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open finals
    Tommy Jones limps into U.S. Open lead after Match Play Round Two
    Fast start propels Norm Duke into Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open lead
    Bill O'Neill leads top 24 into match play portion at U.S. Open
    Defending Champ Bill O'Neill charges into Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open lead
    Fero Williams overcomes 141 game to retain U.S. Open lead after Round Two
    Ohio amateur Fero Williams takes first round lead in U.S. Open
    U.S. Open title in 2010 capped breakthrough season for Bill O'Neill
    Three days of Live TV set as U.S. Open returns to New Jersey

     


    68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open


    Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J. (Feb. 21-27, 2011)

    2011PBAUSOpenLogo.jpgChampionship Round:
    1, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 225 (1 game), $80,000
    2, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 693 (3 games), $40,000
    3, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 158 (1 game), $20,000
    4, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 415 (2 games).$13,000
    5, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 387 (2 games), $11,000
    6, Dan MacLelland, Saginaw, Mich., 150 (1 game), $10,000

    Playoff Results:
    Match One: No. 6 O'Neill def. No. 5 MacLelland, 204-150
    Match Two: No. 4 Shafer def. O'Neill, 193-183
    Match Three: No. 3 Koivuneimi def. Shafer, 236-222
    Semifinal Match: Koivuniemi def. No. 2 Jones, 241-158
    Championship: No. 1 Duke def. Koivuniemi, 225-216

    2010-11 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour Schedule and Champions