PBA50 Tour rookie Michael Haugen Jr.
of Phoenix, a five-time winner on the PBA Tour, won the Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open presented by Storm Friday for his first title on PBA’s tour for players 50 and over.
In a championship where both players could not find a consistent line to the pocket, Haugen (pictured above with the eagle trophy) defeated Brian LeClair (right) of Delmar, N.Y., 173-158, in the championship match at the Suncoast Bowling Center in Las Vegas.
“It wasn’t pretty but winning ugly is part of the deal in this sport, too,” said Haugen, who was the top qualifier for the finals. “I didn’t do it the way I wanted but a win is a win.”
Both players opened in the first frame which was a sign of what was to come for the rest of the match. LeClair, who was trying for his third win of the season, handed the match to Haugen when he left the 3-6 in the eighth frame and missed both pins on his spare attempt.
“While I was waiting for the title match I could see the lanes (conditions) were changing quickly and it was going to be a challenge,” Haugen said. “For the first part of the game I usually play the pins and then I start playing my opponent.
“When Brian missed that spare I had to make an educated guess and try to make something happen. Fortunately, I guessed right, got the strike in the ninth and finally felt comfortable about keeping the ball in play to finish the match.”
It was Haugen’s second major title on the national stage with his first coming in PBA’s signature tournament, the Tournament of Champions in 2008. In 2003, he finished second to PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. in the PBA Tour’s U.S. Open.
“When you’re bowling for a major title like this, strange things can happen,” Haugen added. “You just call on all the experience you have and hope it’s enough.”
Previously this season, Haugen had three championship round appearances with best finishes of third in the PBA50 Players Championship and Pasco County Florida Open. He also finished fifth in the Race City Open.
LeClair, the no. 4 qualifier got off to a strong start winning the opening stepladder match, 224-193, against Australian Andrew Frawley (right). He then went on to beat three-time PBA50 Tour winner Lennie Boresch Jr. of Kenosha, Wis., 220-191, before edging out Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Twp., Mich. in the semi-final, 185-183.
Sullins’ (left) third-place finish was his fifth top-five in the Senior U.S. Open. In addition to a runner-up finish in 2016, he has another third-place finish, which came in 2011, fourth in 2009 and fifth in 2010. He was trying for his second PBA50 major title with his first coming in the 2009 PBA Senior World Championship.
Trying for his third consecutive Senior U.S. Open title, Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., faded in the final round of match play finishing 13th for the tournament.
The season’s other PBA50 major winners were Bryan Goebel, who won the PBA50 Tour Miller Lite Players Championship, and Williams, who won last week’s USBC Senior Masters.
The PBA50 Tour takes a five-week break before resuming July 24-27 with the PBA50 South Shore Open presented by DV8 at Olympia Bowl in Hammond, Ind.
Michael Haugen Jr. leads top 20 into final day at Senior U.S. Open
Brian LeClair averages 222 to top PBA Senior U.S. Open Qualifying
Norm Duke moves to the top at PBA Senior U.S. Open
Mike Scroggins takes PBA Senior U.S. Open first round lead
2017 PBA50 Tour Schedule & Champions
Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open, presented by Storm
Suncoast Bowling Center in Las Vegas, Nev., USA (June 11-16, 2017)
1, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 173 (1 game), $10,000
2, Brian LeClair, Delmar, N.Y., 787 (4 games), $6,000
3, Harry Sullins, Chesterfield Twp., 183 (1 game), Mich., $4,500
4, Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., 191 (1 game), $4,000
5, Andrew Frawley, Australia, 193 (1 game), $3,500
First Match: No. 4 LeClair def. No. 5 Frawley, 224-193
Second Match: LeClair def. No. 3 Boresch, 220-191
Semifinal Match: LeClair def. No. 2 Sullins, 185-183
Championship: No. 1 Haugen def. LeClair, 173-158.
Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open – Seventh Round Standings
Players with position, hometown, match play record and 42-game total, including match win bonus pins. Top five advanced to stepladder finals.
1, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 18-6, 9,802
2, Harry Sullins, Chesterfield Twp., Mich., 15-8-1, 9,683
3, Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., 16-7-1, 9,659
4, Brian LeClair, Delmar, N.Y., 13-10-1, 9,588
5, Andrew Frawley, Australia, 14-9-1, 9,554
6, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 11-12-1, 9,540, $3,000
7, Bob Learn Jr., Erie, Pa., 13-10-1, 9,520, $2,700
8, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 12-11-1, 9,517, $2,400
9, Mika Koivuniemi, finland, 12-11-1, 9,510, $2,200
10, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 13-11, 9,501, $2,000
11, Ted Staikoff, Black Hawk, S.D., 12-12, 9,469, $1,950
12, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 14-10-0, 9,467, $1,900
13, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 13-11, 9,435, $1,850
14, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 9-15, 9,420, $1,800
15, Eddie Graham, Centerville, Ohio, 12-12, 9,341, $1,750
16, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 14-10, 9,287, $1,700
17, Ron Mohr, Las Vegas, 12-12, 9,255, $1,650
18, Brian Voss, Centennial, Colo., 11-12-1, 9,247, $1,600
19, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 11-12-1, 9,173, $1,550
20, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 7-17, 8,954, $1,500
Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open – Sixth Round Standings
Players with position, hometown, match play record and 36-game total, including match win bonus pins. All players advanced to seventh round.
1, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 13-5, 8,351
2, Harry Sullins, Chesterfield Twp., Mich., 13-5, 8,298
3, Bob Learn Jr., Erie, Pa., 11-6-1, 8,242
4, Brian LeClair, Delmar, N.Y., 10-7-1, 8,196
5, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 11-7, 8,175
6, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 12-6, 8,170
7, Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., 12-5-1, 8,161
8, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 8-9-1, 8,159
9, Andrew Frawley, Australia, 11-6-1, 8,121
10, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 10-8, 8,106
11, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 9-9, 8,084
12, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 8-9-1, 8,046
13, Ted Staikoff, Black Hawk, S.D., 9-9, 8,012
14, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 6-12, 7,982
15, Ron Mohr, Las Vegas, 9-9, 7,929
16, Brian Voss, Centennial, Colo., 8-9-1, 7,915
17, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 9-8-1, 7,876
18, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 11-7, 7,838
19, Eddie Graham, Centerville, Ohio, 7-11, 7,808
20, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 6-12, 7,748