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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Ron Mohr acknowledges the audience at Pro Bowl West after winning the PBA60 Dick Weber Championships on Thursday afternoon.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Sammy Ventura competing in the PBA60 Dick Weber Championships at Pro Bowel West on Thursday afternoon.  

Friday, August 17, 2018 1:00 am

City native bowls his way to title

Mohr final qualifier for stepladder finals, then beats other 4

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

On Tuesday, Ron Mohr was bowling so poorly – by his standards, anyway – that he was worried he would not be among the 32 bowlers to advance to match play at the PBA60 Dick Weber Championship.

On Thursday, Mohr was bowling so well in the final round that he made strikes in each of the first seven frames of a game – and then decided his lead was wide enough that he could experiment, testing the lane for information. 

That scouting paid off in the championship match at Pro Bowl West as Mohr hit three strikes in the 10th frame to beat Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Township, Michigan, 237-235. 

Mohr, a 62-year-old Fort Wayne native who has won 12 PBA50 and PBA60 events since joining the senior league at age 52, was 43rd after the first round of qualifying. He said he'd never come from so far behind to claim a title. 

“Not to win; I've had some where I maybe make the show, and then just can't get any farther than that,” Mohr said, referring to the final, which is often televised or streamed online. “So this is a pretty big first. I'm pretty vain, but I'm pretty proud of myself for not giving up and just working hard and seeing what happens.”

Mohr, who now lives in Las Vegas, pulled into 25th place Wednesday morning to sneak into match play, and then improved to sixth place with a strong round in match play that afternoon. 

“After last night's block, I knew I was going to be competitive, and I just didn't know how far I was going to get,” Mohr said, referring to Wednesday's afternoon session. “Obviously, the fifth spot is what I was trying to get to ... I was getting closer and closer.”

Mohr was the fifth and final qualifier for the championship round, which might have been the key to his success. In a stepladder final, the fourth- and fifth-place bowlers play a game head-to-head, and the winner advances to play the third-place player, and so on until the last undefeated player faces the tournament leader. 

Mohr beat fourth-place qualifier Chris Keane of Cape Coral, Florida, 288-215 in the first game, and then started his match against third-place Brian Voss of Centennial, Colorado, with seven strikes. 

“The perfect game, in that sort of situation, is actually not the goal,” Mohr said. “The goal is to beat your opponent. And when that is already confirmed, then you start experimenting to see if you can find something else, create a margin for error, because you know you're going to be bowling again.”

In the semifinal, Mohr beat Sammy Ventura of Syracuse, New York, who bowled a 184 – his worst game of the tournament. 

“The right lane was really nice, and I was able to strike on that lane every time,” Ventura said. “But the left lane, the left lane created havoc. I never got a strike, not once. When that happens, and I threw some really good balls and I got nine, that's the end of the story.”

Ventura said that when there is a tricky lane like the one during Thursday's finals, there is an advantage to being one of the lower-ranked players to make the finals. 

“I was telling my wife earlier: I said, it's nice to be seeded higher up, because you're guaranteed more money,'” Ventura said. “But I said, if I had my druthers, I would rather bowl from the bottom. Because if I win the first match – and both guys are even-keeled in their first match, they're figuring out the lanes together – then you just go up the ladder. You got to figure it out. The guy coming in doesn't have them figured out.”

vjacobsen@jg.net