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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Darryl Bower of Middleton, Pa., rolled a 255 game in the finals to win Saturday's PBA60 Dick Weber Championship at Pro Bowl West.

Sunday, August 13, 2017 1:00 am

PBA60 champ likes relaxed atmosphere

Bower wins 3 games to claim local title

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

Darryl Bower remained cool, calm and collected as he won the stepladder finals at the PBA60 Dick Weber Championship at Pro Bowl West on Saturday, defeating David Axon 255-208 in the final.

“I get caught up and fast with my feet so one of the keys this week, I was able to stay soft with my feet,” said Bower, 61, “and just the atmosphere in general, bowling with bowlers that I've known for a lot of years.

“We respect each other's talents. It's not really cutthroat. A lot of bowlers competed against each other years and years ago and it's always good to see them back bowling. It's a lot of friendly competition instead of going out and beat your opponent.”

Bower opened the championship with four strikes, left the 7-pin in the fifth frame and followed with a 4-6-7 split that allowed the game to get closer. He kept a 135-129 lead after the sixth frame and was able to adjust his shot to close the game.

“I was just trying to keep calm, make my spare and come back with a better shot in the next frame,” Bower said. “I thought the left lane was starting to hook a little bit more. I thought I made a good shot but the ball hooked early on me so I corrected that the next time over. Fortunately I made the right guess.”

Bower entered the stepladder finals in third and advanced through to the final after a 280-192 win over Hugh Miller and 234-206 win over Kenny Parks.

“I felt very confident after that (first-game 280),” Bower said. “(Getting adjusted to how the lanes are rolling is) an advantage if you get by the first game and get a win, it's definitely an advantage after that.”

Overall, Axon, 61, felt good about his performance in the tournament despite falling in the championship.

“I did pretty well (for the tournament),” he said. “I told myself this week that to be a champion, I had to bowl like one, and I thought I bowled good. Sometimes they fell, sometimes they didn't. Mine didn't.

“I got a little amped up, hyperventilated a little but made some good shots. That's all you can do. Once the ball leaves your hand, it's done.”

None of the bowlers in the top five had won senior national titles. Axon is inching closer with his third trip to the championship. He jumped from third to first after Saturday morning's qualifying to enter the stepladder finals in the lead.

“I did a little change in my hand position this morning and got some really good breaks and took advantage of them today,” Axon said. “(Friday), I had a rough time especially going into the tournament, made some adjustments today and shot 800 the last three. ... It's nice to lead a tournament. When you have this many very good bowlers out here, it's still special to lead it.”

Axon values the camaraderie of the senior tournaments because of the more relaxed yet still competitive nature.

“I've been out here for a little over 10 years,” Axon said. “These guys are out here, it's not all blood and guts. We're old and we still want to win and it's just fun. The guys are just really great to be around.

“Whether you bowl good or whether you bowl bad, they're always there. It's just fun to compete. I didn't get to do it when I was young because I was in the military. I came out when I was 50. My wife lets me come out and play so I just had a lot of fun.”

areichel@jg.net