Throwing his traditional rocket to the pocket, Eugene McCune of Munster, IN, successfully defended his Professional Bowlers Association Cheetah Open presented by Ebonite title Sunday at Fountain Bowl.
McCune, who was the top qualifier for the stepladder finals, defeated PBA Hall of Famer and 35-time Tour titlist Pete Weber of St. Ann, MO, 245-229, in the championship match for his third career win.
“Anytime I can play outside on the lane and throw it hard it plays in my favor,” said McCune who estimated he was throwing the ball at a little over 20 miles per hour.
“It’s old school and that’s where I feel most comfortable.” McCune won his second career title last season when, as tournament leader, he defeated Norm Duke, 238-237, to win the Cheetah Championship. It was during the match play round of that event that McCune broke the PBA nine-game scoring record with a 2,468 pinfall (274.22 average). In this year’s Cheetah Open, conducted on PBA’s Cheetah lane conditioning pattern, he averaged 253 for the tournament.
“When I bowl on this condition there’s a little pressure because I know I need to take advantage of it,” he added. “I was a little worried after the first two frames of the tournament when I had open frames but I went to a different ball and made a couple of other adjustments and got back on track.”
McCune was the first player to successfully defend a Tour title since Chris Barnes won back-to-back events in Columbus, Ohio, in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. The landmark Cheetah Open was the first PBA Tour event streamed live exclusively on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel.
Three more Xtra Frame events are scheduled during the remainder of the season.
“It was going to be a good match because he’s one of the best on this pattern and I match up real well in this house,” said Weber, who was trying for his 36th Tour title.
“It was a good match for a while until I had a couple bad shots.” In the semifinal match Weber defeated former Wichita State University star Josh Blanchard of Gilbert, AZ, 248-165. Blanchard was rebounding after his fall on the approach during the PBA World Championship Mike Aubly Division final seen on ESPN two weeks ago. Blanchard went on to finish 16th in the World Championship. In the opening stepladder match, Weber defeated fellow Hall of Famer Duke, 237-226, to advance to the semifinal.
PBA CHEETAH OPEN PRESENTED BY EBONITE Fountain Bowl, Fountain Valley, Calif., Sunday
FINAL STANDINGS: 1, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., one game, 245 pins, $10,000.
2, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., three games, 714 pins, $5,000.
3, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., one game, 165 pins, $3,000.
4, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., one game, 226, $2,500.
PLAYOFF RESULTS: Match One – Weber def. Duke, 237-226. Semifinal match – Weber def. Blanchard, 248-165. Championship match – McCune def. Weber, 245-229. MATCH PLAY RESULTS After 22 games, including match play records and bonus pins.
Top four advanced to stepladder finals 1, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 8-5, 5,814.
2, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 10-3, 5,809.
3, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 7-6, 5,806.
4, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 7-6, 5,692.
5, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 9-4, 5,684, $2,300.
6, Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 6-7, 5,651, $2,100.
7, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 6-7, 5,641, $2,100.
8, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 7-6, 5,620, $1,800.
9, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 6-7, 5,606, $1,750.
10, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 8-5, 5,602, $1,800.
11, Stuart Williams, England, 8-5, 5,596, $1,650.
12, Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, 8-5, 5,592, $1,800.
13, PJ Haggerty, Roseville, Calif., 5-8, 5,554, $1,550.
14, Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 3-10, 5,535, $1,700.
15, a-Shigeo Saitoh, Japan, 8-5, 5,515, $1,450.
16, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 5-8, 5,475, $1,600.
17, John Szczerbinski, North Tonawanda, N.Y., 6-7, 5,424, $1,550.
18, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 8-5, 5,417, $1,300.
19, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 4-9, 5,364, $1,275.
20, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 5-8, 5,338, $1,238.
20, a-Lowell Huber, Westminster, CA, 7-6, 5,338, $1,238.
22, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 6-7, 5,313, $1,300.
23, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 6-7, 5,259, $1,175.
24, a-Takashi Kudoh, Japan, 3-10, 5,147, $1,150.
a = amateur