Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bob Learn Overcomes a Strong Field to Win PBA50 Pasco County Suncoast Open Benefiting Wounded Warriors

Overcoming a back injury suffered in qualifying, Bob Learn Jr. of Erie, PA, won the
PBA50 Pasco County Suncoast Open Benefiting Wounded Warriors Wednesday at Lane Glo Bowl for his second career PBA50 Tour title.

In the first tournament of the 2013 PBA50 Tour (formerly Senior Tour) season, Learn defeated PBA Hall of Famer Wayne Webb of Columbus, Ohio, 226-206, in the championship match.

Learn, also a five-time PBA Tour winner, injured his back when he slipped slightly on his approach during the fourth frame of the first game of Tuesday’s second round of qualifying which caused a sprain in his lower back. He managed to struggle through the rest of the round but didn’t know how long he would last.

With the help of Gulf Coast Spinal Center, one of the tournament’s sponsors, Learn was able get treatment on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning to at least make an effort to bowl in Wednesday’s match play.

“I thought I might have to withdraw after a couple games in the second round of qualifying but I managed to struggle through it,” said the 51-year-old Learn. “The treatment helped to the point where I felt good enough to at least start match play but I had no idea how far I could go after that. The expectation was not to win but maybe make it through a match or two.

“I felt about 20 percent yesterday but felt about 80 percent today,” said Learn, who had to win five matches to get to the championship match.

“I was actually getting better as the day went on and was probably in my best shape when I had some of my toughest matches toward the end of the day.”

One of those matches was the semifinal where Learn defeated Hall of Famer and reigning PBA50 Player of the Year Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, FL, 229-216, to advance to the championship match.

Webb, who was trying to win his sixth PBA50 Tour title, defeated Tim Kauble of Marion, Ohio, in the other semifinal match, 245-206.

Woman amateur standout Lucy Sandelin of Tampa, who qualified third, was eliminated in the Round of 16, losing to Mike Dias of Lafayette, CO, 3 games to 1.

The United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer was making a bid to become the first woman to win a PBA50 Tour tournament.

The next stop for the PBA50 Tour will be The Villages, FL, for the PBA50 Sun Bowl In The Villages presented by Hammer April 20-23.

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