With four matches ahead of him to win the PBA Wolf Open title in Wednesday’s CBS Sports Network stepladder telecast, Tom Daugherty’s strategy was to use a ball that would limit the chances for mistakes and give him the best chance to succeed on the 32-foot Wolf Open lane condition to kick off the five-event PBA Fall Swing television series.
Using a less-aggressive urethane ball throughout the finals, the No. 4 qualifier ended a four-year drought since his first PBA Tour win by defeating top qualifier Francois Lavoie, 212-192, in the title match at Thunderbowl Lanes.
In a match that was basically even through six frames, Lavoie, a 24-year-old rookie, ran into trouble in the seventh frame when he failed to convert a 2-4-8 spare. Despite the mistake, the native Canadian still had a chance to win by striking on the first ball in the 10th, but he left the 2-8-10 split.
Making a change to a urethane ball to reduce over-reaction was part of an equipment overhaul Daugherty made earlier this season.
“I’ve always felt my execution was fine but that it was time to go in a different direction with the equipment I was using,” Daugherty said.
“As far as bowling on the shorter lane conditioning pattern and potentially bowling four matches, going with the urethane works best for me because it gives me better control,” he added. “I thought if I could win the first match, I would get more confident. I could deal with the (lane condition) transitions by just keeping the ball swing down and make the adjustments with my release.”
The Riverview, Fla., player started his climb up the stepladder finals with a 198-183 win over 2016 USBC Masters winner Anthony Simonsen of Princeton, Texas, before beating 2007-08 Player of the Year and 18-time Tour winner Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, in match two, 193-169.
The win over Barnes set up the semifinal against three-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte where Daugherty fired a barrage of strikes to easily defeat the Australian two-hander, 255-225. Belmonte was trying for his 13th career title and first title of the 2016 season.
“I’ve wanted that second title for a long time,” said Daugherty, whose first win came in the 2012 PBA Scorpion Championship. “It seems more real when you win more than one (title). I didn’t want to be a one-hit wonder.”
Lavoie’s runner-up finish was his best of the season. The former Wichita State University collegiate star topped his third-place in the PBA Downums Waste Services Jonesboro Xtra Frame Open.
Fall Swing telecasts on CBSSN continue with the Bear Open on Sept. 28; Badger Open on Oct. 5, Detroit Open on Oct. 12 and the King of the Swing special event on Oct. 19. All shows air at 9 p.m. ET.
PBA WOLF OPEN
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich., Wednesday
1, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., $10,000.
2, Francois Lavoie, Canada, $5,000.
3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, $4,000.
4, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, $3,500.
5, Anthony Simonsen, Princeton, Texas, $3,000.
Match One – Daugherty def. Simonsen, 198-183.
Match Two – Daugherty def. Barnes, 193-169.
Semifinal Match – Daugherty def. Belmonte, 255-225.
Championship – Daugherty def. Lavoie, 212-192.