Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio, ended his 167-event winless streak Sunday, defeating 13-time Professional Bowlers Association title winner Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla., 629-566, in the three-game title match of the Go RVing Match Play Championship at Norwich (Conn.) Bowling and Entertainment Center Sunday (March 21), according to PBA.com.
Kretzer, at age 43, became the sixth Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour competitor to win his first singles title during the 2009-10 season.
Kretzer, the No. 27 seed entering the 64-player single-elimination match play tournament, took a 192-185 lead after the first game, but ran away from Allen, the No. 21 seed, in the second game, 241-167. With an 81-pin lead going into the final game, it was a matter of filling frames. Allen’s 214-196 win in the third game wasn’t enough.
“It’s been a long time,” Kretzer said. “I’m happy and I know my mom’s happy. It’s nice to win, whether it’s your first time or your 10th. I had a lot of success as an amateur before I joined the PBA, but this kind of completes my career. Now I’ve won at every level.”
Kretzer said his new-found success was a matter of turning back the clock. “I went back to what I was doing in the `90s when I was an amateur,” he said. “I was carrying the ball through my approach instead of pushing. Now I can feel the ball again. I can do what I want to do with it. I could always hook the ball, but now I can play straighter, too.”
Playing straighter was critical because the Go RVing Match Play Championship used a different lane condition on each lane. The left lane on each pair used a long-oil Shark pattern while the right lane used a shorter Cheetah lane condition. Playing straighter on the Cheetah lane was the key to Kretzer’s victory, and the primary reason Allen struggled.
“The Cheetah lane was a little different than yesterday, but I threw a lot of bad shots,” Allen said. “I never got comfortable on that lane, and when you are playing two extremely different angles, if you’re not comfortable on one lane, you’re not going to be comfortable on either.
“Brian took advantage. When you get a guy down in a tournament like this, you’re supposed to stomp on him, and that’s what he did.”
Kretzer and Allen both grew up in the game as high-stakes amateurs. “We’ve known each other since we were kids,” Kretzer said. “We crossed paths a lot, even though we didn’t bowl each other head-to-head very often. He went on to win 13 PBA titles and I hadn’t won until today, but I do have one thing over him now,” Kretzer smiled. “He’s never beaten me in a title match.”
The Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour now heads to West Babylon, N.Y., where the GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship gets underway Wednesday at AMF Babylon Lanes.