Bowling: Calm, collected Ronnie Russell wins PBA Super Regional
By Steve T. Gorches 314-3797 or email@example.com July 20, 2013 11:24PM
Updated: August 22, 2013 7:07AM
TINLEY PARK, Ill. — It wasn’t too long ago that Ronnie Russell was considered among the short list of top Professional Bowlers Association members who didn’t have a title.
Then the Marion native finally broke through at a PBA event in Germany earlier this year.
It took a while — the 33-year-old has been a PBA member for 10 years — but he said it was just a matter of learning some valuable lessons.
“I’ve learned how to stay patient in key moments and that’s helped me relax,” he said. “I don’t have fear anymore when I’m in those moments.”
And it showed on Saturday in the PBA super regional at Tinley Park Bowl. When it seemed like everything was going against him in the first six frames of the championship match against Tom Daugherty of Wesley Chapel, Fla., he stayed relaxed, thought out the problem, fixed it, and finished perfectly to pull out a 225-196 victory.
In addition to another regional title, he won $15,000, which is the highest PBA regional payout ever.
“It really does feel like a national title,” he said.
It did to fans, too, with the majority of the 16 match play finalists well-known national players who have been on ESPN telecasts multiple times.
Russell won three matches in the stepladder finals to earn the title, defeating 14-time titlist Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., 269-211, then beating six-time winner and reigning PBA player of the year Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 215-166 to reach the final.
But after six frames against Daugherty, Russell’s chances looked slim. He only had one strike and was getting visibly frustrated with the left lane on which he left three pocket 10-pins. It took three ball changes to find the solution, and he finished with the last six strikes.
Daugherty, on the other hand, had four strikes in his first five frames, but only had one in his last five frames to give Russell an opening.
“He was lost, throwing different balls, and I had a good look,” said Daugherty, who was still more than happy with his $7,500 payday that’s more than twice as much as the average regional first-place check. “It changed in the second half of the game like it did all weekend and I had a feeling I wouldn’t strike late.”