Bud Light PBA National Championship
$300,000 BUD LIGHT PBA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Imperial Lanes, Toledo, Ohio, Mar 22-28, 1992
Forkel Becomes First Double Winner Of 1992; Wins Bud Light PBA National Championship
Eric Forkel became the PBA Tour's first double victor of the '92 season with his win at the $300,000 Bud Light PBA National Championship at Ducat's Imperial Lanes. Forkel, Chatsworth, Calif., won four games en route to the $55,000 first prize, including a 217-133 championship game triumph against hard-luck leading qualifier Bob Vespi.
Explaining his lopsided margin of victory against Vespi, Plantation, Fla., Forkel Said, "Bob lives and dies by the big gun. Sometimes a singles and doubles hitter overcomes the player who swings for the fences. In my opinion, that's what happened here. I think a low-scoring pace favors me. The 10th frame was the loosest my arm swing had ever been," he joked, referring to the outcome having already been determined when he tossed his final shots.
Vespi opened with a strike, then suffered back-to-back open frames and would not strike again until the seventh frame, when Forkel held a 38-pin lead. Vespi came back with a spare and then another pair of open frames, while Forkel closed with a four-bagger.
Vespi was frustrated in being denied his first PBA title for a third time this year as leading qualifier, and said, "It seemed as though I bowled 56 games in another center. I'm not satisfied with the way I bowled or the shot I bowled on. All I know is I averaged 224 all week and then shoot 130 on TV. Maybe the best answer for me is to finish sixth and avoid all this frustration. I don't want to take anything away from Eric, who bowled great all week and is a tough clutch bowler," Vespi said.
Forkel continued, "I was super-nervous today and a couple of my ugly shots proved it. Earlier in the year I argued with a reporter who'd written about fans not wanting to see 'no-name' players win, which new champions don't appreciate reading either. I know we're not household names, but there are a lot of very talented young players out here capable of winning on any given week. Bowling balls have changed and the game is constantly changing. I think winning was meant to be for me this week," he said.
Forkel also collected a three-year exemption into the Firestone Tournament of Champions for his "major" win in the first of professional bowling's "Triple Crown" tournaments. His afternoon began by defeating fifth-seeded Adam Colton, N. Lauderdale, Fla., 201-155.
Next up was 1987 PBA Rookie of the Year Ryan Shafer of Elmira, N.Y., who allowed Forkel an opportunity to advance when he tallied only a six count on his last shot. Forkel then struck out in his 10th frame and squeaked past, 202-100. In the semifinal game, Forkel fought past Bryan Goebel, Merriam, Kan., 213-208. Goebel was hoping to bring home a third PBA title and first "major," which would've been dedicated to his late father, who died of a heart attack just three weeks earlier and had never witnessed his son's earlier titles.
PLAYOFF RESULTS-Forkel defeated Colton, 201-155; Forkel defeated Shafer, 202-200; Forkel defeated Goebel,213-208; and in the championship game, Forkel defeated Vespi, 217-133. 56-GAME TOTALS OTHER CASHERS *-Match play alternate. 32-game qualifying leader-Ryan Shafer, 7186. 24th place-Doug Kent, 6850. 75th place-David Guindon, 6551. #-Justin Hromek, Dave Arnold and Ryan Shafer rolled 300 games ($100 each). PRO-AM CASHERS-Rick Steelsmith, Frank Ellenburg, Steve Jaros, Randy Pedersen, Robert Lawrence, Bill Oakes, Bob Handley, Curtis Odom, Rod Singer, Del Ballard Jr., Billy Young, John Forst, Leroy Bornhop and Richard Wolfe ($50 each).
*-Match play alternate. 32-game qualifying leader-Ryan Shafer, 7186. 24th place-Doug Kent, 6850. 75th place-David Guindon, 6551. #-Justin Hromek, Dave Arnold and Ryan Shafer rolled 300 games ($100 each). PRO-AM CASHERS-Rick Steelsmith, Frank Ellenburg, Steve Jaros, Randy Pedersen, Robert Lawrence, Bill Oakes, Bob Handley, Curtis Odom, Rod Singer, Del Ballard Jr., Billy Young, John Forst, Leroy Bornhop and Richard Wolfe ($50 each).