$120,000 FLAGSHIP OPEN
Eastway Lanes, Erie, PA, Apr 2-6, 1996
Perfection! Learn Delights Hometown Crowd With 300 Game And Title
Perfection comes in many forms, but for Bob Learn Jr. it came in the form of a $100,000 check after he shot the 10th televised perfect game in the history of the PBA's national tour during the finals of the Flagship Open at the Erie Civic Center.
Learn, an Erie resident performing in front of a soldout hometown crowd, started the ABC-TV telecast with a 300-279 victory over Johnny Petraglia. The perfect game earned him a $100,000 bonus courtesy of Eastway Lanes, which hosted the 42 games of qualifying and match play throughout the week. Learn then went on to win his next three matches to collect his third title and $30,000.
Said Learn, "I could never do anything to match what I've done today. The 300 game, winning the title, the $100,000 and all with my family here and in front of thousands of people in my hometown. It's hard to imagine ever doing something like this."
Lean, who turned 34 two days before the telecast, was never afforded the luxury of a big lead in the opening match. Petraglia, from Manalapan, N.J., matched the veteran, finishing first, calmly struck out to keep the pressure on Learn. Amazingly, Learn still needed a strike to secure the win in the 10th.
Oddly enough, it was Petraglia who shot the last televised 300 game on ABC-TV. He also earned a $100,000 bonus when he shot a perfect game during the championship round of the 1994 PBA National Championship in Toledo, Ohio. This time, he settled for the fifth-place check for $5,000.
Learn proceeded to steamroll his way to the title, shattering PBA records along the way. He struck 10 times in match two against John Mazza including all three in the deciding 10th frame, for a 270-268 victory. Mazza, Shelby Township, Mich., earned $8,000 for fourth.
He struck 11 times in the semifinal match against Parker Bohn III and again needed all three in the 10th for a 280-279 win. Bohn, Jackson, N.J., collected $10,000 for third.
Eleven more strikes followed in the title match against tournament leader Randy Pedersen. Pedersen, Hollywood, Fla., failed to strike only twice, converting a 2-8 leave in the fifth for a spare and making a single-pin conversion of the 10-pin to open the 10th frame, but was defeated 279-257.
When the dust had cleared, a number of PBA records had been set. Learns three and four-game TV totals of 850 and 1,129 easily broke the records of 815 (Jim Stefanich in 1975) and 1,070 (David Ozio in 1995). Learn averaged an incredible 282.25 for his four games. The five finalists averaged 276.50 for their eight games, shattering the previous TV aggregate average mark of 253 set in the 1995 Erie event. Learn struck 44 times in four games and his 300 game was his 52nd sanctioned perfect game, tying him with two others for the world record.
PLAYOFF RESULTS-Learn defeated Petraglia, 300-279; Loam defeated Mazza, 270-268: Learn defeated Bohn, 280-279; and in the championship game, Learn defeated Pedersen, 279-257. @-Learn earned $100,000 for bowling a300 game. 42-GAME TOTALS OTHER CASHERS *-Match play alternate. 18-game qualifying leader-Parker Bohn III, 4398. 24th place-Mike Aulby, 4046. 53rd place-Robby Callan, 3944. #-Doug Kent, Steve Wilson, John Mazza (2), Jeff Lizzi, Parker Bohn III, Roger Bowker, Joe Firpo, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Greg Newtson, Robby Porter and Ken McNeely rolled 300 games ($100 each). PRO-AM CASHERS-Ron Palombi Jr., Danny Wiseman, Mike Aulby, Eric Forkel, Bryon Smith and Tim Weisbrod ($50 each). t-Non-PBA member.
*-Match play alternate. 18-game qualifying leader-Parker Bohn III, 4398. 24th place-Mike Aulby, 4046. 53rd place-Robby Callan, 3944. #-Doug Kent, Steve Wilson, John Mazza (2), Jeff Lizzi, Parker Bohn III, Roger Bowker, Joe Firpo, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Greg Newtson, Robby Porter and Ken McNeely rolled 300 games ($100 each). PRO-AM CASHERS-Ron Palombi Jr., Danny Wiseman, Mike Aulby, Eric Forkel, Bryon Smith and Tim Weisbrod ($50 each). t-Non-PBA member.