Lackawanna's Jack Jurek captured his first Professional Bowlers Association tournament title Saturday. How appropriate that the long-awaited victory came in a stomach-turning finish to -- the Tums Classic.
Jurek survived a 10th-frame scare and beat David Traber, 231-228, in the nationally televised final. He earned $25,000 and a berth in the Brunswick World Tournament of Champions April 18-22.
"I guess I'll have to clear my schedule that third week in April," the 31-year-old Jurek said. "I only planned on bowling 10 or 12 events this year, but now I may have to re-evaluate my schedule. I'm not sure if this is really happening to me; it hasn't sunk in yet."
Neither player opened in the first nine frames of the final, but neither managed to put together more than three consecutive strikes. Traber was coming off a three-bagger going into the ninth, but left a 10-pin and coverted the spare for a 2-pin lead.
That gave Jurek a chance to close out the match. He struck in the ninth and entered the 10th frame needing two strikes and three pins for the win. He got the first strike, but left the 2-4-5-8 on his second shot to open the door for Traber.
Traber got up in the 10th needing two strikes and four pins for his second win in four weeks. Like Jurek, he struck on his first shot, but left a solid 7-pin on his second shot. The spare conversion left Traber three pins short of Jurek and he settled for the second-place check for $13,000.
"Jack gave me a chance to perform in the 10th and I couldn't have thrown it any better," Traber said. "Sometimes they just don't fall."
Jurek, a part-time pro bowling in just his eighth tournament in the last two years and his fourth this year, debuted on the tour in 1986 and placed fifth as the fifth seed in a stepladder finals. He returned to a final again in 1989 and placed fourth as the fourth seed. His best performance of the '90s was an eighth-place finish in Markham, Ont., in '93.
Jurek co-owns the pro shop at Transit Lanes along with former PBA Tour member Brad Kiszewski.
Dave D'Entremont opened the Tums finals with a 259-205 victory over Steve Wilson, but D'Entremont was beaten, 279-218, in the second match by Danny Wiseman. In turn, Wiseman was beaten, 244-237, by Traber in the semifinal.