Jack Jurek of Lackawanna admits he's had confidence problems during his career on the Denny's Professional Bowlers Association Tour.
After going undefeated in match play and earning the top seed at the 2006 United States Bowling Congress Masters on Friday at AMF Bowlero Lanes in suburban Milwaukee, the self-described journeyman hopes to put his nerves on hold for one more game.
Jurek needs just one victory in today's finals (ESPN, 1 p.m.) to claim the $100,000 first prize and Frank K. Baker trophy.
In 20 years as a PBA member, Jurek has just one title, which came 11 years ago, and will make his second television appearance since 1998.
"My lack of success out here probably comes from a confidence issue," Jurek said. "I didn't have a lot of success early on in my career, so that takes away some of the belief you have in yourself over time. So anytime I got in position to win, nerves did sometimes get the best of me."
Jurek will be joined on the TV finals by amateur George Lambert IV of Wellandport, Ont. Doug Kent of Newark, N.Y., and reigning PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones of Greenville, S.C.
Jurek went 6-0 in match play, beating PBA stars such as Brad Angelo, Robert Smith and Jones along the way. He defeated Lambert, 695-654, to earn the top seed.
"Everything has happened so fast . . . so I don't think everything has settled in so far," Jurek said after his victory over Lambert Friday. "My dad hasn't been in great health, so this is a great thing for him."
In the opening match Sunday, Jones, who won four titles last season, will take on Kent, the 1991 Masters champion and the winner of the GEICO Classic at AMF Thruway Lanes last February. The winner will face Lambert, a Team Canada member since 2000 who bowls for Wichita State University, for the right to take on Jurek.
"No matter who I face, I'm going to have to bowl a very good game," Jurek said. "George probably has the least experience, while Tommy and Doug have both won majors."
The finals of the $350,000 Masters will be held at the Wisconsin Exposition Center, located at State Fair Park in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis.