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LeClair Wins Pasco County Florida Open For Second Career PBA50 Tour Title


NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. – An open in the 10th frame of the championship match by PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., enabled tournament top qualifier Brian LeClair of Delmar, N.Y., to win the PBA50 Pasco County Florida Open at Lane Glo Bowl for his second career PBA50 Tour title.

After LeClair finished with 191 in the title match, Duke needed to mark in the 10th to win but left the 2-4-8-10 split which he failed to convert finishing with 187. It was the fourth consecutive runner-up finish for Duke in the Pasco County Florida Open.

“I’ve lost a few that way, so it was nice to be on the winning end this time,” said an emotional LeClair, whose brother Kevin passed away of natural causes in February. “I don’t know what else to say but I think someone was maybe looking down on me today.”

After breezing to wins in the first three stepladder matches, Duke, trying for his fourth
career PBA50 Tour title, struggled in the title match throwing splits that he failed to convert in the first three of four frames. He rallied back with five consecutive strikes but the missed split in the 10th ended his title hopes.

“I could see how that could have happened to Norm because I was having trouble with that
right lane, too,” LeClair said. “If I had it to do over again I would have made another ball choice but I decided to stick with it because I could see Norm was struggling. Fortunately, I was able to fill the frames when I needed to.” Duke, the No. 5 qualifier, opened the stepladder finals with a 258-215 win over No. 4 qualifier two-time PBA50 Player of the Year Ron Mohr of Las Vegas who was trying for his ninth PBA50 Tour title and first since 2012. It was yet another top-five finish without a win for Mohr who had a combined eight PBA50/PBA60 top-five finishes in 2016 and finished second to Hall of Famer Tom Baker in the PBA60 Killer ‘B’ Open which concluded on Monday.

Duke then went on to beat No. 3 qualifier Stoney Baker of Canton, Ga., who was making his first PBA50 finals appearance, 266-202, before defeating five-time PBA Tour winner Michael Haugen Jr. of Phoenix, who was making his PBA50 Tour debut, 241-227, in the semi-final.

As the top qualifier, LeClair dominated taking a 9-3 match play record and 180-pin lead into the finals over Haugen who was the No. 2 qualifier.

Article was posted with permission from Stars & Strikes, America's Bowling Newsmagazine.

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