Every bowler dreams of a 300 game. Every golfer dreams of a hole-in-one. But who dreams of accomplishing both within 48 hours? For Wayne Persang of Palm Harbor, it was no dream. On Jan. 11, he rolled 12 strikes in a row to notch a perfect 300 game while bowling in a league at Countryside Lanes in Clearwater. Two days later, he sank his first shot on the fifth hole during his weekly league play at Highland Lakes Golf Course in Palm Harbor. "I never thought it would happen to me, I'll tell you that," said Persang, 57. A bowler since childhood, Persang said he was in his 30s when he started aspiring to bowl a perfect game. "I've been close every year," Persang said. "All you need is that one extra lousy pin, and I could never get it."
When he got to the last ball of his 10th frame that evening two weeks ago, the pressure was on, Persang said. He thought about previous mistakes that had kept a perfect game just out of his reach. Then he gave himself a pep talk, reminding himself to roll "nice and easy and right through the ball."
He released the ball, but it didn't look good.
"I got it out a little farther on the alley (to the left) than I wanted it to," he said.
But then it curved in and hooked to the pocket, hitting the pins lightly and mixing them up.
"It's like a miracle," he said.
Persang and his wife of 34 years, Lynn, celebrated with champagne.
"I was so happy for him because he's always been a good bowler," said Lynn, 56. "That was our first date. When I was 16 and he was 17, he took me bowling."
Because the league is sanctioned by the American Bowling Congress, Persang will receive a perfect game ring.
Two days after his 300 game, Persang was playing golf in a foursome during league play at Highland Lakes, where he and Lynn live.
He wasn't having his best day golfing when he approached the fifth hole of the blue course. Another player in his group encouraged him.
Persang swung his 8-iron, connected with the ball and sent it sailing across the 138-yard, uphill par 3, where it dropped into the hole.
"I couldn't believe it," he said.
Eugene Harrison, who was part of the foursome, saw it.
"I certainly did," said Harrison, 81. "I was very, very pleased for him."
"He was really tickled," said league president Jim Bucenell.
Persang said he hoped to parlay his luck with Lotto tickets.
"I bought five of them, but I guess my luck ran out on the golf course."
Persang, who came to Florida from Pittsburgh in 2007 after retiring from the U.S. Postal Service, said his state of mind had a lot to do with his achievements.
"When you're a happy person, you're a lucky person."
Rita Farlow can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.