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After elusive PBA win, senior seeks encore

Tommy Evans said he just couldn't help it when he broke down and cried after earning his first Professional Bowlers Association victory last month in Quebec.

"Twenty-five years of frustration just came to the surface, because the emotional rush of winning was so great," Evans said Saturday.

Evans and 239 other senior PBA pros begin qualifying this morning at Seminole Lanes in the $85,000 Pinellas Suncoast Pinwheel PBA Senior Open. Qualifying continues Monday and Tuesday. ESPN will televise Wednesday night's five-man stepladder finals.

Evans, a 51-year-old right-hander from Sunrise, had made the final five on four occasions this year without a title.

"It was getting so bad that at times I thought of quitting," Evans said. "In fact, I did quit the PBA for 3{ years, out of frustration. I just bowled in a regular league."

Evans set goals early in his long bowling career. "I wanted to do three things: roll a 300 game (he has 14), roll an 800 series (he has four) and win a national PBA title. I got the 300 early, but I didn't roll my first 800 until I was 34. I was beginning to think I'd maybe never get two out of the three. That's when I quit."

Evans made the PBA tour in Canada in 1968. Last year, he was fifth on the money list with $22,653. Gene Stus of Allen Park, Mich., broke that record with a 300 game this year, the first in the senior championship finals and only the sixth rolled on a PBA TV show.

If you follow the senior tour, you could see Evans' first victory coming. He finished third with partner Marc McDowell, PBA president, at the PBA Touring Pros/Senior Doubles Championship in August. He was second on the next two stops _ to Lon Marshall, the only amateur to win a senior event, and Barry Gurney.

"I was rolling real well, then I finished 28th in the Senior Championship and I thought: "Here we go again,' " Evans recalled.

"But I got it back in Canada and I finally got my first victory."

The schedule:

Today _ 8:30 a.m., 1 and 5:30 p.m. _ Pros bowl one eight-game qualifying block. Admission $5 all day.

Monday _ 8:30 a.m., 1 and 5:30 p.m. _ Pros bowl second eight-game qualifying block, with cut to 32 qualifiers. Admission $5 all day.

Tuesday _ 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 and 5:30 p.m. _ Eight-game match play for top 32 pros. Admission $7 all day.

Wednesday _ 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. _ Final eight-game match-play block for 32 pros. Cut to the top five. Admission $7, morning only.

Wednesday _ 7:30-9 p.m., live TV finals, ESPN cable TV. Admission $10.

The facts

What: $85,000 Pinellas Suncoast Pinwheel PBA Senior Open.

When: Today through Wednesday.

Where: Seminole Lanes, 8668 Park Blvd N, Seminole.

Who: 240 of the country's top senior men pros.

Up next:Elsewhere

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