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Weber prevails in high-scoring duel

Pete Weber defeated Tommy Delutz Jr. 265-256 in one of the highest scoring finals in PBA history at the Medford (Ore.) Open on Sunday. The pros crashed the usually tough lane conditions with unusually high scores.

Weber struck three times in the final frame, forcing Delutz to also throw three strikes. Delutz left the 10-pin after his second shot, giving Weber his 30th career title, a $40,000 first-place check and a one-year tour exemption. Weber is fourth in all-time victories.

"I knew I had to throw three strikes in the 10th to put the pressure back on and I threw three great shots," Weber said.

Weber advanced to the final via a 197-195 semifinal win over Lonnie Waliczek. In a replay of last week's championship at the Earl Anthony Classic, Waliczek again had a chance to win by marking in the 10th frame, but left a 1-2-4-10 washout and converted only three pins. He earned $10,000 for third.

Delutz defeated Brad Angelo 279-211 in the first semifinal. Delutz rolled nine straight strikes to earn a $10,000 bonus from Cambridge Credit Counseling. In the wild-card match, Waliczek defeated Ryan Shafer 248-216.

Ricky Ward of North Fort Myers fired a 289 game, but lost when Tommy Jones shot a 300 game in the round of 16. Chris Barnes stopped Clermont's Jason Couch and Delutz ousted 10-time tour winner Steve Hoskins of Tarpon Springs.

In the round of 32, Angelo defeated Tampa's Tom Daugherty and Michael Fagan stopped Lake Worth's Steve Wilson. Ocala's Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Clermont's Doug Becker did not make the cut to 32.

WILLIAMS WINS: Williams needed three strikes in the 10th frame to stay alive against Waliczek in the finals of the Earl Anthony Classic at Seattle on Jan. 11, and he got them.

After Williams, a six-time PBA Player of the Year, finished his 211 game, Waliczek needed to mark to take the championship, but left the 1-2-4-6-10 washout and converted only two pins, handing Williams his 38th career title. Williams is second to the late Earl Anthony (41).

"I knew I needed to strike out to force Lonnie to mark," Williams said. "Marking isn't the easiest thing to do and it was devastating for him to do what he did. I know the feeling."

Williams struck in all but the fourth frame in the first semifinal to beat Mike Scroggins 279-243. Waliczek advanced to the finals by defeating Steve Jaros in the second semifinal. In the wild-card match, Waliczek defeated Clermont's Norm Duke. Waliczek earned $20,000, Jaros and Scroggins $10,000 each and Duke $9,000.

Wilson lost to Bob Learn Jr. in the round of eight. Tampa's Don Yoshihara, Ocala's Roger Bowker, Couch, Hoskins and Ward missed the cut to the top 32 players.

The tour is at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., for the ABC Masters. The finals will be aired live by ESPN on Sunday from 1-2:30 p.m.

REGIONALS RICHER: The PBA regional prize fund will be $600,000 richer for the 2004-2005 season, and more changes were announced by the PBA last week.

The boost in prize money was made in anticipation of an increase in regional entries, including bowlers who did not earn exempt status on the regular tour during the 2003-2004 season. Those bowlers now will try to earn their exemption through the seven regions.

Beginning with the 2004-2005 regional season, each region's points leader will earn an exemption to the tour's 2005-2006 season. That will guarantee the regional player at least $32,000 in the 16 standard tour events.

Also, after the inaugural tour trials this spring, open to all PBA members who have participated in at least five PBA events (PBA tour, regionals or senior tour), the trials will be invitation only, based on points finishers in each region. The trials will determine eight exempt bowlers for the 2004-2005 season and 11 for the 2005-2006 season.

A weekly pretournament qualifier, open only to PBA members, will determine four entries into the exempt 64-man bracket.

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