Horan takes tough route

By Persh Rohrer Record-Courier bowling writer Published:

AKRON _ Deja Vu?

It certainly fit the pattern for Dennis Horan's game in Sunday's TV finals of the Bayer-Brunswick Touring Players Championship (TPC) at Stonehedge Family Fun Center.

The left-hander from Temecula, Calif., ran the table to capture his second title in three years, upsetting No. 1 seed Pete Weber, who was seeking his 26th career championship, 266-189.

Horan broke out of the gate with a four-bagger that set the tone for the match. He spared in the fifth, then reeled off five straight strikes, shutting out Weber in the ninth frame.

"Any time you're bowling against Pete, you better do the best you can because he knows how to win," Horan said.

Meanwhile, Weber, who led the tournament by 375 pins, failed to strike until the eighth frame.

"I bowled as good as lane conditions would let me. My ball didn't hook off the gutter as much as it did all week. I wonder why?" Weber said. "He had a four-bagger and a spare going. It was pretty much all over by the sixth frame. Dennis took advantage of what he had (lane condition)."

Weber said the he was confident in the morning practice session.

"Everything was OK but I needed to make a little adjustment to the ball surface," he said.

According to published stories in two large dailies, Weber is facing a suspension by the PBA for conduct unbecoming a professional last year in a tournament at Michigan. When a reporter asked if this was his last tournament of the year, Weber replied "no comment."

Horan closely duplicated his run of 1998 when he vaulted from 22nd place in the final round of match play to the eighth and final place on the show, barely making it on the last shot.

It was the fourth career victory for Horan, who hadn't been on TV since he won here two years ago. He did it impressively, compiling an 8-0 record, then continued his assault by winning two shootout matches that pitted him against Weber.

Horan (237) defeated No. 7 seed Jeff Lizzi (215) and No. 6 seed Bryon (cq) Smith (145), then bowled a 226 to dispose of Patrick Healey (189) and Danny Wiseman (176).

"This place (Stonehedge) must like me. When I made it to the title match, I thought it must be destiny," offered Horan.

The statement was more true than fiction.

Facing Eric Forkel, the No. 3 seed, and Ryan Shafer, the No. 2 seed, Horan survived by one pin over Forkel, another southpaw from Northridge, Calif., when Forkel left the 1-3-6-9 bucket on his last ball.

When Horan failed to strike out and settled for a 200, Forkel needed a double and eight pin count to win but managed only a 199. Shafer fell just short in striking out for 198.

"I thought that was it when Eric doubled," Horan said.

"It was my fault. The lanes were getting tight and I didn't give it enough roll," explained Forkel. "I hated to miss such an opportunity to win but that's the way the game goes."

For his day's work, Horan took home $40,000 while Weber added $21,000 to his $2 million career earnings. Shafer collected $12,000; Forkel $9,000; Healey $7,000; Wiseman $6,000; Smith $5,500 and Lizzi $5,000.

It was the final tournament of the PBA Winter Tour, which takes a hiatus until Saturday, June 17, when the ABC Masters will be televised from Albuquerque, N.M., on Fox Sports Net.

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