Give former PBA Tour exempt bowler Brian LeClair an inch on the lanes, and he’ll take a mile.
Although he doesn’t usually fare well when the lane condition calls for more of a hold area inside, the 46-year-old Athens resident made some adjustments in his final two games and rallied to win the Northern Bowlers Association’s Clifton Park Open Sunday at Spare Time-Clifton Park.
Rotterdam’s Joe Mazuryk, having one of his finest seasons, took the lead after game three and seemed poised to win another NBA title when he entered the final game with a 29-pin advantage over Sharon Springs left-hander Jason Baker.
But Mazuryk ran into a difficult pair for his final game and shot a 191. LeClair, 35 pins behind Mazuryk going into the finale, shot a 277 to surge to the title. He fired a 255 in game No. 4.
“I don’t usually like house conditions, but this wasn’t a blatant house pattern here,” said LeClair. “Still, I’m not a big fan of a shot where there is so much hold area in the middle. I changed everything for the last two games, and it seemed to work. You have to change your elbow position and keep everything in front of you on a shot like that. I’m not that good on an oil pattern like this, to tell you the truth, but I’m getting more experience on it. It took me a couple of games to get it right. I just changed my hand position and the angle of my swing.”
LeClair, who used to be a full-time bowler on the PBA Tour, now competes only occasionally on the regular tour and appears instead in PBA regional events and in local scratch tournaments. He runs the pro shop at Del Lanes, and still helps out at the pro shop at Catskill’s Hoe Bowl.
He joined the PBA Tour in 1984, and has cashed in 182 of 356 career tournaments for a career earnings total of $482,489. His best finish was second twice, and both times he lost to all-time victory leader Walter Ray Williams Jr.
LeClair is also fifth on the PBA East Region points list this year. He has nine PBA regional victories and $142,103 in career regional earnings. He also has 28 career perfect games in PBA competition.
“I need to get on a roll. My head was in a bad place after I bowled so well, but didn’t make the finals in Indianapolis,” he said.
“I bowled well in the Catskill
regional [on Saturday] and now I’m just looking for some more local events to compete in. There’s quite a few of them this spring.”
LeClair shot a five-game total of 1,207 and earned $760, while Mazuryk, who recently won the New York State USBC Masters title at Boulevard Bowl to go along with several Huck Finn and NBA titles, finished second with a 1,156 and took home $390. Tom Reed of
Mechanicville (1,137, $225) was third, and Mike Drexel of Delanson (1,136, $150) was fourth.
Also cashing were Steve Wagoner of Broadalbin (1,129, $120), Craig Taylor of Niskayuna (1,125, $90, Bob Smith of Ballston Spa (1,124, $80), Baker (1,120, $70) and Colonie High School boys’ coach Dan Ahl (1,117, $60).
Cashers — Brian LeClair 1,207, $760; Joe Mazuryk 1,156, $390; Tom Reed 1,137, $225; Mike Drexel 1,136, $150; Steve Wagoner 1,129, $120; Craig Taylor 1,125, $90; Bob Smith 1,120, $80; Jason Baker 1,120, $70; Dan Ahl 1,117, $60.
Other top bowlers — Terry Ray 1,110, Bill Pulver 1,094, Ron Gardner 1,086, Gene Speenburgh 1,071, Chip Tashjian 1,071, Nick Galusha 1,065, Tim Hunt 1,032, Rus Hunter 1,029, Dan Furman 1,027, Rick Bogholtz 1,024, Brad Lawyer 1,022, Marty Romanick 1,002, Rob Leavitt 1,001, Dan Derizzo 1,001, Tony Ferraro 1,000, R.J. Martinez 999, Kyle Haines 992, Matt Barkman 991, Gino Correra 985, Rich Strath 979, Al Anderson Jr. 979, Warren Guernsey 976, Craig Clemons 976, Sonny Dorstek 975, Ryan Sickler 967, Rob Danzy 965, Jason Brown 956, Ed Gumm 942, Nunzi Manuli 931, Mike Neumann 928, Ryan Galli 919, Dustin Paupst 912, Chris Charron 893, Mike DeGenero Jr. 881, Bill Brouillette 857, Bill Treadwell Jr. 853, Les Hipenbecker 840.
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