Saturday, April 3, 2010

Scroggins is in the Driver's Seat for Player of the Year

"If Scroggs doesn't win tomorrow, it'll be his own fault."
--Jeff Mark

The pin dust has cleared, and the five competitors have been determined for tomorrow's televised stepladder final.

Mike Scroggins bowled a blistering final round of 1708 for 7 games on the difficult Dick Weber pattern to occupy the top spot. He only needs to win one match tomorrow to earn the title and seize Player of the Year from Walter Ray Williams Jr's hopeful hands. However, if Scroggins loses, Walter Ray will win his unprecedented seventh Player of the Year award and be the oldest to ever win the award.

Nevertheless, Xtra Frame's "Bowling Doctor" Jeff Mark believes that Scroggins has a virtual lock on winning tomorrow because of three factors. First, the top seed gets to pick which oil pattern of the seven they bowled on this week that they will bowl on tomorrow. Second, Del Ballard has already stated unequivocally that Scroggins will choose the Dick Weber pattern because he loves it and ran away from the rest of the field bowling on that pattern in the final round today. Third, Scroggins will be the only left-hander in the finals, meaning that he won't have the four right-handers in tomorrow's finals spoiling his look.

Second seed is Pete Weber, who fittingly finished the final round of qualifying on the pattern named after his legendary father by bowling a 300 game. In third is Chris Barnes. Chris bowled steadily all week and is surely very determined to win his first and only title of the season. I hope he does it and silences his growing pack of detractors and, in so doing, hands Player of the Year to Walter Ray. Fourth is Brad Angelo. And fifth is Wes Malott.

Malott led the tournament most of the week but sputtered badly through most of the final round to fall precipitously from first to sixth or seventh place at one point. He went into the final game in sixth place just five pins behind Walter Ray. But big Wes hung on to shoot 234 to Walter Ray's 196 the final game to make the finals and relegate Walter to a sixth place finish for the week.

As disappointed as I am that Walter won't be on TV tomorrow, I must say that I'm very impressed that he gutted it out and managed to bowl as well as he did after his back injury yesterday and finish a very respectable sixth in one of the most, if not the most, challenging tournaments of the year. The old man still has it, and the guys on the senior tour should "be afraid, be very afraid" that a guy who won two titles and went right down to the wire for Player of the Year on the regular tour this season will be competing against them this summer.

But, as Jeff Mark says, the Marathon Open title as well as the Player of the Year award is Mike Scroggins' to lose. He has had a quietly outstanding season this year, especially during the second half, and, say what you will about his "boring" game, he is tough, tough, tough, especially when he's the top seed with no other righties in the finals and he gets to bowl on the pattern of his choice for the title.

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