"Walter’s the best out here and everyone kind of expects him to be the guy. It’s nice to become the top senior player in the world by winning the toughest tournament we bowl but right now I’m just going to enjoy the moment."
Ron Mohr didn't get off to the best of starts in this year's PBA Senior U.S. Open in Las Vegas. He was in 67th place after the first round of qualifying, and only 56 players in the field of over 200 would make the first cut. "I was concerned at that point but not overly worried. At that point there was a lot of bowling left...so I just made the adjustments and took it a day at a time, which you have to do in a marathon tournament like this," said Mohr.
He made those adjustments, made the cut, and sat in 7th place entering match play at the end of 27 games of qualifying. 24 games of round-robin match play later, he had edged out Bo Goergen to secure the fourth and final spot in Friday's stepladder finals.
His first opponent was the reigning Senior Player of the Year Wayne Webb. Webb bowled tremendously well this week after coming back from knee surgery a few months ago and limited practice since then to nail down the third seed, and when he started the first stepladder match with his first six strikes, it looked as though he might give Ron Mohr more than he could handle. But Mohr began with a five-bagger of his own before leaving a 4-10 split that looked, given Wayne's hot start, like it might spell his doom. He then masterfully converted the split, Wayne left a light pocket 7 pin on his next ball, and before you knew it, Mohr had emerged victorious with a 265 game to Webb's 258.
In Mohr's next match with Harry Sullins, the scores weren't as high, but the competition was no less thrilling, ending with Mohr's narrow 220 to 211 victory over Sullins in a back-and-forth affair.
This left only one person standing in Mohr's way to his first senior major title. But that person happened to be Walter Ray Williams Jr., who dominated the later rounds of qualifying and much of match play before struggling a little in the final round. Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Ron Mohr. The two best players on the senior tour this season by far. One could not have asked for a better match up in the final game of arguably the biggest and most challenging senior tournament of the entire season.
But, as things turned out, it wasn't much of a match. Walter Ray never really got lined up, and Mohr cruised to an impressive 246-189 victory. "She was my guardian angel and she was with me today," Mohr said afterward, referring to his wife, Linda, who passed away in January after complications following surgery months earlier. Mohr, who was the 2009 Senior Player of the Year, had taken off much of the 2010 season to care for his ailing wife and, after she died, had been despondent and reluctant to return to the senior tour. Yet, he decided to give it a try and see how he did in the first few tournaments. His second, third, and fourth place finishes in addition to two titles this season have certainly vindicated his decision and placed him solidly in the lead for Senior Player of the Year as the senior tour heads into the second half of its season.
"Both the support back home and out here on tour has been unbelievable, and that has been very important to my success this year," said Mohr.
The senior tour now moves to Brentwood, CA for the Senior Northern California Classic at Harvest Park Bowl, June 19-22.