Webb conquers nerves, wins

Every couple of frames, Wayne Webb would walk 10 lanes away from the pair on which he was bowling for the PBA Senior Open championship.

"My heart was going so fast I was just trying to slow it down," he said Friday afternoon at the Suncoast.

The sojourns must have helped because the 51-year-old defeated fellow PBA Hall of Famer Brian Voss to win the prestigious title for the second consecutive year.

"I've bowled on a lot of (PBA Tour) TV shows and was never this nervous," Webb said. "I wanted this one so bad I just wanted it to be over.

"The second one definitely is better than the first. Last year, Johnny (Petraglia) led the whole tournament and deserved to win it. I had nothing to lose."

This year, Webb was near the top of the leaderboard all week in one of two annual majors on the 50-and-older circuit.

Webb, a former Las Vegas pro shop operator, posted a 13-3 match-play record Friday to gain the top seed for the four-man finals.

Mark Williams of Beaumont, Texas, had defeated Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Township, Mich., 232-213 before losing to Voss 216-187 in the semifinal.

Four consecutive strikes by Webb in the middle of the final game gave him a 45-pin lead in the sixth frame over Voss, who went without a strike between the first and eighth frames. Webb locked up the title, worth $20,000, in the ninth frame and beat Voss, 214-188.

It was Webb's second Senior title to go with 20 on the regular tour.

This week, however, Webb had more on his mind than how to master the lanes and 268 other bowlers over 51 games.

This season, he has missed several tournaments with neck and back problems. He had to visit a chiropractor Thursday when back pain returned.

But what was more troubling was learning before the tournament began on Monday that good friend and bowling legend Mark Roth, 58, suffered a stroke Sunday at his home in Fulton, N.Y. Roth, who finished 11th in the Senior Open a year ago, is partially paralyzed on his left side.

"He was my idol growing up, and we became good friends," Webb said. "It's scary when that happens to someone only a little older than you."

Webb will get updates on Roth's condition and a few days of rest before the five-day U.S. Bowling Congress Senior Masters -- the Senior Tour's other major -- begins Monday at the South Point.

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.


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