Weber a tough kingpin to topple at Fair Lanes

March 02, 1991|By Bill Free

Don't look for top-seeded Pete Weber to have any jitters today as he sits back and waits to bowl the one game he needs to win the $150,000 Professional Bowlers Association Fair Lanes Open championship.

"I'll probably be planning what I'm going to be doing that night," said Weber last night after wrapping up the No. 1 spot for the 3 p.m. five-man stepladder finals. "I never think about anything [involving bowling] until it's time for me to go out there. There's really nothing to think about."

Weber, 28, is one of the most relaxed bowlers on the PBA Tour and never gets uptight for the "show" that has been the downfall of many outstanding bowlers.

The show is the nationally televised finals each Saturday, and some bowlers can't handle it. The top seed has to wait while the other four seeds bowl up the ladder to him.

Weber keeps winning. He will be going for his 15th PBA championship today.

In only one of those 14 championships has Weber led wire-to-wire to win, in the 1988 U.S. Open.

But in just his second stop in Baltimore, Weber is one game away from a second wire-to-wire performance in 11 years on the PBA Tour.

"I love the lanes here [at Fair Lanes Kings Point in Randallstown]," said Weber. "They're synthetic [plastic] instead of wood. My ball rolls end-over-end, and that's the best thing for synthetic lanes. I've been in eight tournaments on synthetic lanes and only missed the show once."

Weber, of Florissant, Mo., has put on a show during the past three days to gain the top seed by 315 pins over second-seeded Norm Duke of Albuquerque, N.M.

For 42 games, Weber had a total of 9,729 pins (231.64 average) to 9,414 (224.14) for Duke.

Weber never dropped below a 200 score in the 42 games.

"Nothing went wrong," Weber said. "Usually, I get clobbered in the first eight games on Thursday night, but that didn't even happen here. I won't be passing up Baltimore again. I used to take the week off when the tour came to Baltimore because I was tired."

But last year, Weber made his first appearance in Baltimore, made the stepladder finals and finished third to Dundalk's Danny Wiseman.

Despite Weber's seeming invincibility in this tournament, Duke came close last night to predicting he would win today's finals to end an eight-year victory drought for him.

"I'm going to win this time. . . . Oops, I better not say that," said Duke, 26. "I've been so consistent on the tour for eight years, but I've only won once [at age 18]. It's shocking that I haven't won since I was 18, but you need a lot of luck, and I haven't had it."

Duke said he has gotten a lot of respect from the other bowlers for being so consistent but that doesn't translate into money.

"You win more money if you pop up and win a tournament every now and then and then drop out of sight for a while," Duke said. "Because all the money is in first and second places. You just get respect for being consistent."

Aberdeen's Mark Bowers didn't make the show but finished 11th, which is his second-best finish ever.

"I needed a strike in the 10th frame to win the fourth game [last night] against Lawrence [Robert] and I only got an eight," Bowers said. "After that, nothing seemed to go right for me."

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