CLEARWATER, Fla. – PBA Hall of Famer Jason Couch, a 16-time winner on the Guaranteed Rate PBA Tour over a 20-year career, won the Johnny Petraglia BVL Open presented by the Law Firm of Lucas & Magazine and Brunswick Wednesday for his first PBA50 Tour title.
In only his second PBA50 Tour event (for players 50 and over), Couch, the top seed for the finals, defeated 2018 PBA50 Player of the Year and 2017 Rookie of the Year Michael Haugen Jr. 278-260 in the title match at Maple Country Lanes.
For Haugen it was his second consecutive runner-up finish after finishing second to Walter Ray Williams Jr. in last week’s PBA50 Lightning Strikes Open in which Williams won a record 15th career PBA50 Tour title.
“Because this was Johnny’s tournament I felt like there was a lot of pressure to win and the way Michael was bowling I knew I was going to have to stand on the gas and give it my best,” said Couch.
“I started with the first five strikes but left the 3-9 in the sixth frame,” Couch added. “I was really pumped up which caused me to be a little too firm with that shot. It was obvious I was going to have to continue striking so I just took a deep breath to regroup for the rest of the match.”
In the semifinal match that consisted of 22 out of a possible 24 strikes between the two players, Haugen def. Hall of Famer Chris Barnes 300-289 to advance to the title match against Couch.
In the second match Barnes defeated Dennis Rakauskus 252-203 to advance to the semifinal. In the opening match Rakauskus defeated Michael Haggitt 248-205 to advance to the second match against Barnes.
Pete Weber, who led qualifying, dropped to 16th after posting a 5-7 record in match play.
The PBA50 Tour travels to The Villages, Florida for the Florida Blue Medicare PBA50 National Championship presented by Spanish Springs Lanes, the season’s first major April 25-29.
- Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., earns $7,500
- Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, $4,000
- Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, $3,000
- Dennis Rakauskus, Apopka, Fla., $2,500
- Michael Haggitt, Springfield, Ohio, $2,200
Match 1 – No. 4 Rakauskus def. No. 5 Haggitt, 248-205
Match 2 – No. 3 Barnes def. Rakauskus, 252-203
Semifinal match – No. 2 Haugen def. Barnes, 300-289
Championship match – No. 1 Couch def. Haugen, 278-260