Paul Moser survived a challenge by Larry Laub in the final round of match play last night to take the No. 1 seeding into today's "stepladder" finals of the Fair Lanes Pro Bowlers Association Open at the Hyattsville Fair Lanes alleys

The nationally televised (WJLA-TV-7) finals begin at 3:30 p.m.

Moser, of Somerset, Mass., had a 154-pin lead going into the final eight games of match play. In the 41st match, Laub, of San Francisco, beat Moser, 269-210, cutting Moser's lead from 110 pins to 21.

That set up the 42nd and final match, called the position round. The first and second bowlers meet, and so on, through the top 24 competitors.

Moser, a two-time PBA winner, started the 42nd match with a strike but then ran into two spares and left a pin. Laub threw two strikes and two spares for an 80-67 lead.

Moser, top-seeded in the Showboat Invitational earlier this year only to finish second, then connected on five straight strikes.

"I was pumping," said the 31-year-old, four-year veteran.

Laub finished with three strikes but they were too late. Moser won the match, 226-208, and with it the top seeding.

Moser finished last night's sixth round with a 1,508 pin count, giving him a total of 9,908. Laub had 1,439 last night for a 9-839 total.

The other three qualifiers for today's final round were George Pappas (1,309-9,708) of Charlotte, N.C., Keith Craycraft (1,229-9,627) of New Martinsville, W.Va., and Teata Semiz (1,142-9,542) of River Ridge, N.J.

"I feel pretty good about it," said Moser, referring to his top-seeding. "I lost in (Las) Vegas but I'm not going to worry about it.

"I'm not a veteran out there (on television) but I know what to expect," added Moser, who won the U.S. Open in 1976 and the Syracuse Open in 1977. "It's a different stage to perform under. It's the pressure of the match, of the title and of television.

"That's the place where the professional wins... on the television show. It's all a mind game out there. That's all it is."

Laub, a 10-time PBA tournament champion, has finished in the money only three times this season. His best finish was 45th. Still, he feels confident going into today's final.

"I really didn't care if I was fired or second," said Laub. "The No. 1 spot is nice to be in but if you're a gambler it's not a good spot to be in. I'm in a better position than he (Moser) is. The No. 2 seed is the best spot to be in."