Larry Laub of San Francisco took advantage of a poor start by top seeded Paul Moser of Somerset, Mass., to win the championship of the Fair Lanes PBA Open yesterday at the Hyattsville Fair Lanes.
Laub outbowled Moser in the nationally televised final, 249-199, for the $10,000 first-place prize. Moser, who had led at the end of every session of qualifying and match play during the week, took home $6,000.
"I got in trouble right away and started to get tight," said Moser of his horrid start in the title game. "Larry then got looser, knowing I had to throw nothing but strikes thereafter."
Moser left the 5 and 6 pins on his first frame and then left the 5 standing on his try for a spare. On the third frame, he left the 3-5-6-10 upright and then knocked down only the 3 on his spare attempt.
By then Laub, who had marked his first three frames with two spares and a strike, held a 60-32 advantage.
"It looked pretty good for me after the first three frames, but I still wanted to relax and forget the score," said Laub, who cashed his seventh first-place check in his 16-year career.
Moser then rolled four consecutive strikes while Laub was recording three Xs and a spare to pull to within 18 pins, 159-141, by the end of the seventh frame.
"That's when I said, 'Here he comes,'" said Laub. "I knew I couldn't leave a pin because he could then come all the way back."
So Laub kept the pressure on by closing out the game with five straight strikes, getting timely action from the tumbling pins on three of them.
Laub had barely made it through qualifying, sneaking into the match-play round in the 24th and final position after three rounds of qualifying.
"I didn't even think I was going to make it into the top 24, much less the final round," said Laub. "There were three guys who had a chance to knock me out of 24th place, but they all bowled poorly."
By the end of the first eight-game session of match play, Laub had moved into fourth place. At the 16-and 24-game junctures, he was in second place behind Moser.
That enabled him to sit out yesterday while fifth-seeded Teata Semiz of River Edge, N.J., was beating both No. 4 Keith Craycraft, New Martinsville, W. Va., 258-224, and No. 3 George Pappas, Charlotte, N.C., 226-223, for the right to play Laub.
Laub then beat Semiz for the right to meet Moser, despite making only four strikes, 196-193, when Semiz failed to mark in the third and eighth frames. The eighth was especially costly to Semiz. He left a 5-10 split and got only the 5 on his spare roll.
That allowed Laub to jump into a three-pin lead after eight frames and he held onto it as both closed out with two spares and a strike.
Moser had enjoyed the top seeding earlier this season at Las Vegas' Showboat Invitational before bowing to Emmett Shutes in the championship match.