Walter Ray Williams Jr., the Professional Bowlers Association's leading money winner this season, took advantage of an open ninth frame by Gil Sliker and won the $130,000 Fair Lanes Open today at Fair Lanes Woodlawn.
Williams, who defeated Sliker, 219-204, before a national television audience, received $20,000 to increase his 1986 total to $86,215. He is the PBA tour's first double winner this season.
Sliker, of Sarasota, Fla., earned $11,000. Bobby Knipple of Long Beach, Calif., who was making his final PBA appearance as a touring player, finished third, earning $7,500. Jimmie Pritts Jr. of Lawrence, Mass., took home $6,000 and Rod Pasteur of Miami finished fifth, earning $5,000.
"I was throwing the ball really well today," said Williams, a four-time world horseshoe pitching champion from Stockton, Calif. He defeated fourth-seeded Knipple, 245-168, to qualify for the championship. "I was getting strikes when I was hitting the pocket. When you can do that, you are in good shape."
Williams, who lost to Sliker in Friday night's position round, which determined today's seedings, bowled strongly in both matches. Tied at 66 in the third frame against Knipple, Williams missed a 4-9-10 split and suffered his only open frame of the day before knocking off 17 straight marks over two games, including six consecutive strikes.
In the title match, both Williams and Sliker began hitting the pocket with consistency as Williams scored five strikes to Sliker's four entering the ninth frame.
At that point, Sliker trailed Williams by 17 pins and needed a strike to cut the difference to seven. However, Sliker left a 1-2-4-5 split.
"I moved my feet fast and just threw it out the window," said Sliker, who has yet to win a PBA singles title. "Unfortunately, when you're playing for a championship, you don't get too many second chances."
Sliker tried to save a spare but left the two pin standing. Williams immediately closed the door on Sliker by striking out.
"I was just thinking I really need a strike," said Williams, who won the True Value Open earlier this year for his first career title. " Friday night I said that and I didn't get it. Today I did."
In the opening match, fourth-seeded Knipple defeated fifth-seeded Pasteur, 254-235. Knipple then beat third-seeded Pritts, 222-148, before losing to Williams. Knipple rolled 25 consecutive marks before opening in the fourth frame against Williams.
As Knipple began to tire, Williams took control.
"Even in that first match I could feel I had a rhythm," said Williams. "Except for that one mistake where I threw the ball slow [in an open fourth frame] . . . I felt good."