DELPHOS — When play began on Sunday 2012 champion Harry Sullins had a scant 59-pin lead on 2008 champion Dale Csuhta and the balance of the field in the 2014 PBA50 Mel Westrich Memorial Central/Midwest Open in Delphos.
The problem with Sunday morning leads in PBA play is the hotly contested match play battles, which often stand in the way of a championship.
On this particular Sunday, 11 matches stood between the competitors and the title. When you factor in 30 pins for each match victory, the battleground becomes even more competitive.
Sullins went wire-to-wire on Sunday with perhaps his biggest victories being a 268-204 Game 4 victory over Sammy Ventura and a 224-216 come-from-behind win over David Harvey in Game 7.
In each of those two wins he quieted a storm.
Ventura had just defeated Dale Traber 266-163 to gain ground on Sullins. Harvey had also just grabbed second with a 210-194 victory over Brian Miller.
By Game 8 Csuhta had returned to number two in the standings, 128 pins off the pace of Sullins.
Csuhta moved closer in Game 9 when Sullins tied Larry Popp with a 201 and Csuhta rolled a 247.
Csuhta gained another six pins in Game 10 with a 228-207 victory over Hettinger, while Sullins was claiming a 222-214 win over Bill McCorkle.
At that point, 120 games had been bowled on the day and the margin of Sullins over Csuhta was essentially where it was when the game began, 61 pins.
Sullins and Csuhta went through the formalities of their Game 11 match before meeting in the position round in the match, which would determine the tournament championship.
Two painfully funny things happened to Csuhta on the way to the championship match with Sullins.
Miller took a 253-159 match with Zakrajsek, and then upended Csuhta in what amounted to a position match 213-167.
When Sullins fell to Dale Traber 211-204, Miller was within 53 pins of the title.
The Miller rally would fall short when Sullins claimed the position round battle 216-212 and when Csuhta defeated McCorkle 237-194 he would slide back into second place.
For Sullins, it was his fifth regional title this season and 28th for his career.
“It was more of a demanding condition,” Sullins said. “It’s a toss-up. It may have been the toughest condition of any of my 28 titles.
“I played a fudge-knuckler, one-finger flip shot. It was really a grind. I would win with a game in the 180s or 190s, and then lose when I rolled a game in the two-teens.”
Sullins rolled last week in Troy against the ‘kids.’
“I had been bowling pretty well so I thought that I would take a chance,” he said. “I did cash and Bobby (Jakel of the PBA) even slotted me into the Pro-Am, but I was glad to be back in my group today.”
He and the rest of his group will be back in Delphos next season. Tournament host Bruce VanMeter indicated the tourney will take on a new look, perhaps at another time of the year.