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Sterner Wins Pro Bowling Open At Spring Hill Lanes

Sterner Wins Pro Bowling Open At Spring Hill Lanes

Suffice it to say, things are going well for Jason Sterner on the bowling lanes right now. florida-news-flash-bowling-sterner-1

On Sunday afternoon at Spring Hill Lanes, the Covington, Ga. native won his second straight event on the Professional Bowlers Association South Region tour, capturing the 27th annual Spring Hill Open, sponsored by Crystal Automotive.

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“So excited. Back-to-back wins, never done that,” Sterner said. “Been bowling very good the second half of the season. The first half was pretty rough. It’s like I got some momentum going. I was able to talk to an older coach of mine and he kind of helped shed some light on some of the things I was struggling with. The last two mon   ths has just been success and just riding it out for now.

“It’s definitely emotional. Because I went so long there without any wins, I think two years. Some seed of doubt started to come in, but you just keep working through it.”

The 31-year-old Sterner, who has one national tour title, the Don Carter Classic in Detroit in 2012-13, won the Gastonia Opeflorida-news-flash-bowling-sternern in North Carolina on July 5.

“It’s going to sound silly, but just following my own moves. Paying attention to what I’m doing, where I’m standing, what the lanes are doing,” Sterner said of what spurred his recent hot streak. “Just breaking down each shot individually, which is quite a bit of a headache.

“I have to credit a lot of that to being aware of the surroundings and making good shots so I can get the proper feedback, so I can then turn around and make the next shot count. And that’s really been the motivation and the drive of the last two months.”

Sterner survived Saturday’s eight qualifying games, placing eighth with a 1,784 total, good enough to be among the 12 that advanced to Sunday’s match play.

After 12 games, in which he went 8-4, Sterner found himself as the top seed with a 4,888 overall tally.
In the stepladder finals, Sterner sat back and watched third-seeded Paul Koehler defeat fourth seed Chris Spoo, 222-181, and second-seeded Kyle Troup, 256-192.

Despite a roughly hour-and-a-half layoff, Sterner showed no rust. He started off with seven strikes in a row, including one in the second frame in which he benefitted from a late-falling 10-pin.

“I really felt like that was the momentum,” Sterner said. “I knew that I had to step up there and get on his throat, and try to put some pressure on him to make bad shots.”

Meanwhile, Koehler struck in the first frame but left a 5-pin in the second, then a 10-pin in the third that he missed for a critical open.

Koehler changed balls in the fourth, leaving an 8-pin, before throwing five strikes in a row to keep himself in the game.

“Unfortunately I lost the right lane with my Blue Hammer,” Koehler said. “It got so tight, there was so much oil carried down on that right lane, I couldn’t use it anymore. If I had made the switch a little bit quicker, I think it’d b een a different story. But you’ve got to keep at what’s got you there until it bucks you off, and that’s all I did.”
In the eighth, ninth and 10th, Sterner left pocket 10-pins, converting them all for spares. The last one was crucial, as a miss would have given Koehler a chance to come back by striking out.

“I really wanted to go over there and make a good shot, so I could leave something I could make,” Sterner said. “The 10-pin is always the easiest for me. I was happy to only see that. I would have liked if it had fell, but to leave me something I could make is all I could ask for.

“I think this is my fourth time (at this tournament) and every time I think I’ve made the finals other than one, but I’ve never made it this far. For whatever reason I just never could match up as well as the other guys, and this week, for whatever the case was, I felt like I had pretty good ball reaction and I just outsmarted the other opponents. I just let them kind of undo themselves.”

Among locals, 21-year-old Anthony Caso of Spring Hill finished the highest in 14th with a 1,753 on Saturday.
“Not very happy about it,” Caso said. “Seemed like either a lot of people whacked it, other people didn’t. I was kind of right in that little zone where I kind of had a good look, then it’d go away and I’d throw some bad shots. Right in the middle, nothing really spectacular about it, but it is what it is.”

A trio from Spring Hill finished 22-24, including two-time champion Jason Mahr (1,684), Chris Polizzi (1,682) and Kenny Riggs Jr. (1,678). Also from Spring Hill, Eric Martins placed 35th (1,590), Anthony Oliver took 41st (1,531) and Darian Curtis came in 49th (1,444).

First-place finishers from Friday’s pro-am were Brenda Dupler in the Regular Division (1,431), Don McLeod in the Senior Division (1,454), Joseph Rintrona in the Junior A (below 131 average) Division with a 1,486 and Noah Saul in the Junior B (above 131 average) Division with a 1,454.

Spring Hill Open Champions by Year

Year       Winner                                 Hometown
1989       D.B. Van Horn                    Atlanta, Ga.
1990       Jeff Bellinger                      Columbia, S.C.
1991       Mark Salka                          Tampa, Fl.
1992       Joe Viscomi                        New London, N.C.
1993       Bob Handley                      Tampa, Fl. florida-news-flash-bowling-sterner-3
1994       Jason Couch                       Clermont, Fl.
1995       Darin Hays                           Tampa, Fl.
1996       Darin Hays                           Tampa, Fl.
1997       Jason Couch                       Clermont, Fl.
1998       Steve Hoskins                    Tampa, Fl.
1999       Darin Hays                           Tampa, Fl.
2000       Darin Hays                           Tampa, Fl.
2001       Don DuPree                       Fort Walton Beach, Fl.
2002       Walter Ray Williams Jr.           Ocala, Fl.
2003       Roger Bowker                   Ocala, Fl.
2004       Ritchie Allen                       Columbia, S.C. florida-news-flash-bowling-sterner-4
2005       Gary Morgan                     Atlanta, Ga.
2006       Tom Daugherty                                 Wesley Chapel, Fl.
2007       Jason Mahr                         Spring Hill, Fl.
2008       Tom Daugherty                                 Wesley Chapel, Fl.
2009       Vernon Peterson             Winter Haven, Fl.
2010       Richard Langton                Tallahassee, Fl.
2011       Mike Williams II                Montgomery, Ala.
2012       Jason Mahr                         Spring Hill, Fl.
2013       Connor Pickford               Charlotte, N.C.
2014       Sean Riccardi                      St. Petersburg, Fl. florida-news-flash-bowling-sterner-6
2015       Jason Sterner                    Covington, Ga.





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A resident of Spring Hill since 1986, Chris Bernhardt Jr. graduated from Springstead High in 1999 before moving on to earn a bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Central Florida. In summer of 2003 he joined the staff at Hernando Today, working at the paper for 11 years as a sports reporter, the last three as sports coordinator in charge of the paper's sports coverage. For live updates follow on twitter @cpbernhardtjr.

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