Michael Haugen, Jr. and the Mark Roth oil pattern had a good time together at the Winter Swing. After eight games of qualifying, Haugen sat in fifth place, one pin out of third and 118 behind leader Sean Rash.
Once the field was cut to 16 for match play, Haugen took over. He went 6-1-1 in match play and qualified first overall (which is particularly important in this tournament, as only two bowlers would make it to the championship rather than a traditional stepladder format).
Haugen qualified 114 pins ahead of #2 seed Scott Norton, who jumped over third-place finisher Sean Rash in the position round. Norton, the only bowler to make it to match play in all four Winter Swing singles events, was widely regarded as the best bowler all week.
Championship Match: Michael Haugen, Jr. vs. Scott Norton
Both Haugen and Norton were looking for their third career PBA Tour titles. Haugen’s last title came in 2008, while Norton won the PBA Rookie of the Year award in 2010-2011 and most recently won the Chameleon Championship at the World Series of Bowling IV.
The match was dead even for four frames before it looked like Norton was going to take over for good. That look was short-lived though, as Haugen quickly caught right back up.
As the two bowlers exchanged strikes and spares, the match was anybody’s guess until Norton left the big four in the ninth. On the positive side, he nearly picked it up—he left only the 4 pin. On the negative side, he didn’t pick it up.
Norton wasn’t out of it yet, though. That is, until he left another big four in the 10th. This time, he picked up two of them and finished with a 194. Haugen’s 215 was more than enough to win his third career title and serve notice to all the PBA League teams that passed him over in the draft.
From the beginning of the tournament to the end, Haugen had control over his equipment and the lanes, and if anyone deserved this title, it was him.
Final scores: Haugen 215, Norton 194
- Michael Haugen, Jr., $15,000
- Scott Norton, $7,500