Guy Johnson trailed Brent Hunter by 106 pins with two games remaining in the York County Senior Match Play Tournament at Colony Park Lanes North.
Time was running out and Johnson knew he needed a big game to make a charge for the title.
"I thought a 300 game would be nice," said Johnson, a 60-year-old right-hander.
Johnson started striking to open the fifth game and he didn't stop until his final ball when he left the 4-7. The 298 game, coupled with bonus pins, boosted him within six pins of Hunter, who rolled a 228 in the fifth game. The big game helped propel Johnson to the title.
In modified match play, bowlers receive plus or minus the number of pins over or under 200 each game, and the top half of the field, based on individual game results, also receives bonus pins. The bowler with the highest score receives the most bonus pins, and the amount of bonus pins decreases with each subsequent position.
"I picked the right time for my biggest game," Johnson said. "I carried the pins and got a couple of good breaks."
In the final position-round match, Johnson started with six consecutive strikes and cruised to a 259-194 win over Hunter, a two-time Professional Bowlers Association Senior East Region winner. That gave Johnson the overall championship.
In that final match, Hunter matched Johnson's first strike, but he followed with three spares and an open frame.
"I was confident going into the finals," Johnson said. "The most important thing was that I gave myself a chance to win. I'm glad I finally won the tournament."
In the final standings, Johnson finished with a 768 point total, while Hunter came in at 666.
Johnson was third after eight games of qualifying (four games at Hanover Bowling Centre and four games at Suburban Bowlerama). Hunter led the qualifying with a 258 average for eight games.
It marked the second year in a row that the York County Senior Match Play winner used a late rally to earn the title. Last year, Dave Kareis wiped out a 140-pin deficit to win.
Tournament director Mike Zelger said the 38-man field was the largest in the tournament's five-year history.
The final standings and the number of points are as follows: Johnson (768); Hunter (666); Billy Heltzel Jr. (622); Rick Bretz (601); Rick Graham (586); Bryan Rohrbaugh (529); Dave Kareis (496); Nate Jameson (452); Joe Andreone (399); Gregg Shive (361); Keith Conley (350); Joe Haberle (340); and Chuck Tillman (305).
Reach Barry Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org.