The final round of the PBA Senior Decatur Open was held on Tuesday, Aug. 14, in Decatur, IL to conclude the 2011 Senior Tour season. While everyone was interested in seeing who would walk away with the final title of the season, the PBA Senior Player of the Year award race got top billing at the tournament. The PBA Senior Player of the Year award is the most prestigious award on the Senior Tour, and the PBA Senior Decatur Open would go a long way to determining who would win the award.
Heading in to the final tournament of the season, there were only three bowlers that were left with a chance to win the Senior Player of the Year award. Walter Ray Williams Jr had a large lead for the award, but Hugh Miller and Mike Edwards were still in contention. A third place finish or better in the Senior Decatur Open would lock up the award for Williams. If Williams were to finish outside of the top three in the standings, Edwards or Miller could win the award by winning the PBA Senior Decatur Open. While they only had a small chance to win the award, it was still very possible the way they had been bowling the last few weeks of the season.
The tournament got started off with all of the bowlers competing in a qualifying round where the top 32 bowlers would advance to the final round. This was the first hurdle for the three bowlers, and one that Hugh Miller would not be able to successfully pass. While Edwards and Williams would both qualify in the top eight, Miller would be elimiated from the tournament after qualifying in 38th place. Qualifying in the top eight meant that Edwards and Williams would receive two byes in the match play round, and would only have to win four matches to win the title. While it looked like both bowlers were going to go deep in the tournament and we were going to have a heated battle for the Senior Player of the Year award, both bowlers would ultimately lose in their first match in the final round. The elimination of both bowlers would mean that Walter Ray Williams Jr would be walking away with the PBA Senior Player of the Year award.
This would be the first time that Walter Ray Williams Jr has won PBA Senior Player of the Year award in his brief career on the Senior Tour. Winning the award could not have come at a better time for Williams, as he is coming off of his two worst seasons on the PBA Tour in his career. Many people, including myself, were beginning to wonder if Williams still had what it takes to compete in the PBA. Walter Ray Williams Jr came into this Senior Tour season on a mission to prove all of his doubters wrong, and that is exactly what he did. Walter Ray Williams Jr is the greatest bowler to ever live for a reason, and I would not be shocked if we see a lot of him in the television final rounds of the upcoming PBA Tour season.
Jake has been an avid bowler since the age of 8, and regularly follows the PBA throughout the year.
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