Patrick Healey Jr. found himself in familiar territory Sunday in the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Greater Kansas City Classic at Lunar Bowl - only this time he followed through with his first career victory.
Healey, Mexico City, defeated Michael Gaither, Corpus Christi, Texas, in the final match, 243-227, and picked up the $40,000 top prize and entry into the PBA Tournament of Champions (Dec. 12-15).
"I know now that I have the goods," said Healey, who improved his match play record to a Tour-best, 23-9. "I have what it takes. I always believed that inside. But, believing and doing are two different things."
The 34-year-old's four previous career appearances in the final match - including three last season - delivered nothing but heartbreak and bad breaks.
But, Healey, a five-year pro, finally caught the break he'd been waiting for when he tripped the 2-pin for victory in the 10th frame against Gaither.
"Any time you trip the 2-pin forward it's a good break," he said. "But, to do it in a situation like that was the break of my life."
Healey filled nine pins on his next ball to shut out Gaither and seal the win. The former All-American at Wichita State University began the match with five consecutive strikes followed by a spare and his only err of the match, the 3-6-7 split in the seventh. He followed with foundation strikes in the eighth and ninth.
In his first finals appearance, Gaither picked up the largest check of his four-year career with a second-place finish - $20,000. He picked up single-pin spares in the second, sixth, ninth and 10th frames and struck in every other frame.
"This was great," the 27-year-old commented. "This being my first time in the finals and getting to bowl for the title - I gained a lot of experience and more importantly, lots of confidence. I only hope that carries over through the next few weeks."
In the semifinals, Gaither calmly excused Paul Fleming, 236-183, and Healey beat Tommy Delutz Jr., 226-185. Delutz, Flusing, N.Y., and Fleming, Bedford, Texas, tied for third and garnered $10,000 each. Healey, who qualified with the most losses of the semifinalists, was forced to bowl Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela in the wild card match. Healey defeated the PBA Hall of Famer, 237-233, after he was forced to mark twice in the 10th to win.
The PBA Tour travels to Winchester Bowl for the PBA Memphis (Tenn.) Open, Oct. 23-27, and the fifth of 22 stops on the 2002-2003 season.
PBA Greater Kansas City Classic
Lunar Bowl, Blue Springs, Mo.
Sunday, Oct. 20
Pos. Name/City & State Total/Games Money
1. Patrick Healey Jr., Mexico City 706 (3 games) $40,000
2. Michael Gaither, Corpus Christi, Texas 463 (2 games) $20,000
3. (T) Tommy Delutz Jr., Flushing, N.Y. 185 (1 game) $10,000
Paul Fleming, Bedford, Texas 183 (1 game) $10,000
5. Amleto Monacelli, Venezuala 233 (1 game) $ 9,000
PLAYOFF RESULTS - In the wild card match, Healey defeats Monacelli, 237-233; in the semifinals, Gaither def. Fleming, 236-183, and Healey def. Delutz, 226-185; and in the final, Healey def. Gaither, 243-227.