Baker of Garden Grove Breaks PBA Drought With First Win

Associated Press

Mark Baker overcame four open frames in the title game to stop top-seeded Walter Ray Williams Jr., 183-176, Saturday and capture the $130,000 King Louie Open.

Baker, of Garden Grove, ended a two-year victory drought on the Professional Bowlers Assn. tour with the win, requalified for the Firestone Tournament of Champions and earned $21,000.

Baker failed to convert the 2-8 spare in both the ninth and 10th frames, leaving Williams only a spare away from winning back-to-back titles. Williams, who captured the True Value Open in Peoria, Ill., last week, left the 8-10 split in the 10th frame and missed to finish in second place.

"Walter bowled better than anybody else all week, but he was having trouble sticking on the approaches the whole game," said Baker, who averaged 253 in winning his first three matches. "You've got to get the breaks to win out here, and if I didn't prove that today, I don't know what does."

Baker, who finished second four times last year, opened the nationally televised finals with a 246-184 victory over David Husted.

Baker then eliminated former collegiate All-America performers Mike Jasnau of Wichita, Kan., 266-244, and Marc McDowell of Madison, Wis., 247-202, to reach the title match.

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