Couch Wins Weber Open

Times Staff Writer

Jason Couch was lucky, he'll admit it. But he was plenty good too.

The second-seeded Couch came from behind to beat third-seeded Norm Duke in a one-ball, sudden-death roll-off and then rode that momentum to a victory over top-seeded Parker Bohn III in the championship match of the inaugural Dick Weber Open on Sunday afternoon at Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley.

Couch earned a $30,000 winner's check, his second tournament championship of the season and the 13th title of his 15-year career by recording 11 strikes in the last 18 balls he threw.

"I knew things were going my way and I just needed to let it happen," Couch said. "I felt very fortunate today."

Couch had seven strikes against Bohn in a battle of left-handers, making five in a row during one stretch.

He clinched a 241-214 victory and the title with spares in the last two frames.

Couch, of Clermont, Fla., posted an average score of just under 235 a game in 41 qualifying, round-robin and final-day matches to win his first Southern California event.

He capitalized when Bohn left an open second frame in the final, leaving two pins instead of converting a 1-3-6-9 spare.

Couch faltered with a poor shot in the third frame, also leaving four pins after his first roll. Unlike Bohn, however, he converted a difficult 2-4-7-10 split, tripping out the 10-pin for a critical spare before going on his five-strike roll for an insurmountable 203-165 advantage through eight frames.

"I got hot today, and I needed it," Couch said.

Trailing, 193-183, going into the last frame of the step-ladder semifinal against Duke, Couch struck three times in a row to force a 213-213 tie after Duke closed with a strike and a spare to end regulation play.

"I got a lucky break on the first one, and once I got through the second one," Couch said, "I knew I was going to strike on the third one. I just felt confident."

Couch recorded another strike in the sudden-death roll-off, advancing to the final when Duke left the No. 10 pin in the back right corner.

"You've got to give yourself the opportunity, and Jason did that," said Bohn, who settled for a $15,000 runner-up finish.

"He had to perform under the gun, and to his benefit, to his defense, he did."

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