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The 21-year-old bowler rolled a 247 in his final game Sunday to clinch his first PBA Northwest Regional singles title by 93 pins

PMG PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Troutdale's Chris Tuholski (center) stands alongside tournament hosts Champ Husted (left) and Dave Husted (right) after clinching the PBA Dave Husted Northwest Open title Sunday at Milwaukie Bowl.Troutdale's Chris Tuholski saved his best game of the day for the round that mattered the most Sunday — the 12th and final one.

Tuholski closed with three consecutive strikes and a game-ending spare and scored a 247-219 decision over Matthew McGill of Grants Pass in Sunday's final round of match play, clinching top honors at the 40th annual PBA Dave Husted Northwest Open at Milwaukie Bowl.

It was the first PBA Northwest Regional title for the 21-year-old Tuholski, who averaged 214.05 for 20 games and racked up a total pinfall of 4,491 to finish 93 pins ahead of McGill.

PMG PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Chris Tuholski won his first PBA Northwest Regional title by 93 pins Sunday at Milwaukie Bowl."That title match was pretty nerve-wracking," Tuholski said after pocketing the $2,000 winner's check. "I just took a deep breath, took my time, and tried not to worry what the result was going to be.

"It feels great. I've been working hard for a long, long time, and it finally paid off`."

Zack Stone of Longview, Washington, averaged 207.8 pins a game to finished third, while Milwaukie's Jason Hollingsworth (205.35) was fourth and Gladstone's Corey Husted (203.2) sixth among the 12 bowlers to make Sunday's final cut.

Tuholski, a 2016 graduate of Reynolds High School, set the pace Saturday's opening round when he averaged 221.5 pins a game through the first eight games to take a 42-pin lead over Nick Borgaro of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

McGill averaged 197.38 pins a game through the first eight games and was 193 pins behind the first-day leader, yet edged Wayne Garber of Modesto, California by six pins to earn the 12th and final spot in Sunday's finals.

On Sunday, McGill caught fire, posting scores of 257, 218, 180, 247, 207, and 236 as he went 5-1 in his first six games of match play. Counting the 30 bonus pins that went with each win in match play, McGill leaped past all 11 of the other finalists and took a 20-pin lead over Tuholski with six games remaining.

See-saw battle

From there, the lead changed hand three times in the next three games of match play.

After Game 7, Tuholski regained the lead by four pins.

After Game 8, McGill was back in front by seven pins.

And then in Game 9, Tuholski defeated Husted 206-166 and Stone defeated McGill 217-188, which, counting bonus pins, translated into a 48-pin swing that propelled Tuholski back to the top of the leaderboard by 41 pins.

Next came one of the key turning points in the tournament in Game 10 as Tuholski scored a 245-199 decision over Dean Richards, the 2017 tournament champion from Tacoma, and the McGill-Husted match ended in a 221-221 draw.

The net result of that round was another 39-pin swing for Tuholski, putting him up by 80 pins with two games left.

In Game 11, Derek Handy of Redmond, Washington, scored a 174-169 win over Tuholski, while McGill rallied with a 206-191 decision over Gresham's Craig Tuholski, the front runner's father, cutting the younger Tuholski's lead to 35 pins heading in the final, head-to-head showdown.

All McGill needed to do at that point was to win the final match against Tuholski by at least six pins, and that combined with the 30 bonus pins would give him the title.

In the final, McGill opened with a spare in the first frame, followed by three strikes and another spare in the fifth. Tuholski countered with a spare in the first, followed by strikes in each of the next four frames.

McGill added spares in frames 6-9, while Tuholski had a spare in the sixth, a spare in the seventh, a strike in the eight, and then put the game, match, and tournament away with a strike in the ninth.

"I just tried to keep control of the pocket, make the best shots possible, and make all my spares," Tuholski said. "Spare shooting was a big thing this entire weekend. I made about 90 percent of my spares, so that definitely helped me do what I did."

Tuholski punctuated his round with a "This one's for you, Grandpa!" as he rolled a strike on his first ball of the 10th frame. He then knocked down nine pins with his second ball before cleaning up the spare to close out the tournament.

"I've been bowling really well the last six months and I finally put everything together for my first regional title," Tuholski said. "It's happened where I've led tournaments and then didn't do well in match play, so it was nice to finally have a good match play record (7-5) and take a title home."

Local flavor

Hollingworth, the 33-year-old Milwaukie bowler who stood sixth after Saturday's qualifying round, went 8-3 in his first 11 games of match play and climbed into third place.

PMG PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Milwaukie's Jason Hollingsworth placed fourth after Sunday's final round of the 40th PBA Dave Husted Northwest Open at Milwaukie Bowl.He was 41 pins behind Tuholski with one game remaining, but got knocked from title contention and slipped to fourth when he lost 192-174 to Stone.

"I needed to bowl a big game and have the two guys in front of me stumble," Hollingsworth said. "But they both bowled good games and I did not, so …

"I haven't really been bowling much lately. I took about three months off and hadn't touched a ball until about a week and a half ago. I bowled last week and didn't bowl very well, so my expectations weren't very high coming into this."

Husted, the 32-year-old son of the PBA Hall Famer and the tournament's namesake, moved from sixth place at the start of Sunday's round to as high as third after a 192-177 win over Stone in Game 7 of match play put him within 12 pins of the overall lead.

Then he rolled a 169 in Game 8 and a 166 in Game 9 that dropped him to eighth, 157 pins off the pace.

"I was a little late on a ball change," Husted said. "I was sticking with one ball and it was looking good for me, but then I had a rough game and I thought it was more about myself than the ball, so I stuck with that ball and shot another 160 game.

"I finally got out of that ball and bowled 221, 247, and 185 the last three games and it was like, 'Man, why did you have to be so stubborn?' When somethings working good and looking good, it's kind of hard to jump off of it, but I needed to do something different. And when I did, I got my confidence back and at least kept myself in the top six."

Of the 47 bowlers who started the tournament, 30 were from Oregon. They tested their skills on lanes that featured the PBA Viper 36 oil pattern, creating conditions similar to those regularly found on the national tour.

PMG PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Gladstone's Corey Husted climbed within 12 pins of the lead Sunday before finishing in sixth in the tournament that bears his father's name -- the PBA Dave Husted Northwest Open at Milwaukie Bowl."Conditions were extremely tough, which for a PBA tournament, I'm OK with that," Husted said. "We're supposed to be the best bowlers around, so we should be tested on a pattern like this.

"It's a little bit more fun to throw a lot more strikes than we did, but that goes to show that when guys were throwing five and six in a row just how well they were bowling, because you didn't have room for error."

Husted, who won his first and only PBA Northwest Regional singles title at the 2012 Ten Down Open in Roseburg, earned $700 for his third-place finish Sunday.

"You kind of get caught up in it when things aren't going your way, but then you think, 'Man, I'm here mixing it up on Sunday with 11 of the other best bowlers in the Pacific Northwest,'" Husted said. "It wasn't the outcome that I particularly wanted for myself, but watching Chris, who I've known since he was 6 years old, win his first PBA title was pretty dang cool.

"To win a PBA tournament under these conditions, you've got be sharp, and he was."

By Jim Beseda
Sports editor
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