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Eric Forkel scores stunning comeback to claim bowling title

Eric Forkel blasted scores of 248 and 234 in his final two games to claim the SNBT title.
Eric Forkel blasted scores of 248 and 234 in his final two games to claim the SNBT title.Courtesy of Eric Forkel

Eric Forkel called it “the beauty of bowling.”

Forkel rallied strongly at the end of his match to overcome a seemingly insurmountable deficit and win the Southern Nevada Bowling Tour 10-game scratch tournament title Sunday at South Point Lanes in Las Vegas, Nev.

Fokel was about 100 pins out of first place entering the final two games and didn’t take the lead until his last game.

“I was hovering fourth and fifth all day and the last two games I caught fire. And the people ahead of me lost ground,” recounted Forkel, one of the top bowlers to come out of the San Fernando Valley.

The 53-year-old Forkel averaged 217.4 for the 10-game set, but nailed his 17th SNBT title on the strength of his sizzling final two games: 248 and 234.

Meanwhile, 43-year-old right-hander Dave Wodka of Henderson, Nev., fell out of the lead with disastrous games of 159 and 183 at the end.

Forkel won by 40 pins and earned his fourth straight SNBT Labor Day 10-game championship with scores of 173, 238, 223, 204, 225, 232, 203, 194, 248 and 234 for a 2174 total.

“For some reason, Labor Day weekend has been a good weekend for me,” laughed Forkel, a Henderson, Nev., resident.

Forkel, who has won five national Professional Bowlers Assn. Tour titles and 27 PBA regional championships, competed in a 44-player field and earned $1,100 for his first-place finish.

He added that his scores surged at the end as he made a key adjustment. “I made a ball change,” said Forkel, a Van Nuys High graduate. “It was the right move at the right time.”

Forkel will be celebrating his 54th birthday Sept. 30 and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

Said Forkel on his Facebook page: “As I get older, these things don’t happen as much any more, so every win gets a bit more special.”

Said an admiring John Sowell, a left-handed bowler like Forkel: “That guy gets better with age. He’s like a good wine.”

Addressing the age factor, Forkel recites a line that comes from one of the songs by country music star Toby Keith:

“I ain’t as good as I once was.
But I’m as good once as I ever was.”