At 71, Barry Gurney is still making his mark.
And the left-handed bowler from West Hills showed once again that he thrives on pressure.
Entering his 10th and final game in the preliminary round, Gurney was off the board of qualifiers. But after bowling a sizzling 252, he slipped into the final round as the ninth qualifier with a 205.3 average.
“That was kind of nice to come through under pressure,” said Gurney, perhaps the top bowler to come out of the San Fernando Valley.
Gurney also marveled at the score: 252. “How many people shoot 252 in their life?” Gurney asked. “It’s usually 258 or 259 but that was enough to get me on the board [for finalists].”
Gurney maintained his strong play in the final round, averaging 212.7 for the final 10 games.
“I can be dangerous if I make match play -- that’s when I relax,” said Gurney, one of only two left-handers in the 10-player finals.
The other left-hander, Kevin Gannon, won the title by averaging 222.8 in the finals after averaging 218.8 in the preliminary round.
Gurney also provided one of the match-play highlight games of the day when he took on Willie Wells of Las Vegas. Gurney blasted a 258, but Wells smoked a 268 to win the match. Wells finished second in the tournament after qualifying first.
The competition had only one division – mixing the 50-and-older group with the 60-and-older group. Only four of the younger group made it to the finals.
The top two finishers – Gannon and Wells – represented the older group.
“I was surprised more of the younger guys didn’t make the finals,” Gurney said. “I thought they would be dominant.”
Gurney won $360 for his fifth-place finish.