He was thinking about the screaming crowd that lit up after a loose “messenger” pin rolled around, felling the 10th pin for that crucial strike.
He was thinking about his wife, Linda, who loved coming to Brentwood but passed away in January after battling liver disease.
He wasn’t, however, thinking about where his feet needed to be in that moment.
So excited was Mohr that he lined up in the lane to the left of him, until members of the crowd told him to move over. Finally rightfully aligned, the Eagle River, Alaska native threw a perfect strike, earning a 223-215 victory over top-seeded Hugh Miller in the finals.
“This is where Linda would want me to be,” Mohr said. “When I got up in the ninth frame, I got up in the approach and I said, ‘Thank you, honey, for getting me this far. No matter what happens the rest of the way, thank you.’”
Mohr’s performance in the finals was an exciting come-from-behind effort. After the sixth frame, Miller led Mohr 129-108.
In the seventh frame, Mohr rolled a strike, again aided by a “messenger” pin. Miller, from Seattle, managed to knock down nine in the first attempt, picking up the spare, but that allowed Mohr to get back into the competition.
Eventually, Miller took a slim 175-173 lead into the 10th frame.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way I bowled,” said Miller, who rolled two 300 games in qualifying rounds. “My look I was trying to create wasn’t going the way I wanted it to, but I made him double. That’s all I could do.”
After Miller bowled three strikes in that final frame, the pressure was on for Mohr, who had to come up with two strikes in a row to stay in contention.
When Mohr lined up for his third throw, he knew he had the title – and the $8,000 cash prize – in the bag. The Northern California Classic was Mohr’s third Senior PBA victory this year.
“(Miller) gave me a chance and I was able to take it,” said Mohr, the 2009 Senior Player of the Year. “If you just make the best shot you can, that’s all you have control over and you see what happens.”
To get to the finals, the sixth-seeded Mohr defeated Kent Wagner two games to one in the round of eight. In the semifinals, Mohr bested Wayne Webb 223-195 for the right to face Miller.
Miller topped Japan native Junichi Yajima in the round of eight; then outbowled Dick Baker 248-237 in the semifinals.
A Columbus, Ohio native, Webb gave one of the most impressive performances of the day, defeating second-seeded Walter Ray Williams Jr. in the round of eight. Williams, a seven-time PBA Champion and the all-time leader in PBA wins and earnings, was considered a favorite to win the Northern California Classic.
Webb bowled a perfect game until the seventh frame, when he picked up a spare. He won the first game of the best-of-three matchup 256-192 and defeated Williams in game two 257-220.
“I couldn’t miss in practice, and then we started and all of a sudden one lane hooked and the other one didn’t,” Williams said. “I couldn’t figure it out.”
A handful of East County senior bowlers made it through the qualifying rounds for this event, but did not make it to the final day. Mark Clyburn of Pittsburg placed 38th, earning $700. Antioch’s Lee Patterson finished 44th. Pittsburg resident Al Bella came in 47th. Michael Palmer of Antioch and Lorri Sims of Oakley placed 78th and 79th. Brentwood’s David Chew, Dan Roberts and Jocko Mangin finished 83rd, 85th and 87th, respectively. Duane Wilson of Brentwood came in 97th and Keith Pridgeon of Antioch put in a 98th-place finish.