With one game of qualifying remaining last year, Dale Traber's hopes of winning the United States Bowling Congress Senior Masters seemed bleak.
Sitting outside the cut number, Traber, of Cedarburg, Wis., fired a 259 game to surge into the match-play bracket and from there, he made his way into the championship match.
He avenged an earlier loss and defeated Ross Packard of San Jose, Calif., in consecutive matches, 720-691 and 673-622, to win his first career major title on the Professional Bowlers Association Senior Tour.
Traber will put that title on defense when the 2010 USBC Senior Masters begins with qualifying on Monday, June 14 at South Point Hotel and Casino Bowling Center in Las Vegas.
"Last year proves that you should never give up," said Traber, who ranks fourth on the Senior PBA Tour in points this season just behind Wayne Webb. "I was just grinding away and kept trying to make something happen and it did. This year, I feel like I've been bowling alright, but I haven't had much luck in match play. I just need things to happen now."
The 53-year-old right-hander has enjoyed a lifetime of success on the lanes, including 44 PBA regional titles and a runner-up finish to his brother, David, at the 1994 PBA National Championship. He also owns one other PBA Senior Tour title, which came at last year's PBA Senior Northern California Classic.
More than 260 of the top amateur and professional senior bowlers from across the country will have their sights set on dethroning Traber, who will be seeded directly into match play as the defending champion.
"I've been talking with (2008 Senior Masters champion) Kenny Parks, listening to what he's telling me so I can get a feel for what he went through last year," Traber said. "My plan is to watch and observe, and that's as much as I can do."
Competition begins with the opening five-game block of qualifying on Monday and continues with additional five-game blocks on Tuesday and Wednesday. The top 63 players after 15 games will join Traber and advance to the double-elimination match-play bracket on Thursday and Friday. The championship match is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PDT on Friday.
USBC SENIOR MASTERS
(at the South Point Hotel and Casino Bowling Center; all times Pacific)
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Sunday, June 13
1-2:15 p.m. - Practice session (Squad A and players A-K of Squad B)
3:45-5 p.m. - Practice session (Squad C and players L-Z of Squad B)
Monday, June 14
8-11 a.m. - Squad A qualifying (five games)
11 a.m.-2 p.m. - Squad B qualifying (five games)
2-5 p.m. - Squad C qualifying (five games)
Tuesday, June 15
8-11 a.m. - Squad B qualifying (five games)
11 a.m.-2 p.m. - Squad C qualifying (five games)
2-5 p.m. - Squad A qualifying (five games)
Wednesday, June 16
8-11 a.m. - Squad C qualifying (five games)
11 a.m.-2 p.m. - Squad A qualifying (five games)
2-5 p.m. - Squad B qualifying (five games)
(Top 63 advance)
Thursday, June 17
8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Match play
1:30-5:30 p.m. - Match play
Friday, June 18
8 a.m.-Noon - Match play
1-5 p.m. - Match play