Here is No. 6 of the notable bowling events in Los Angeles County for 2012:
Since he joined the senior Professional Bowlers Assn. at 50, Barry Gurney has emerged as one of the area’s elite bowlers.
He has won four national senior tour championships and ranks 20th in the latest list of all-time senior earnings with $206,985.
And Gurney hasn’t slowed down a whit since turning 70. In fact, one month before his 71st birthday, he turned in a bowling feat that was absolutely amazing.
Gurney, a West Hills resident, simply called it probably the biggest comeback of his career.
No doubt, he was understating the achievement.
In June, Gurney entered the PBA Senior Northern California Classic that was chock full of bowling greats, such as Walter Ray Williams Jr.
With a 268 game as a springboard, Gurney qualified 18th into the finals and then took on Tom Carter of Rockford, Ill., in a best-of-five-game series.
The left-handed Gurney found his rhythm early on, winning the first game decisively by a 244-196 score before squeaking out a 235-234 victory in the second game.
The third game proved quite a bit more challenging.
Gurney opened in three of the first four frames. He had his first mark in the second frame (a spare) after an open in the first frame but failed to convert two splits in the next two frames. With a score of 44 after four frames, Gurney seemed destined to play a fourth game.
Trailing by 60 pins with three frames remaining, Gurney seemed out of it. But with the strength of a six-bagger (six straight strikes), Gurney came out of nowhere and overtook the struggling Carter in the 10th frame.
The final count was 202-196 and Gurney had an improbable sweep of the match.
The victory advanced Gurney to the next round where he met up with the powerful Hugh Miller of Seattle, who prevailed with scores of 222-183, 224-188 and 244-224. Miller would later fall to Williams in the finals.
The loss to Miller couldn’t remove the exhilaration of Gurney’s shocking victory in the previous round.
“A lot of times, I just snuck in the back door and then won the tournament,” said Gurney of his past tournament performances.
“I’ve always been a slow starter and tend to bowl better in match play. When you feel lucky that you’re just in there [finals], that’s when it’s fun.
“It’s like you’re throwing the ball at [AMF] Woodlake [Lanes in Woodland Hills] and it’s just practice. You’re so relaxed, you just tend to bowl better in match play.”