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Bowling: Brian Gunn savors first PBA regional title

Brian Gunn | Supplied photo

Brian Gunn | Supplied photo

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Updated: May 29, 2014 6:19AM



When you’ve thrown 107 perfect games in your career, it wouldn’t seem that going for No. 108 would be a knee-knocking experience.

But Brian Gunn couldn’t lie. This was something different.

Big-time different.

“I was definitely shaking like a leaf, definitely nervous through all of it,” the 41-year-old South Side resident said about shooting his first PBA 300 and going on to capture the first PBA regional title of his career April 6.

Gunn outshot a mega-tough field of bowlers in the PBA Security Federal Savings Bank Central/Midwest Championship at Star Lanes in Lafayette, Ind.

He opened and finished strong.

Gunn registered his 300 in the first of 21 games. In the championship game of match play, he beat Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., 268-209 to claim the title and the $2,300 first prize.

“I’ve known Ronnie for a couple of years,” Gunn said. “He’s always been a really good bowler. He’s got a couple of national titles and he’s been on TV a couple of times, so it wasn’t like I was bowling against a no-name opponent.

“The top five finalists were either international award winners or PBA national title-holders, with the exception of myself.”

Gunn is far from a no-name in local bowling circles. He’s at or near the top of the average lists on Monday at Burr Oak Bowl (224), Tuesday at Lakewood Bowl (231) and Wednesday at Town and Country Lanes (223).

He twice has finished a season with a 240-plus average.

Gunn manages the pro shop at Lakewood Bowl. He also is the owner and CEO of iGrind Bowling, an organization dedicated to the promotion of bowling.

Bowling, according to Gunn, was love at first sight — at age 6.

“My father woke up one Saturday morning and he was going to his normal bowling league,” he said. “I had a friend that had stayed the night so I asked, ‘Can we go with you?’

“We went to Starlight Lanes in Chicago. After I walked through those doors, I was hooked.”

Gunn’s biggest bowling payday was $7,000 in 1999 at an amateur tournament in Wickliffe, Ohio. In 2002, he shot a career-high 888 series (300-289-299) in Lake Station, Ind.

Gunn flirted with PBA regional glory in 2013 when he finished second in a tournament in Ohio.

“I was a shot away,” he said. “I thought I threw it pretty good, but it didn’t work out. I told myself if I had an opportunity like that again, I was going to take advantage of it.”

Gunn brought a five-ball arsenal of Columbia 300 products — the Eruption Pro Orange, the Crazy Antics, the Ransom Demand, the Eruption and the Oath — with him to Star Lanes.

He used the Oath in the title match against Russell.

“I was excited, but it was almost like a relief more than anything,” Gunn said. ‘It was the culmination of all the work that I put in through the time, the effort and energy.

“It was a great feeling. I still haven’t really come down off of it.”



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