By JON SITLER
Well worth the wait.
Warren's Jeff Zaffino hasn't competed much this winter on the Professional Bowler's Association (PBA) Regional Tour.
In fact, due to bad weather and the cost of travel, this weekend's PBA Central/Midwest Region Eastown Recreation Center Open was just his second PBA event this winter.
It was also his 17th career regional title.
Zaffino dominated the event, taking home the $2,000 first prize. Out of 49 professional bowlers, Zaffino advanced to the match play finals by finishing among the top 12 (www.pba.com/Tournaments/RegionalResult/2747) at the Eastown Recreation Center in Jasper, Ind. He was eighth after eight games, averaging 226 a game.
But the "Cheetah" oil pattern is Zaffino's strength, and bowlers could see him coming a mile away.
He went 11-1 in match play, having basically clinched the title with about three games to go. He averaged 238.7 over 20 games, and with 30 bonus pins for each match play win, he rolled to the win.
"I was feeling really good," said Zaffino, 52, who last won a PBA Regional Tour title last April in Elmira, N.Y. "This pattern is very conducive to my game. I wasn't expecting to win, but traveling nine hours to Jasper, it makes it feel better."
Zaffino won his first regional title in 1996, after three years on the PBA Tour.
Zaffino teamed with Riga Kalfas, of Florence, Kent., on Jan. 29 to finish third ($1,600) at the PBA Central Region Legend Lanes Regular/Senior Doubles Classic (pba.com/Tournaments/RegionalResult/2759) in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
Zaffino will attempt to defend his PBA East Region title March 16 in the Rossi Lanes Senior Open in Elmira, N.Y.