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Levittown native Ziesig wins PBA event at Babylon Lanes

Brian Ziesig skillfully arched his final roll down the lane and watched as nine pins scattered on impact. The 10 pin, though, stood its ground.

But only briefly.

The crowd at AMF Babylon Lanes erupted into cheers as the 6 pin rolled into the 10 pin and Ziesig, a Levittown native, outlasted top-seeded Jason Belmonte in a sudden-death roll-off in yesterday's championship game of the Professional Bowlers Association GEICO Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship.

It was the first time an amateur won a Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour event since 2002.

"I think my dad's hand came over and just kind of laid them down for me," said Ziesig, 35, gesturing above his head.

It was his late father, Bob, who taught him how to bowl when Ziesig was just 4. And it was his father who long ago encouraged him to scrap his two-handed approach.

"He said, 'You have to start throwing it with one hand if you want to keep bowling with us on Sunday morning,' " Ziesig said. "And of course, who am I bowling against for my only PBA title? A guy who throws it with two hands."

Ziesig rolled three strikes in the 10th frame of the championship match to tie Belmonte, the Australian two-hander, at 247 in regulation and force a one-ball, sudden-death tiebreaker. Belmonte rolled a nine-count and Ziesig followed with a strike.

The hometown hero, who trailed Belmonte by 11 pins and finished in second place after Friday's match-play competition, fell to his knees and buried his head in his arms. Then he ran to his 7-year-old daughter, Kirsten, who held a handmade "Go Dada" sign, and his pregnant wife, Christine.

"My 15 minutes is officially over," said Ziesig, who works for Ace Mitchell, a wholesale bowling equipment distributor four miles from the bowling alley. "It's back to work tomorrow morning. To be able to accomplish this on national TV in front of a hometown crowd is really kind of a fantasy."

His boss, Peter Hakim, a former professional who won the 1986 Long Island Open, was near tears as he watched Ziesig accept the trophy and $25,000 check.

Ziesig, who defeated Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr., 255-237, in the semifinal match, said he won't renew his membership.

"On a week-to-week basis, I couldn't compete with these guys," said Ziesig, who toured professionally in 1998, 1999 and 2000. "These guys are the best in the world for a reason."

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