- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Gary Faulkner Jr. won the Professional Bowlers Association World Championship on Thursday night to become the second black bowler to win a tour title.

The 25-year-old Faulkner, from Memphis, Tennessee, beat top qualifier EJ Tackett of Huntington, Indiana, 216-178 in the final at the National Bowling Stadium.

George Branham III is the only other black winner in tour history. He won five times, including the 1986 Brunswick Memorial World Open and the 1993 Firestone Tournament of Champions.

“The first shot I was nervous, but after that I didn’t think about anything,” Faulkner said. “My mind was free. I didn’t watch the other guys. I don’t show a lot of emotions. My goal is always to win. I didn’t come here to lose.

“Over the past year, I felt it coming. I was making small mistakes, but I’d go home and check my stats and fix my mistakes. Those small pins add up over time. I knew I could do it. I visualized it. I had maybe a half hour of nervousness, but I took a nap and came over here to bowl, and that was it.”

Scott Norton of Mission Viejo, California, opened the stepladder finals with a 215-202 victory over Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida. Faulkner beat Norton 262-218 in the second match, and topped Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, New York, 247-237 in the semifinal.

Faulkner earned $60,000, Tackett made $30,000, Ciminelli $25,000, Norton $20,000, and Page $15,000.

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