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Guelph bowler Fach still on a high from ground-breaking PBA victory

"I didn't want to be the first bowler to puke on TV" says Graham Fach, who returned home after becoming the first Canadian to ever win a PBA tour event
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Graham Fach of Guelph stands at Woodlawn Bowl less than a week after becoming the first Canadian to win an event on the PBA Tour. Rob Massey for GuelphToday

Graham Fach of Guelph was just starting to come down from the high of scoring his first win on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour.

"This is the biggest high I've ever been on in my life bowling. It's incredible," Fach said as he sat at Guelph's Woodlawn Lanes a few days after winning the Barbasol PBA Players Championship at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl at Columbus, Ohio.

By winning the tournament, Fach became the first Canadian to win on the PBA Tour.

"That is very surprising, but I knew that coming into the tournament because Dan MacLelland, who is probably Canada's best bowler - actually, undoubtedly Canada's best bowler - he's made plenty of PBA telecasts and every time he makes a telecast the PBA makes sure to say that he can be the first Canadian to win on the PBA Tour," Fach said.

"It just shows how hard the PBA Tour is to bowl on because Canada has great quality bowlers and the fact that Dan hasn't done it just proves to how tough it really is out there."

In only his second PBA event, Fach topped a field of 120 to become the champion of one of The PBA's four major events.

"I really couldn't believe it," the 24-year-old left-hander said. "Throughout my life I told myself that I would eventually be turning professional and competing full time as a career. I decided to do that this year and in my second event to not only win an event, but to win a major event, I could not have predicted that at any stage in my career."

While Fach made sure his mother Connie was in attendance for the final, several other relatives were among the crowd that gathered at Woodlawn Bowl to watch it live including Bob McKay, owner of the lanes where Fach got his start in the sport.

"If there had to be somebody be the first, I'm not surprised that it was Graham because of his ability," he said. "Graham never faltered all week. He stayed within his skin and he did what he had to do.

"There have been so many Canadians get almost there. The difference I think with Graham is that I really believe he had the belief he could do it and that's more than half the battle at that level."

Fach had a strong start to the six-day tournament and didn't let nerves get to him.

"That's always a really big fear as a bowler and not just a bowler, but a bowler who doesn't have a lot of experience on the PBA Tour," he said. "You don't know how to handle the highs and the lows. After Day 1 when I bowled fantastic, I was second after qualifying. I was on a real big high and I was telling myself 'OK, I can compete.'"

The win came a week after Fach had been 171st in his first PBA Tour debut in a tournament at Indianapolis.

"I thought I bowled well, but at the end of the tournament I saw my name in 171st," he said. "I know I told myself I'd go pro, but I thought I bowled well and I'm 171st and you're not making any money. These thoughts keep going in your head.

"You have to have a short memory as a bowler. You have to get rid of any negative thoughts or it will affect your next shot or your next tournament or the whole next season if not dealt with properly. Luckily I was able to exorcise those demons and start fresh for the next tournament."

However, he still had a worry in the final rounds of the tournament when the matches were shown live on television. He had come down with a cold during the event and it got worse as the tournament went on.

"The adrenalin kicked in at the right time," he said. "I was mopey the day before and hours before the show. I didn't want to be the first bowler to puke on TV. I wasn't feeling that well at all."

He had chills until the final.

"The TV set was so warm with the bright lights and everything that it actually felt great," he said. "So that with the adrenalin, I felt fine for the hour or however long it was on TV and maybe half an hour after the TV show was over, I was back to normal. That was all I needed."