TERRE HAUTE — The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) rolled off its national tour this week with the USBC Masters, the finals being televised live on ESPN inside the Wisconsin Exposition Center beginning at 1 p.m. today.
But while this is predominantly a men’s tour — just opening up its membership to women a couple years ago following the demise of the Professional Women’s Bowlers Association — a trio of women familiar to Terre Haute bowlers have been making their marks, literally.
Most of the off-season national media attention has been focused on Kelly Kulick, the first woman to earn a season-long exemption when she finished sixth at the PBA Tour Trials last June.
Making her tour debut this week, Kulick slipped into the match-play round by the slimmest of margins. She won a one-game roll-off against 2003-04 PBA Rookie of the Year Chris Johnson, 210-156, after the pair tied for 63rd place with a 3,129 15-game pinfall after three days of qualifying.
While Kulick was just scraping by, Liz Johnson — the first woman to qualify for a PBA event in 2004 whom also finished second in a PBA event in 2005, finished 11th with 3,321. Carolyn Dorin-Ballard finished 25th with 3,247.
In match play, Kulick won her first match against John Nolen (588-573), but then was knocked out in the double-elimination format by Doug Kent (739-614) and Mark Clark (635-596).
Both Johnson and Dorin-Ballard fared a little better, but were eventually eliminated too.
Johnson was 3-2 in match play. After falling to Christopher Sand (656-669), she topped Steve Lemke (700-560), Mike Edwards (686-674) and Dan Bock (658-584), before being sidelined by Mike Rose (651-630).
Dorin-Ballard finished 2-2 in match play. She topped seven-time winner Steve Jaros (620-606), six-time winner Mika Koivuniemi (686-613), before being stopped by Mike Wolfe (703-687) and 32-time winner Pete Weber (669-629).
Possibly the best pairing in the tournament not on today’s TV show was the roll-off for fifth place late Friday night, as 42-time PBA winner Walter Ray Williams Jr. topped 32-time winner Weber 748-712.
Williams Jr. recently surpassed Earl Anthony’s all-time record of 41 tour victories in winning the Dydo Japan Cup in September.
Oh by the way, advancing to today’s TV finals out of an original field of 497 bowlers — the winner getting $100,000 and a two-year tour exemption — were Tommy Jones, Doug Kent, George Lambert IV and Jack Jurek.
• Fantasy bowling — If you like fantasy football, hockey, basketball, golf, baseball, NASCAR … you name it, there’s been a fantasy league available for about any sport you can think of. But NOT bowling.
Until this year.
The Professional Bowlers Association announced this week it has teamed with GoPlay Network to provide bowling fans with the 2006-07 PBA Tour Fantasy Bowling Challenge.
Competitors can go to www.pbafantasygame.com to sign up for their personalized team, and can start forming their leagues on Monday.
The FBC is a unique interactive game designed to give fans a chance to field their ultimate fantasy bowling team, selecting a team of 10 players from different pools and play six each week.
Fantasy bowling competitors have the opportunity to win a variety of PBA prizes throughout the season. Weekly winners can earn pins, pin sweeps and jerseys autographed by PBA Tour bowlers along with PBA High Performance balls, PBA merchandise and coupons for entrees at Denny’s.
The overall leader at the midpoint of the PBA Tour will win an entry into the 64th U.S. Open, while the overall champion will receive an item autographed by all 58 PBA Tour exempt players.
The deadline to enter for the USBC Masters passed earlier this week, but you can join prior to this week’s tour stop in Taylor, Mich. So get signed up right away.
• Honeychurch is still a champion — It’s kind of refreshing to see a bowler be successful on the lanes using just one bowling ball.
It seems bowling is becoming as expensive as golf when it comes to equipment. The average bowler is at a distinct disadvantage going up against an experienced bowler armed with a ball for every possible lane condition.
Well, eight-time Professional Women’s Bowling Association champion Cara Honeychurch — a regular PWBA tour competitor who made multiple stops in Terre Haute before it ceased operations in 2003 — proved it can still be done.
Honeychurch hadn’t bowled a competitive game since 2003 and traveled more than 24 hours and 8,000 miles from her Melbourne, Australia home to participate in a recent weekly made-for-TV (ESPN2) event. With just one bowling ball at the start.
Honeychurch, an eight-time PWBA titlist, struck on the first shot of her final frame to defeat Colombia’s Clara Guerrero 235-225 in the championship match of the USBC Women’s Challenge which aired on Oct. 16.
The left-hander hadn’t bowled much since the PWBA ceased operations three years ago, yet averaged over 234 in her four tournament wins.
This unique tournament was filmed over two days in August played in a single-lane arena that was specially constructed in the middle of the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas, Nev.
“I haven’t thrown a ball competitively in three years, so no one is more surprised about this win than me,” Honeychurch said on the PBA website. “I tried not to focus on the outcome and took it one shot at a time. I am satisfied with what I’ve accomplished in my career and to be able to leave on a good note is fantastic.”
Other familiar competitors to Terre Haute fans in this event included Dorin-Ballard, Cathy Dorin-Lizzi, Kendra Gaines, Kim Terrell, Liz Johnson and Leanne Barrette.
• Local news — Vigo Bowl reported several 300 games recently. Rolling perfect games were A.J. Wilson, Danny Travelstead, Crystal Sullivan, Dave Elder, Joe Busch and Richard Rich. Near-misses included Cody Moore (299), Brad Burris (299) and Randy Christian (298).
At the Terre Haute Bowling Center, Clint Woods had a 300 game last week.
• Note of advice — If you have noticed the paucity of local news in this week’s column, please be advised that news items, scores, story ideas, etc. need to be sent to an address or addresses noted below.
They can even be included with the league results turned in each week to the Tribune-Star from the local bowling establishments.
I have stated in the past that this is a forum for you —the local bowlers — and to make that work, I need your input.
Kegler’s Korner will be back in two weeks.
Dennis Clark can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.
Affordable Awards — High games: Pat Stewart 232, Just Us 854. High series: Stewart 638, Just Us 2,453.
Wolfe’s Auto Auction — High games: Pam Wilkins 212, Affordable Awards 829. High series: Linda Campbell 549, Affordable Awards 2,423.
Bush Restaurant Senior — High games: Doc Stephens 265, Mary Fugate 214, Golden Eagles 789. High series: Kenny Wilkey 645, Anita Maxwell 577, Golden Eagles 2,185.
Thursday Senior Mixed — High games: Woody Ferris 257, Barb Terrell 200, Wrecking Crew 717. High series: Ferris 655, Terrell 522, Wrecking Crew 2,150.
Distributor’s Terminal — High games: Carla Hendricks 227, Distributor’s Terminal 665. High series: Hendricks 522, Distributor’s Terminal 1,855.
Springhill Wholesale — High games: Marti Taylor and Mary Lou Fugate 178, Jim’s Cleaners 653. High series: Fugate 495, Jim’s Cleaners 1,770.
School Staff — High games: Stephen Johnson 236, Marilyn Daniel 195, Union Hospital 796. High series: Jim Sutch 615, Daniel 537, Union Hospital 2,226.
Vigo Bowl Bantams — High games: Devon Thomson 79, Gabrielle Yeager 73, Dark Dragons 246. High series: Thomson 135, Yeager 140, Dark Dragons 482.
Vigo Bowl Preps — High games: Alan Pershing 155, Kianna Sweatt 119, Mystery Inc. 493. High series: Pershing 397, Lacey Cooksey 310, Team 5 1,413.
Vigo Bowl Juniors — High games: Timmy Wright 202, Jennifer Barnhill 173, Da Patriots 767. High series: Wright 579, Barnhill 466, Da Patriots 2,222.
Vigo Bowl Seniors — High games: Billy Horning 257, Brittany Foster 246, Team 5 943. High series: Horning 647, Foster 705, Team 5 2,630.
Eagles Mixed — High games: Marlon Watson 268, Crystal Sullivan 236,
C and E Environmental 796. High series: Watson 682, Sullivan 658, C and E Environmental 2,301.
Church — High games: Jim Poff and David Buckallew 223, Candy Smith 182, Foursquare No. 2 709. High series: Poff 614, Smith 484, Foursquare No. 2 2,108.
Mic’s Pics — High games: Karen Cardinal 217, Barnes Construction 542. High series: Cardinal 528, Barnes Construction 1,449.
Terre Haute Bowling Center
THBC Seniors — High games: Keith Rader 264, Mackenzie Pepper 247. High series: Cameron Bolingr 685, Pepper 620.
THBC Juniors — High games: Dakota Winkler 219, Brooke McMullen 187. High series: Winkler 552, McMullen 494.
THBC Preps — High games: Bobby Bennett 223, Kelly Combs 146. High series: Tanner Tuberosa 460, Combs 403.
THBC Bantams — High games: Ben Dillion 129, Kellee Edington 97. High series: Cory Keller 346, Edington 215.
Gartland Foundry — High games: Ronald Crosley 247, Elnora Murrell 214, The Next Level 797. High series: Matt Lugar 671, Murrell 605, The Next Level 2,207.
THBC Majors — High games: Sean Pepper 247, Eryn Remley 235. High series: Pepper 665, Remley 616.
THBC Minors — High games: Roarke Harden and Devan Helmick 110, Kadi Troxel 72. High series: Helmick 280, Troxel 174.
Affordable Awards Ladies — High games: Kim Peabody 224, Honey Creek Mall Honies 901. High series: Peabody 595, Honey Creek Mall Honies 2,591.
Guarantee Roofing — High games: Clint Woods 300, Terre Haute Bowling Center 1,188. High series: Bryan arton 771, Terre Haute Bowling Center 3,366.
Prime Timer — High games: Samuel Scamihorn 227, Jean Liggett 201. High Series: Scamihorn 626, Liggett 534.
Wabash Valley Christian — High games: Tom Rottmann 243, Amanda Rottman 180, OBC 6 618. High series: T.Rottmann 667, A.Rottmann 505, OBC 6 1,810.
Ang Mixed — High games: Albert Mayes 258, Jodi Moan 224, Shear Madness II 816. High series: MAyes 694, Moan 602, Shear Madness II 2,212.
THBC Prime Timers — High games: Samuel Scamihorn 258, Laura Hayworth 213. High series: Scamihorn 751, Pat Kays 565.
Chandler Construction — High games: Justin Waldon 220, Renee Waldon 192, Wasnidge Racing 775. High series: J.Waldon 630, R.Waldon 512, Ball and Chain 2,067.
Affordable Awards Ladies — High games: Ed beasley 247, Melissa Dressler 212, Pin Squad 758. High series: Stewart Cole 653, Dressler 578, Coveleski Well Drilling 2,215.
Happiness Bag Ramps — High games: Chester Czarnecki 137, Catherine Whited 170, TEam 4 599. High series: Czarnecki 266, Whited 284, Team 4 1,136.
Happiness Bag Inc. — High games: John Sullivan 158, Jodi Stewart 134, Team 16 541. High series: Sullivan 300, Stewart 214, Team 16 1,058.
Toyota of Terre Haute — High games: Robert Sullivan 278, Springhill Plaza 1,144. High series: Steve Owens 724, Springhill Plaza 3,194.
Saturday Youth — High games: Scott Higginbotham 223, Heather Breshears 192, OGs 565. High series: Lance Weir 600, Breshears 527, OGs 1,516.
Archie’s Sports Bar — High games: Jeff Symon and Larry Knight 268, Headpin Dummies 1,134. High series: Jared Norris 733, Hi 99/Budweiser 3,236.
WIMS Lounge Monday Mixed — High games: Kelly Chesshir 280, LaDonna Singleton and Toni Orman 214, Team EXXXtreme 779. High series: Rick Robbins 719, Kris Tuberosa 575, Barnes Construction 2,152.
Tuesday Morning Ladies — High games: Phyllis Grover 201, We Try Harder 437. High series: Grover 486, We Try Harder 1,305.
Austin’s Bar Thursday Mixed — High games: Jim Shepherd 267, Jenny Tackett 239, Fitzpatrick Pearce 1,081. High series: Shepherd 690, Tackett 630, Austin’s 2,857.
Sunday Mixed — High games; Dan Hunt and Jim Sullivan 257, Lissa Dressler 246, PCC 781. High series: Sullivan 694, Dressler 631, PCC 2,188.
Smith Trucking — High games: Aaron Myers and Earl Neiswinger 279, Al’s Sports Bar 1,166. High series: Myers 736, Al’s Sports Bar 3,336.
John Curry Lanes (Elks)
Thursday Men — High games: Bill Chance 269, CIA 950. High series: Brian Carapezza 681, CIA 2,753.
Tuesday Men — High games: Frank Perry 250, Greenleaf 933. High series: J.C. Dressler 685, Greenleaf 2,768.