$115,000 NORTHWEST CLASSIC
Celebrity Bowl, Kennewick, WA, Jul 7-11, 1995
Handegard Becomes Oldest PBA National Champion
John Handegard beat the odds in the Northwest Classic at Celebrity Bowl in Kennewick, Wash., as he captured his first PBA title. At age 57, Handegard, Las Vegas, is now (he oldest player to win a PBA national tournament.
A 10-time PBA senior champion, Handegard rolled through four opponents to collect the $18,000 top prize and a berth into the 1996 Brunswick World Tournament of Champions.
"Unimaginable...unbelievable...this is the biggest win of my career," said Handegard after his astonishing win. "I can't stop smiling. I've never felt anything like I'm feeling right now."
Handegard's four opponents had a combined 44 national titles. Fifth-seeded, Handegard first disposed of '95 leading money winner Mike Aulby, 215-205. Aulby, Indianapolis, coming off wins at the Brunswick World Tournament of Champions and the American Bowling Congress (ABC) Bud Light Masters, needed two strikes and two pins in the final frame to lock up the win. The 23-time champion failed, leaving the 2-pin on his first ball.
In the second game of the ESPN finals, Norm Duke's bid to become the 16th millionaire in PBA history was thwarted by Handegard. Duke, Edmund, Okla., never led in the match as Handegard rolled nine strikes, including the last five in a row for the 239-225 win. A first or second-place finish would have put Duke over $1 million in career earnings.
In the semifinal game Bryan Goebel, Merriam, Kan., opened with six strikes against Handegard, but faltered in the eighth frame when he left the 4-6-10 split. That opened the door for Handegard who went on to win, 237-235.
In the title match against six-time champion Mark Williams, Handegard threw 10 strikes in his first 11 shots en route to a 278-247 victory. Williams hasn't won since 1988.
Handegard replaced PBA Hall of Famer Buzz Fazio as the oldest to win a national tournament. Fazio was 56 years and 307 days old when he won the Northern California Open in 1965.
Duke also entered his name into the PBA record book. He and Doug Wallace rolled to a 300 tie in the 19th game of match play. They became only the fourth duo to accomplish the feat. In fact, Duke was involved in a 300 game tie with Purvis Granger at the 1987 Showboat Invitational in Las Vegas. The other record holders are Tom Baker and Pete Weber (Denver, 1981) and David Ozio and Mike Edwards (San Antonio, 1993).
PLAYOFF RESULTS-Handegard defeated Aulby, 215-205; Handegard defeated Duke, 239-225; Handegard defeated Goebel, 237-235; and in the championship game, Handegard defeated Williams, 278-247. 42-GAME TOTALS OTHER CASHERS *-Match play alternate. 18-game qualifying leader-Mark Williams, 4330. 24th place-Bob Spaulding, 4003. 42nd place-Robby Porter, 3910. #-Rick Berry, Tim Criss, Norm Duke, John Handegard, David Leverage, Doug Wallace and Mark Williams rolled 300 games $142.86 each). PRO-AM CASHERS-Len Blakey, Parker Bohn III, Gene Bruihl, Jason Porter, Chris Warren and Mark Williams ($50 each).
*-Match play alternate. 18-game qualifying leader-Mark Williams, 4330. 24th place-Bob Spaulding, 4003. 42nd place-Robby Porter, 3910. #-Rick Berry, Tim Criss, Norm Duke, John Handegard, David Leverage, Doug Wallace and Mark Williams rolled 300 games $142.86 each). PRO-AM CASHERS-Len Blakey, Parker Bohn III, Gene Bruihl, Jason Porter, Chris Warren and Mark Williams ($50 each).