Long John Silver's Classic
$100,000 LONG JOHN SILVER'S CLASSIC
Leisure Lanes, Albuquerque, NM, Jan 27-31, 1998
Ward Wins Long John Silver Classic
Just three shots stood between Ricky Ward and a place in PBA Tour history.
The fiery former PBA Rookie of the Year (1991) from North Fort Myers, Fla., had started the title match of the Long John Silver's Classic with the first nine strikes and was almost counting the ways he could spend the $25,000 perfect game bonus. Nine strikes down and three to go and Ward was finishing on what he felt was his good lane -lane 23 at Leisure Bowl.
"I never thought I would miss on the left lane," said Ward. "Once I got the strike in the ninth frame, I felt good about my chances. But I got the ball wide early and it just came up a little flat."
The result was a 7-pin, which Ward converted and then ended the championship match with a strike on his "fill" ball. The 29-year-old had to "settle" for a 279-226 win over tournament leader Butch Soper and a $16,000 first-place check for his third career title.
Soper, who had held Ward off in the position round Friday night to earn the top seed, said, "After watching all the high scores In the first three matches, I thought maybe they were done throwing strikes. Then Ricky comes out and shoots 279. There's just no defense for that."
The high scores on the ESPN telecast started with match one where local favorite Gary Skidmore was nearly perfect himself.
Gary Skidmore, who owns the bowling center just across the street from Leisure Bowl, had shot 255 in the position round Friday night to come from 103 pins down just to make the telecast. The 43-year-old Albuquerque resident had not bowled in a PBA National Tour event since 1990 and won the last of his six titles in 1966.
"Thwhole week I played outside and I decided to move inside just about five minutes before we went on the air;" said Ward.!, guess I made the right move."
"I'm going to raise the bar for myself after making back-to-back shows and winning so early in the year," said Ward. "My goal was to try to win a title a year and I've already done that. I'm ready for more.'
PLAYOFF RESULTS-Skidmore defeated Scroggins, 278-222; Kent defeated Skidmore, 248-237; Ward defeated Kent, 257-244; and in the championship game, Ward defeated Soper, 279-226. 42-GAME TOTALS OTHER CASHERS *-Match play alternate. 18-game qualifying leader-Lee Vanderhoef, 4294. 24th place-Ryan Shafer, 3918.#-Wayne Webb, Butch Soper, Danny Wiseman and Dave Arnold rolled 300 games ($100 each). PRO-AM CASHERS-Gary Skidmore, Norm Titus, Ken Yokobosky, Dave Wodka, Brian Himmler and Bob Benoit ($50 each). t-Non-PBA member.
*-Match play alternate. 18-game qualifying leader-Lee Vanderhoef, 4294. 24th place-Ryan Shafer, 3918.#-Wayne Webb, Butch Soper, Danny Wiseman and Dave Arnold rolled 300 games ($100 each). PRO-AM CASHERS-Gary Skidmore, Norm Titus, Ken Yokobosky, Dave Wodka, Brian Himmler and Bob Benoit ($50 each). t-Non-PBA member.