First Annual National Championship
$44,000 FIRST ANNUAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
IMPERIAL LANES, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, Nov 25-28, 1960
Another First For Carter
The first National Championship for the Professional Bowlers Association was an acid test in more ways than one. First sponsor Don Tebbe and his Imperial Lanes had a huge investment, and the PBA had to prove that a bowling tournament in which 192 of the best bowlers in the nation were competing could be successfully staged in less than one week.
The tournament was an unqualified success from all standpoints. Competition was close and interesting from start to finish. The early favorite for the championship was Don Carter, and the fact that he won it was almost anticlimactic although he had to come from far behind after a slow start.
At the end of the 30-game qualifying test, Carter led Ronnie Gaudern by 17 pins, 6,369 to 6,352. The final field listed the top names in bowling with two youngsters who would be heard from in the future. Gaudern, a handsome 21-year-old stringbean from San Antonio, and youthful Jack Biondolillo, at that time from Chicago, were the two youngsters in the field that included Dick Weber, J. B. Solomon, Harry Smith, Fred Lening, Billy Welu, Joe Joseph, Glen Blakesley, Johnny King, and Bob Chase.
In the finals, where the boys started blasting each other, Carter very nearly turned it into a rollaway. He mowed down opponent after opponent and compiled a point total of 237.17 to Gaudern's 227.24. Carter won 20 games, lost only 9, and tied one other, that with Gaudern.
At this point in his career, Carter was considered the master magician of all time. With the winning of the PBA National Championship, "Mr. Bowling" had captured every major title in the game except the Masters (which he was to do later).
The famed bent elbow artist was "threading the needle" and the pro bowlers were wondering if the Big Guy could go on forever.
SCORES OF FINALISTS (30 GAMES)
SEMI-FINALISTS (30 GAMES)