Fourth Annual National Championship
$60,000 FOURTH ANNUAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
GARDEN CITY BOWL, LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK, Nov 12-17, 1963
Hardwick Climaxes Great Year
The Fourth Annual National Championship event of the PBA was its biggest and most successful in many ways. The event was sponsored by the Nassau Bowling Proprietors Association at Long Island, N.Y., and that organization ran eliminations which produced 368 amateurs for the big Pro-Am event which was held on opening night.
The tournament itself was won by youthful Billy Hardwick of San Mateo, Calif.; almost in a walk-away. It was BillyHardwick the first time the PBA's successful new format had received its trial over a long-haul tournament and itworked to near-perfection. Pins were carried forward as the field was narrowed to 96, then to 48, and then to the 24finalists who engaged each other in head-to-head competition, with a bonus 50 pins for each game won.
By the time the finals were getting underway, Hardwick, moving up steadily, had become the crowd favorite. Hardwick, only 22, had previously won three PBA titles in 1963, and he was not unnerved by the television coverage of the finals. Going into the last game against unheralded Don Johnson of Kokomo, Ind., Hardwick was 287 pins ahead. He had earlier nipped Johnson in a thriller, 269267. In the next to the last game, the Indiana youth beat Hardwick 192-187.
But in the final game, Hardwick won, 203-177, and at the same time on the adjoining lane, Ray Bluth was defeating Fred Lening, 213-208, and jumped into second place. Hardwick's 61-game average was 207 and he won 18 of his 25 final round games. His check for $7,500 also made him leading money-winner of the PBA for the year. Bluth's runnerup finish was his 10th such position in PBA history.
FINALS (61 GAMES)
SEMI-FINALISTS (36 GAMES)