Firestone Tournament Of Champions
$100,000 FIRESTONE TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Riviera Lanes, Akron, Ohio, Mar 28-Apr 1, 1967
Stefanich: King Of Champs
They'll be shouting about the shooting in the 1967 Professional Bowlers Association $100,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions for many a day. You just don't riffle the record book with 17 - new marks and roll four 300 games in one tourney without causing a commotion.
Jim Stefanich, of Joliet, Ill., took home the $25,000 first prize, popped one of the perfectos, his first ever, and inked his name beside an even dozen in THE book. Billy Welu got out of the starting blocks like a greyhound to knock off three records and his fourth 300.
Jack Biondolillo socked the biggest 300 in the history of the game. His came before the American Broadcasting Company's national colored television cameras for which he collected a cool ten thou ($10,000). Mike Limongello's 12 strikes were worth $8.33 apiece ($100), as were Welu's and Stefanich's.
But all this was just the forerunner to a finish which left the 25,000,000 TV fans and some 1,500 in attendance at Riviera Lanes hanging out the window.
The championship match simmered and then boiled before ending in a 227 tie when Don Johnson, the Kokomo (Ind.) Kid, struck on his last pitch. A two-frame playoff saw Johnson die when his nose hit produced a split. Stefanich shot him down with three in the one-three pocket.
As the leading qualifier through the first 48 games, Jim was seeded into the championship match. He watched in awe as Biondolillo stroked his 300 in defeating Les Schissler who had 216. But Biondolillo shot his wad in this one and had to struggle to gain a 188-181 decision over Mike Durbin. Johnson then encircled the Houston entry, 228-172, to set up the heroics in the title go.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Stefanich and Johnson tied at 227 and Stefanich won rolloff, 43-36. ROUND ROBIN: Biondolillo defeated Schissler, 300-216 ; Biondolillo defeated Durbin, 188-181 ; Johnson defeated Biondolillo, 228-172. 48 GAMES 24 GAMES Welu, Stefanich, Biondolillo and Limongello won $100 Savings Bond for perfect game. Biondolillo won $10,000 for perfect game on national television.
Welu, Stefanich, Biondolillo and Limongello won $100 Savings Bond for perfect game. Biondolillo won $10,000 for perfect game on national television.