Firestone Tournament Of Champions
$100,000 FIRESTONE TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Riviera Lanes, Akron, Ohio, Apr 1-6, 1968
Davis Is "Champs" Champ
Dave Davis didn't see the $25,000 ball he threw in his 213-205 victory over Don Johnson in the $100,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions at Riviera Lanes in Akron, Ohio ---- He was afraid to look.
It was the wrap-up in the richest of all bowling tournaments. Davis needed a mark in the tenth frame to take home the $25,000 first-place check. He threw his first ball and a solid seven defied the strike. The 6-3, 150-pounder stood on the approach ready to throw his second ball and knowing he needed that one pin for victory. He took off on his approach and HORRORS! . . . he hit his ankle on the down-swing. Fortunately . . . for Davis . . . it hung on and he got his mark.
While Davis was taking bows as king of the 48 champions, Johnson was kneedeep in sympathizers. For the second straight year he had come so close and yet finished so far away. And, it was the pin that Davis refused to watch, the seven, that proved his downfall for the second year in a row.
Not that Johnson missed "the critter," as he put it. But in the seventh frame when he was working on three strikes in a row, he threw what he thought was the fourth and the seven pin didn't wiggle.
As the qualifying leader, Davis "rested" while the other four finalists shot down each other. Dick Weber, the perennial finalist, was the first victim as he lost a 236-223 decision to Johnson. Johnson then humbled Bill Tucker, 195-187.
Enter Jim Stefanich, the defending champion. Jim was just as bad as he had been good the year before when he set 13 records on his way to the title. Four big splits produced a 145 game while Johnson tallied 201.
The stage was set and Davis strode into the picture. He and Johnson played even for the first five frames. Then from the sixth through the eighth Johnson turkeyed. But Davis went strike, strike, spare, strike to set the stage for the seven pin high jinks in the tenth frame.
In the meantime, Johnson ran into a four-six-ten split which washed him out. The Kokomo Kid was non-committal about his sour luck for the second straight year. Of course, the $12,500 second-place check salved his wound.
Stefanich, who just the year before celebrated putting $25,000 in the bank, picked up $6,500 for third, Tucker won $3,500 for fourth and Weber got $2,500 for fifth place.
"Firestone Week" was a typical plush affair which started with the Dinner of Champions Monday night at Firestone Country Club.
And, the girls had their shot in the sun. While the champions were being feted at the Firestone Country Club, Mrs. Lorraine Stitzlein was hosting the wives of the champs and Firestone officials at a gala dinner party. Mrs. Roone Arledge, wife of the president of ABC-Television sports, was one of the guest speakers.
PLAYOFF RESULTS-Johnson defeated Weber, 236-223; Johnson defeated Tucker, 195187; Johnson defeated Stefanich, 201-145, and Davis defeated Johnson, 213-205, in the final game for the championship. 48-GAME TOTALS 24-GAME TOTALS **Alternate-Jack Biondolillo dropped out. Welu & Biondolillo each received $1,075. 24th Place Low-Teata Semiz, 4,771. 24-Game Qualifying Leader-Dave Davis, 5158. Pro-Am Cashers-$50-Dick Weber, Nelson Burton, Jr., Glenn Allison, Mike Durbin, Carmen, Salvino, Les Schissler.
**Alternate-Jack Biondolillo dropped out. Welu & Biondolillo each received $1,075. 24th Place Low-Teata Semiz, 4,771. 24-Game Qualifying Leader-Dave Davis, 5158. Pro-Am Cashers-$50-Dick Weber, Nelson Burton, Jr., Glenn Allison, Mike Durbin, Carmen, Salvino, Les Schissler.