Tenth Annual National Championship
$70,000 TENTH ANNUAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
GARDEN CITY BOWL GARDEN CITY, L. I., NEW YORK, Nov 30-Dec 6, 1969
Mike McGrath Is 1969 National Champ
Seldom in the annals of the Professional Bowlers Association have individual tournament championships been decided by a solitary pin.
But it happened, of all places, in 1969's $70,000 National Championship at Garden City Bowl in Garden City, L. I., N. Y.
And who was the beneficiary? ---- 23-year-old Mike McGrath of El Cerrito, Cal. His thrilling 212-211 win over Bill Allen of Fresno, Cal. left a huge crowd limp at the finish.
It was that way all week at. Garden City Bowl where the Nassau Bowling Proprietors Association staged a highly successful tournament that saw them enroll nearly 600 amateur bowlers in the opening Pro-Am. Following the Pro-Am, fans alternately cheered for their local favorites and watched Billy Hardwick of Louisville, Ky., who was trying to win his eighth victory of the year and break an all-time one year official money winning mark.
Going into the tournament Hardwick was $7,000 shy of the $67,375 won by Jim Stefanich of Joliet, Ill. a year earlier. He had won the PBA National championship at these same lanes in 1963 and was runnerup in the BPAA All-Star in 1968 ---- also at Garden City Bowl.
Hardwick actually took the lead early in the tournament and stayed close throughout, even when Allen took charge in the match-game play. While Allen's lead was burgeoning Friday night and Saturday afternoon, Hardwick was within three or four places of the top, although he did drop once to eighth, and all the time McGrath, was slowly but steadily cutting into the margins of the leaders.
In fact, he came almost out of nowhere to finally take over first place when he topped Keith Wiltse of Vicksburg, Mich., 234-192, in the next to last game., That left him 14 pins ahead of Allen going into the championship game, and when Allen sat down with a 211, McGrath needed a double and nine to win and that is exactly what he netted.
The victory could not have been sweeter for McGrath. Earlier in the year, he bowled a miserable 149 while losing the $75,000 Cougar Open to Ralph Engan at Paramus, N. J. A national television audience was looking on and McGrath felt badly enough about losing in front of such a huge audience.
But the $7,500 check for winning the National more than atoned, and the PBA had an articulate young National Champion and an equally happy Mrs. McGrath.
60-GAME FINALS AT GARDEN CITY
*Alternate. **Bill Jargella and Larry Laub received $100 for 300 games. 36-Game Qualifying Leader-Stefanich, 7745. 24th Man Low-Tuttle, 7353. Pro-Am Cashers ($50)-Gary Dickinson, Teata Semiz, Don Glover, Allie Clarke, Bill Allen, Ralph Engan, Larry Laub, Mike Orlovsky, Dick Ritger, Jack Biondolillo. ($25)-Harry Smith, Mike Limongello.