Firestone Tournament Of Champions
$125,000 FIRESTONE TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Riviera Lanes Akron, Ohio, Mar 28-Apr 1, 1972
Durbin Rolls To Victory
Mike Durbin's professional bowling career reached its zenith when he fired a threegame 775 series to win the $125,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions, professional bowling's richest and most prestigious tournament.
In the championship game, Durbin triumphed over Timmy Harahan, Canoga Park, Calif., 258-187, to climax the tournament and grab off the $25,000 first prize.
Durbin, who had left the tour to become a house pro at Chagrin Falls, set one Professional Bowlers Association record enroute to his big victory and then had to fight his way from third place in the nationally televised finals to win this richest of all competitions.
Throughout the earlier part of the week, he had battled for the lead with Nelson Burton Jr. and Harahan. He also faced challenges from Larry Laub, George Pappas and Teata Semiz.
Terry Booth, Mountain View, Cal., got the tournament off to a great start with a 300 game right out of the box, while Laub and Mike Lemongello also chipped in with perfect games to the vast enjoyment of the huge crowds which jammed Riviera Lanes all week. But all the while Durbin was setting a faster pace than any in the 52-man field. For the first 16 games, Durbin totalled 4006 pins which broke the old PBA record of 3926 pins set by Jim Stefanich at these same lanes in 1967.
He slowed down slightly during match game play, alternating between first and second place with Harahan, until the position-round when he slipped to third place under a 258-147 defeat by Harahan. That dropped Durbin to third for the finals, along with Harahan, Laub, Pappas and Semiz. Harahan was top seeded.
In the first match, Pappas had 268 to Semiz' 248. Against Durbin, Pappas got his bad ball in the sixth frame when he left the 4-6-7-10 split and Durbin coasted in with a 248-226 victory. That sixth frame also proved fatal for Laub, who was the next to face Durbin. Laub left an 8-10 split in the sixth frame and he went down to defeat 269-224.
In the championship game, Harahan couldn't duplicate his fine bowling of all week. Durbin chopped the six-pin off the 10 in the very first frame, but Harahan just couldn't put any pressure on Durbin, because the former Californiancame right back with a double and then added six more strikes while Harahan dropped steadily behind.
PLAYOFF RESULTS-Pappas defeated Semiz, 268-248; Durbin defeated Pappas, 248-226; Durbin defeated Laub, 269-224, and in the championship game Durbin defeated Harahan, 258-187. 48-GAME TOTALS 24-GAME TOTALS *Alternates. # Booth, Lemongello and Laub received $100 U.S. Savings Bonds for 300 games. 24Game Qualifying leader-Durbin 5722. 24th Low-Zikes 5207. PRO-AM CASHERS-$50 each-Harry Smith, Don Helling, Bobby Cooper, Johnny Petraglia, Mike Durbin, Larry Laub.
*Alternates. # Booth, Lemongello and Laub received $100 U.S. Savings Bonds for 300 games. 24Game Qualifying leader-Durbin 5722. 24th Low-Zikes 5207. PRO-AM CASHERS-$50 each-Harry Smith, Don Helling, Bobby Cooper, Johnny Petraglia, Mike Durbin, Larry Laub.