13th Annual National Championship
$65,000 13th ANNUAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Henrietta Lanes Rochester, N.Y., Nov 26-Dec 1, 1972
"Gunner" Turns Bomber
For the second straight year Johnny Guenther, Seattle, Wash., found Henrietta Lanes here to his liking . . . only this time there was a bigger prize at stake.
Guenther won the $65,000 Professional Bowlers Association National Championship in Rochester after a ding-Bong battle with runnerup Dick Ritger, Hartford, Wis., during the final 16 games.
Guenther won the $40,000 Mercury Open here on virtually the same dates in 1971, and the long trek from Seattle again proved fruitful for Guenther as he captured one of bowling's "Big Four" titles.
The championship went right down to the position round game with Guenther winning, 225-193, to clinch the title.
The battle between he and Ritger was a thriller all the way on the last day. Both Guenther and the Wisconsin pro were farther back in the field as 32 games of qualifying and semi-final play ended with Matt Surina, Kelso, Wash., in the lead and Guenther and Ritger, second and third.
Surina started to fade during match game play the night before, and when it resumed the next afternoon Ritger managed to cling to a five-pin lead over Guenther after the first eight games.
In the final block the lead changed after virtually every game, with Guenther finally piling up a 35-pin edge going into the position round championship game. This meant that Ritger needed a six-pin win to go with the 30 bonus pins awarded the winner of the game, and for a time it looked as though he might turn the trick.
In the championship game, Guenther surprisingly left, and failed to make, a 7 pin in the first frame and then ran into a split in the third. This put Ritger up nearly 20 pins, but he, too, suffered a split in the fifth frame, and Guenther recovered for the championship-deciding margin.
Three 300 games spiced the action which was played to full-house crowds at nearly every session. Butch Gearhart, Houston, Texas, and Charlie Venable, Brooklyn, N.Y., rolled 300's during qualifying competition and Jay Robinson, Los Angeles, Calif., got another one in match game play.
Guenther received $7,500 for his victory, Ritger $4,000 for placing.
*Alternate. #Jay Robinson, Butch Gearhart, Charles Venable received $100 each for 300 games. 32game qualifying leader-Surina 7217. 24th low-Strampe 6783. PRO-AM CASHERS-$50-Jay Robinson, Billy Hardwick, George Fejes, Don Johnson, Dick Weber. $25-Johnny Guenther and Roy Buckley.