Firestone Tournament Of Champions
$125,000 FIRESTONE TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Riviera Lanes, Akron, Ohio, Mar 27-31, 1973
Godman A Repeat Winner
The Firestone Tournament of Champions has its first repeat champion.
Jim Godman, a strong-armed pro bowler from Lorain, Ohio, won the $125,000 tournament here, duplicating the triumph he first registered in 1969 and taking with him professional bowling's richest first prize, $25,000.
The victory was almost a virtual repeat in that Godman used the same style as he did in '69-a straight hard line to the pocket.
That style paid off from the very beginning of the tournament when he recorded a 266 in his very first game. Then he battled through 49 more games of competition until he defeated Barry Asher, Costa Mesa, Calif., 224-200, in the championship game.
Asher was one of three Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) champions in the exclusive 52-man field who nearly upset the victory-minded Godman.
Godman surrendered the tournament lead to Asher in the position round game when Asher fired a 290 game at Roy Buckley, Columbus, Ohio, and took over the number one seeded spot in the nationally televised finals.
Dave Davis, Don McCune and Dick Weber also held the lead briefly, but Godman never let himself drop lower than fourth in the game-by-game standings and he had it when the chips were down.
Larry Laub, a third-place finisher in the 1972 Firestone, also made it to the finals by coming up with a 216-205 victory over Paul Colwell, Tucson, Ariz., in that position-round game the night before.
Riviera Lanes was packed for the finals, just as it had been all week, and the crowd had picked Weber, pro bowling's all-time leading money winner, as its favorite.
And for a time it looked as though he might turn the trick.
He waited one game while McCune disposed of Laub, 232-217, then Weber strung four strikes in the middle of the game and added three more at the end to oust McCune, 235-218.
But Godman was not to be denied. He had been waiting nervously on the sidelines, watching his potential opponents on a television monitor and he decided then, just as he did four years earlier, to go with the same hard-line ball.
It worked. He knocked Weber out, 227-192, with strikes from the fourth through the seventh frames, and Weber's four closing strikes couldn't offset splits in the fourth and eighth frames.
In the championship game, Asher just couldn't find a line while Godman put together a three-bagger in the middle of the game. A double in the ninth frame clinched the big victory for Godman, the ninth of his professional career. His wife, Joyce, was on hand to receive the check from A. E. "Scotty" Brubaker, Firestone vice president.
Asher received $14,000 for second, Weber $8,000 for third, McCune $6,000 for fourth and Laub $4,000 for fifth. McCune, thus retains his money lead with official earnings of $39,960.
PLAYOFF RESULTS-McCune defeated Laub, 232-217; Weber defeated McCune, 235-218; Godman defeated Weber, 227-192; and in the championship game Godman defeated Asher, 224-200. 48-GAME TOTALS 24-GAME TOTALS *Alternate. 24-game qualifying leader-Godman 5169. 24th low-Colwell 4833. PRO-AM CASHERS-$50-Mike McGrath, Johnny Petraglia, Mike Durbin, Don McCune, Butch Gearhart, Dave Soutar.
*Alternate. 24-game qualifying leader-Godman 5169. 24th low-Colwell 4833. PRO-AM CASHERS-$50-Mike McGrath, Johnny Petraglia, Mike Durbin, Don McCune, Butch Gearhart, Dave Soutar.