Firestone Tournament Of Champions
$150,000 FIRESTONE TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
RIVIERA LANES, AKRON, OHIO, Apr 17-22, 1978
Earl Anthony, professional bowling's all-time top title-holder and money-winner, joined select company when he won his second Firestone Tournament of Champions at Akron's Riviera Lanes.
By capturing the $30,000 title in the rich $150,000 event, Anthony became just the third two-time Firestone winner, joining past champions Jim Godman (I969 and 1973) and Dave Davis (1968 and 1975). Earl's other Firestone title came in 1974.
The victory, his 30th in PBA competition, helped the Tacoma, Wash., southpaw raise his career earnings to better than $600,000.
Anthony never dropped below third place during the six rounds of competition, qualifying second for match play behind Nelson Burton Jr., St. Louis.
Anthony immediately surged into the lead and never let up for the 24 games of match play. He increased his lead from 90 pins to 197 sticks to 232 at the end of the 48-game test to determine the five TV finalists.
As the No. 1 seed, Anthony waited in the wings until just one challenger emerged from a group of four.
Fourth-seeded Mark Roth, bidding to become the first person to win $100,000 in the Winter Tour, defeated No. 5 Wayne Zahn, 228-205, in the opening TV match, but Roth was no match for roommate Teata Semiz, who emerged with a 247-210 victory.
Next for Semiz was second-seeded Burton. In a closely fought battle, Semiz captured the victory, but he had to convert the 3-10 split in the 10th frame for his 193-190 verdict.
Seemingly drained from that emotional contest, Semiz was little competition for Anthony who began the championship game with a double and added another pair in the fourth and fifth frames. When Semiz opened in the eighth frame, Anthony was home free and wound up with a 237-192 victory.
"I figured that if I could get out of the gate well and put some pressure on Teata, I'd have an advantage because the lanes were tougher on the right side," Anthony said later.
"I had an advantage in the lane conditions today, and I'm grateful."
Semiz earned his biggest paycheck of his career by taking home the $17,000 second prize. Burton earned $10,000, Roth, $7,500 and Zahn, $5,000.
PLAYOFF RESULTS: Roth defeated Zahn, 228-205; Semiz defeated Roth, 247-210; Semiz defeated Burton, 193-190; Anthony defeated Semiz, 237-192. 48-GAME TOTALS 24-GAME TOTALS +Surina replaced Laub at the start of match play when Laub withdrew because of a pulled muscle in his leg. Surina was penalized 24 pins and entered match play with a total of 4888. He and Laub share money for 25th and 17th places.
+Surina replaced Laub at the start of match play when Laub withdrew because of a pulled muscle in his leg. Surina was penalized 24 pins and entered match play with a total of 4888. He and Laub share money for 25th and 17th places.