Firestone Bowlarama, Akron, Ohio, Apr 5-10, 1965

Hardwick Is Firestone Champion

The daddy of them all . . . The richest, most colorful tournament in the history of the game: The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) $100,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions!

And, the winner! Billy Hardwick! ! !

A festive air and bunting-laden Main St. greeted the 43 champs as they converged on Akron, O. for the Firestone event on April 5, 1965.

A "Champions Banquet" at Firestone Country Club kicked off the gala week. After an afternoon practice session and a pro am tourney, the boys who had recorded titles after the last Tournament of Champions in 1962, began their 24game qualifying sets. There were standing-room-only crowds at Firestone Bowlarama Lanes.

Dick Weber of St. Louis looked the part of the leading PBA tournament winner (14) as he paced the field through the 24-game qualifier and past the 24-game match play semifinals.

Hardwick stayed near the top, being fifth after the first 24. He moved into third and finally to second. Joe Joseph, the defending champion from Lansing, Mich. made the other spot in the televised finals when he wound up third.

Then the grand finale: With $25,000 going to the winner and a nation-wide television audience looking on, Weber and Hardwick strung five strikes apiece in the first of the two-game series. Hardwick went on to post three more strikes after sparing to finish with 258. Weber knocked down 231 pins and Joseph was still in the ball game with 226.

Weber didn't give up but his 237 in the second game couldn't overcome the lead Hardwick carried into the payoff shot. Billy had 226 for a two-game total of 484. Weber was second with 468 and Joseph finished third with 404.

The 23-year-old Hardwick was "in the clouds" as he accepted the 25 grand. And the PBAers were just as high when the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. announced that there would be a rerun in 1966.


Pos.Name, City/StateAmount
1Billy Hardwick, San Mateo, Calif.$25,000
2Dick Weber, St. Louis, Mo.12,600
3Joe Joseph, Lansing, Mich.6,500

CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES: First Game: Hardwick 258, Weber 231, Joseph 226. Second Game: Weber 237, Hardwick 226, Joseph 178. Hardwick defeated both Weber and Joseph on a total of 484 pins for the two games. Weber had 468, and Joseph had 404.

 Name, City/StatePins+TotAmt
4Ray Orf, St. Louis, Mo. 10275 750 11025 $3,500
5Bill Allen, Orlando, Fla. 10326 675 11001 3,000
6Marty Piraino, Syracuse, N.Y. 10349 600 10949 2,500
7Billy Golembiewski, Detroit, Mich. 10193 750 10943 2,000
8Dick Downey, Bloomfield, N.J. 10126 750 10876 1,800
9Buzz Fazio, Detroit, Mich. 10254 600 10854 1,700
10Earl Johnson, Minneapolis, Minn. 10171 675 10846 1,600
11Tom Hennessey, St. Louis, Mo. 10351 450 10801 1,500
12Ray Bluth, St. Louis, Mo. 10315 475 10790 1,450
13Andy Marzich, Torrance, Calif. 10163 625 10788 1,425
14Billy Welu, St. Louis, Mo. 10095 650 10745 1,400
15Carmen Salvino, Chicago, Ill. 10127 600 10727 1,375
16Dave Soutar, Detroit, Mich. 10142 575 10717 1,350
17Dennis Chapis, St. Louis, Mo. 10067 600 10657 1,325
18Don Johnson, Kokomo- Ind. 10149 500 10649 1,300
19Norm Meyers, Los Angeles, Calif. 10116 450 10565 1,275
20Mike Limongello, N. Babylon, N.Y. 10033 600 10533 1,250
21Jim St. John, San Jose, Calif. 10009 500 10509 1,225
22Pete Tountas, Hammond, Ind. 9781 500 10281 1,200
23Ed Lubanski, Detroit Mich. 9672 450 10122 1,175
24Vern Downing, San Pablo, Calif. 9709 350 10059 1,150


Pos.Name, City/StateTotalAmount
25Glenn Allison, Los Angeles, Calif.5024$1,150
26Bob Strampe, Detroit, Mich.50191,100
27Roger Helle, Detroit, Mich.49981,100
28Wayne Zahn, Atlanta, Ga.49971,100
29Jack Biondolillo, Houston, Texas49961,075
30Darylee Cox, Seattle, Wash.49791,075
31Fred Lening, Fairless Hills, Pa.49741,075
32Tommy Tuttle, Rural Hall, N.C.49641,075
33Nelson Burton Jr., St. Louis, Mo.49461,050
34Les Schissler, Denver, Colo.49001,050
35Harry Smith, Redwood City, Calif.48921,050
36Al Savas, Milwaukee, Wis.48851,050
37Lewis Ray, Ft. Worth, Tex.48821,025
38George Howard, Detroit, Mich.48771,025
39Don Carter, St. Louis, Mo.48701,025
40Jerry McCoy, Ft. Worth, Tex.48141,025
41Jerry Hale, Richmond, Calif.48011,000
42Johnny King, Chicago, Ill.47331,000
43Johnny Meyer, Long Island, N.Y.46901,000