Riviera Lanes, Akron, Ohio, Apr 1-6, 1968

Davis Is "Champs" Champ

Dave Davis didn't see the $25,000 ball he threw in his 213-205 victory over Don Johnson in the $100,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions at Riviera Lanes in Akron, Ohio ---- He was afraid to look.

It was the wrap-up in the richest of all bowling tournaments. Davis needed a mark in the tenth frame to take home the $25,000 first-place check. He threw his first ball and a solid seven defied the strike. The 6-3, 150-pounder stood on the approach ready to throw his second ball and knowing he needed that one pin for victory. He took off on his approach and HORRORS! . . . he hit his ankle on the down-swing. Fortunately . . . for Davis . . . it hung on and he got his mark.

While Davis was taking bows as king of the 48 champions, Johnson was kneedeep in sympathizers. For the second straight year he had come so close and yet finished so far away. And, it was the pin that Davis refused to watch, the seven, that proved his downfall for the second year in a row.

Not that Johnson missed "the critter," as he put it. But in the seventh frame when he was working on three strikes in a row, he threw what he thought was the fourth and the seven pin didn't wiggle.

As the qualifying leader, Davis "rested" while the other four finalists shot down each other. Dick Weber, the perennial finalist, was the first victim as he lost a 236-223 decision to Johnson. Johnson then humbled Bill Tucker, 195-187.

Enter Jim Stefanich, the defending champion. Jim was just as bad as he had been good the year before when he set 13 records on his way to the title. Four big splits produced a 145 game while Johnson tallied 201.

The stage was set and Davis strode into the picture. He and Johnson played even for the first five frames. Then from the sixth through the eighth Johnson turkeyed. But Davis went strike, strike, spare, strike to set the stage for the seven pin high jinks in the tenth frame.

In the meantime, Johnson ran into a four-six-ten split which washed him out. The Kokomo Kid was non-committal about his sour luck for the second straight year. Of course, the $12,500 second-place check salved his wound.

Stefanich, who just the year before celebrated putting $25,000 in the bank, picked up $6,500 for third, Tucker won $3,500 for fourth and Weber got $2,500 for fifth place.

"Firestone Week" was a typical plush affair which started with the Dinner of Champions Monday night at Firestone Country Club.

And, the girls had their shot in the sun. While the champions were being feted at the Firestone Country Club, Mrs. Lorraine Stitzlein was hosting the wives of the champs and Firestone officials at a gala dinner party. Mrs. Roone Arledge, wife of the president of ABC-Television sports, was one of the guest speakers.


Pos.Name, City/StateAmount
1Dave Davis, Phoenix, Ariz.$25,000
2Don Johnson, Kokomo, Ind.12,500
3Jim Stefanich, Joliet, Ill.6,500
4Bill Tucker, Los Angeles, Calif.3,500
5Dick Weber, St. Louis, Mo.2,500

PLAYOFF RESULTS-Johnson defeated Weber, 236-223; Johnson defeated Tucker, 195187; Johnson defeated Stefanich, 201-145, and Davis defeated Johnson, 213-205, in the final game for the championship.


 Name, City/StatePins  WLT+TotAmt
1Dave Davis, Phoenix, Ariz. 10194 16-7-1 825 11019 
2Jim Stefanich, Joliet, Ill. 10158 16-8-0 800 10958 
3Bill Tucker, Los Angeles, Calif. 10293 13-11-0 650 10943 
4Dick Weber, St. Louis, Mo. 10071 14-10-0 700 10771 
5Don Johnson, Kokomo, Ind. 10034 14-10-0 700 10734 
*6Jim Godman, Hayward, Calif. 10002 14-10-0 700 10702 $2,050
7Wayne Zahn, Atlanta, Ga. 9960 13-11-0 650 10610 1,700
8Jim St. John, San Jose, Calif. 9850 14-9-1 725 10575 1,600
9Joe Joseph, Lansing, Mich. 9867 14-10-0 700 10567 1,500
10Mike Limongello, Babylon, N.Y. 10035 10-13-1 525 10560 1,450
11Mike Durbin, Costa Mesa, Calif. 9836 14-10-0 700 10536 1,400
12Pete Tountas, Tucson, Ariz. 9859 11-12-1 575 10434 1,375
13Bud Horn, Los Angeles, Calif. 9906 10-14-0 500 10406 1,350
14John Guenther, Seattle, Wash. 9737 13-11-0 650 10387 1,325
15Vern Downing, San Francisco, Calif. 9551 15-8-1 775 10326 1,300
16Sam Baca, Hayward, Calif. 9904 8-16-0 400 10304 1,275
17Teata Semiz, River Edge, N. J. 9579 14-10-0 700 10279 1,250
18Dick Ritger, Hartford, Wis. 9692 10-14-0 500 10192 1,225
19Skee Foremsky, El Paso, Tex. 9614 10-14-0 500 10114 1,200
20Nelson Burton, Jr., St. Louis, Mo. 9652 8-16-0 400 10052 1,175
21Harry Smith, Fresno, Calif. 9442 12-12-0 600 10042 1,150
22Bill Allen, Orlando, Fla. 9556 9-15-0 450 10006 1,125
23Ralph Engan, Monsey, N. Y. 9536 8-15-1 425 9961 1,100
24Billy Welu, St. Louis, Mo. 9321 5-19-0 250 9571 1,075


Pos.Name, City/StateTotalAmount
25Les Schissler, Denver, Colo.4764$1,000
**26Jack Biondolillo, Houston, Tex.47611,075
27Don Helling, St. Louis, Mo.47541,000
28Dave Soutar, Detroit, Mich.47471,000
29Don Carter, Tarzana, Calif.47411,000
30Carmen Salvino, Chicago, Ill.47331,000
31Earl Johnson, St. Paul, Minn.47231,000
32Tom Harnisch, Buffalo, N.Y.47181,000
33Tim Harahan, Encino, Calif.47101,000
34Buzz Fazio, Delton, Mich.46951,000
35Ray Bluth, St. Louis, Mo.46831,000
36Bill Lillard, Dallas, Tex.46821,000
37Glenn Allison, Los Angeles, Calif.46801,000
38Bob Strampe, Detroit, Mich.46771,000
33Billy Hardwick, Louisville, Ky.46761,000
40Johnny Meyer, Lake Ronkonkoma N.Y.46401,000
41Gene Rhoda, Valparaiso, Ind.45881,000
42Barry Asher, Santa Ana, Calif.45701,000
43George Howard, Kalamazoo, Mich.45501,000
44Dennis Chapis, St. Louis, Mo.45471,000
45Gary Martineau,, Nashville, Tenn.44981,000
46Butch Gearhart, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.43661,000
47Billy Golembiewski, Detroit, Mich.43591,000
48Lou Scalia, Hollywood, Fla.43031,000

**Alternate-Jack Biondolillo dropped out. Welu & Biondolillo each received $1,075. 24th Place Low-Teata Semiz, 4,771. 24-Game Qualifying Leader-Dave Davis, 5158. Pro-Am Cashers-$50-Dick Weber, Nelson Burton, Jr., Glenn Allison, Mike Durbin, Carmen, Salvino, Les Schissler.