Riviera Lanes, Akron, Ohio, Apr 1-5, 1969

Godman Overpowers Champs

Power was the name of the game in the $100,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions.

JIM GODMAN is the name of the champion.

The 23-year-old Godman started strong and finished stronger as he won professional bowling's richest prize, $25,000, at the Riviera Lanes in Akron, Ohio.

Power . . . Godman was a respectable eighth after the first day of the tournament.

Power . . . Godman registered a sensational 20-4-0 record in match play, including 13 straight wins, which gave him a 170-pin margin over his nearest rival and seeded him No. 1 in the finals.

Power . . . Godman exploded for seven straight strikes in the title match and registered an awesome 266 to gain bowling's most coveted crown.

Godman told newsmen, "It was the biggest thrill of my life. I just had to do what I had been doing all year . . . throwing the ball hard and keeping a good tight line."

Godman; Dave Soutar; Jim Stefanich; Wayne Zahn, and Don Johnson were the five who made it into the nationally televised finals, and they were seeded in that order.

Johnson, who had been runnerup in 1967 and 1968, fell behind Zahn's opening five strikes and lost, 258-193.

Zahn next ran into Stefanich and in one of the most tense games ever staged in a PBA playoff, they went into the 10th frame with Zahn a pin ahead. Stefanich struck in the ninth and 10th and finished with a spare for 237. Zahn needed only nine to tie, a strike to win. A leave of four pins was difficult to believe and Stefanich was the winner, 237-234.

Against Soutar, Stefanich finished with four in a row and Soutar left a 4-7-9-10 split for the $25,000-on-the-line finale.

Stefanich appeared zeroed in and the consensus of the experts in attendance favored the Joliet Jolter by a slight margin over Godman, who had been waiting nervously for the completion of the three playoff games.

Godman changed their thinking quickly. Smoking every ball, he started with a turkey. He added three more and was halfway home to the big one.

He added a strike in the seventh, but a pin up in the eighth stopped the string. But it was over ---- Stefanich's respectable 228 was no match. Godman, who had missed the finals just the year before by 32 pins, was the happiest guy in the universe.

The tournament was frustration for some others. Defending Firestone champion Dave Davis exited after missing the 24-man finals field, and Dick Weber, who was at or near the top throughout the early going, finished in sixth place.

The biggest block of the tournament was an 1858 turned in Thursday afternoon by left-hander Don Glover. Earl Johnson thrilled a big opening day crowd with a perfect game.

It was a typically great Tournament of Champions week, probably the best in the five-year history of the tournament.


Pos.Name, City/StateTotalAmount
1Jim Godman, Hayward, Calif.266 (1 game)$25,000
2Jim Stefanich, Joliet, Ill.692 (3 games)12,500
3Dave Soutar, Gilroy, Calif.201 (1 game)6,500
4Wayne Zahn, Tempe, Ariz.492 (2 games)3,500
5Don Johnson, Kokomo, Ind.193 (1 game)2,500

PLAYOFF RESULTS-Zahn defeated Johnson, 258-193; Stefanich defeated Zahn, 237-234; Stefanich defeated Soutar, 227-201; and in the championship game Godman defeated Stefanich, 266-228.


 Name, City/StatePins  WLT+TotAmt
1Jim Godman, Hayward, Calif. 10475 20-4-0 1000 11475 
2Dave Soutar, Gilroy, Calif. 10405 18-6-0 900 11305 
3Jim Stefanich, Joliet, Ill. 10368 17-7-0 850 11218 
4Wayne Zahn, Tempe, Ariz. 10412 14-10-0 700 11112 
5Don Johnson, Kokomo, Ind. 10360 15-9-0 750 11110 
*6Dick Weber, St. Louis, Mo. 10282 12-12-0 600 10882 $2,050
7Tommy Tuttle, King, N. C. 10152 14-10-0 700 10852 1,700
8Nelson Burton Jr., St. Louis, Mo. 10200 11-12-1 575 10775 1,600
9Gene Rhoda, Valparaiso, Ind. 10064 13-11-0 650 10714 1,500
10Jim St. John, San Jose, Calif. 10009 14-10-0 700 10709 1,450
11Johnny Guenther, Fresno, Calif. 10184 10-14-0 500 10684 1,400
12Don Glover, Bakersfield, Calif. 10154 9-15-0 450 10604 1,375
13Billy Welu, St. Louis, Mo. 9910 13-10-1 675 10585 1,350
14Ralph Engan, Monsey, N. Y. 9883 13-10-1 675 10558 1,325
15Barry Asher, Costa Mesa, Calif. 9987 10-13-1 525 10512 1,300
16Mike Limongello, N. Babylon, N. Y. 9954 11-13-0 550 10504 1,275
17Pete Tountas, Tucson, Ariz. 10070 8-15-1 425 10495 1,250
18Mike Durbin, Burbank, Calif. 9992 10-14-0 500 10492 1,225
19George Howard, Kalamazoo, Mich. 9810 13-11-0 650 10460 1,200
20Don McCune, Munster, Ind. 9931 9-15-0 450 10381 1,175
21Tim Harahan, Canoga Park, Calif. 9898 8-15-1 425 10323 1,150
**22Earl Johnson, Minneapolis, Minn. 9981 5-19-0 250 10231 1,125
23Billy Hardwick, Louisville, Ky. 9703 10-14-0 500 10202 1,100
*24Sam Baca, Hayward, Calif.
(includes 67 pin penalty)
 9712 8-16-0 400 10045 1037.50
25Bob Strampe, Detroit, Mich. (32 games)
(Baca penalized 67 pins for alternate switch with Bob Strampe and split prize money.)
 6469 0-0-0 0 6469 1037.50


Pos.Name, City/StateTotalAmount
26Fred Lening, Yardley, Pa.4909$1,037.50
27Glenn Allison, Los Angeles, Calif.49011,000
28Les Schissler, Denver, Coo.48881,000
29Dave Davis, Phoenix, Ariz.48831,000
30Carmen Salvino, Chicago, Ill., Harry Smith, Fresno, Calif.48571,000
32Vern Downing, San Francisco, Calif.48561,000
33Ray Bluth, St. Louis, Mo.48411,000
34Dick Ritger, Hartford, Wisc.48271,000
35Al Savas, Milwaukee, Wisc.48081,000
36Joe Joseph, Lansing, Mich.47971,000
37Mike McGrath, El Cerrito, Calif.17891,000
38Bill Tucker, Louisville, Ky.47621,000
39Lou Scalia, Hollywood Fla.47581,000
40Buzz Fazio, Delton, Mich.47571,000
41Don Carter, Tarzana, Calif.47481,000
42Don Helling, St. Louis, Mo.47401,000
43Billy Golembiewski, Detroit, Mich.47321,000
44Teata Semiz, River Edge, N. J.46991,000
45Bill Allen, Fresno, Calif.46801,000
46Butch Gearhart, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.46281,000
47Skee Foremsky, El Paso, Tex.46121,000
48Johnny Meyer, Setauket, N. Y.45241,000

Pro-Am Cashers ($100)-Sam Baca. ($50)-Harry Smith, Mike Durbin, Dick Weber and Jim Stefanich. Qualifying Leader-Weber, 5288. 24th Low-Engan, 4914. *Alternates. **Received $100 for 300 game.