Riviera Lanes, Akron, Ohio, Apr 20-25, 1981

Cook Snaps Slump Almost Perfectly

Steve Cook was clearly the best player on the PBA Tour in the $150,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions as he threatened perfection in the championship match before settling for a 287-183 victory against Pete Couture.

Cook, a 6'6", 260 lb. southpaw, belted out 10 consecutive strikes in the championship game, each one solid in the pocket, before coming light on his eleventh attempt and leaving the 6-7 pins.

Couture had no chance against that onslaught but had performed courageously to get that far, including a double overtime win earlier in the finals.

The 5'8", 130 lb. Couture had one of two 300 games in the 16th annual Firestone and put together the top match play record of 18-5-1 in securing third place going into the championship round.

The other 300 game was by Gary Dickinson in a sixth-round match against Mark Roth in which Roth lost by two pins. The 300-298 match play clash (a record later to be broken), propelled Dickinson into second and Roth into fourth for the finals, just ahead of fifth-place qualifier Earl Anthony.

Cook, meanwhile, while never owning a large lead, came through at crucial points throughout match play and prevailed with a 218 average at Riviera Lanes. It was not only his first TV finals effort of the year but the 24-year-old had not finished above 19th all season. The slump had affected Cook's confidence to the point that he considered he might be overmatched on the pro tour and began thinking of quitting.

All that, the self doubt and the financial struggle, was to change.

Anthony defeated Roth in the first match. Anthony and Couture then rolled to a 205-205 tie, forcing a roll-off of two frames in which they each scored 40. As the almost unbearable tension mounted for both the players and viewers of the historic match, Couture rolled four straight strikes in the second roll-off and was declared the winner when Anthony missed striking on his third attempt.

Cook waited for his chance to bowl for the largest first prize on the PBA Tour. As he had done in the past in such a position, the Roseville, Calif., native determined to play aggressively, as if attacking the lane and pins much more than usual.

His first 10 shots could be mixed up and replayed out of sequence and only the sharpest bowling eye would be able to put them back in actual order. An extra $10,000 was on the line if he could come up with two more.

"But as soon as I threw that second shot in the 10th frame I knew it wasn't right," said Cook. "I thought it might have a chance to carry but I wasn't counting on it."

He didn't have to. He had already counted the $30,000 for the title.


Pos.Name, City/StateTotalAmount
1Steve Cook, Roseville, Calif.287 (1 game)$30,000
2Pete Couture, Windsor Locks, Conn.586 (3 games)17,000
3Gary Dickinson, Burleson, Texas179 (1 game)10,000
4Earl Anthony, Dublin, Calif.426 (2 games)7,500
5Mark Roth, Spring Lake Heights, N.J.192 (1 game)5,000

PLAYOFF RESULTS - Anthony defeated Roth, 221-192; Couture defeated Anthony in a double roll-off, 60-40, after they tied 205-205 and 40-40 in the first two-frame roll-off; Couture defeated Dickinson, 198-179; and in the championship game Cook defeated Couture, 287-183.


 Name, CityPinsAvg  WLT+TotAmt
1Steve Cook, Roseville, Calif. 10502 218.7 15-9-0 450 10952 
#2Gary Dickinson, Burleson, Texas 10409 216.8 16-8-0 480 10889 
#3Pete Couture, Windsor Locks, Conn. 10316 214.9 18-5-1 555 10871 
4Mark Roth, Spring Lake Hts., N.J. 10489 218.5 12-12-0 360 10849 
5Earl Anthony, Dublin Calif. 10401 216.6 12-11-1 375 10776 
**6Larry Laub, Santa Rosa, Calif. 10253 213.6 15-8-1 465 10718 $4,050
7Carmen Salvino, Chicago 10223 212.9 16-8-0 480 10703 3,500
8Ernie Schlegel, Vancouver, U.S.A. 10153 211.5 11-13-0 330 10483 3,200
9Bill Spigner, Chicago 10046 209.2 14-9-1 435 10481 3,000
10Mike Durbin, Chagrin Falls, Ohio 10096 210.3 11-13-0 330 10426 2,900
11Tom Baker, Buffalo, N.Y. 10065 209.6 12-12-0 360 10425 2,800
12Bill Coleman, Springfield, Ore. 10058 209.5 11-12-1 345 10403 2,700
13Henry Gonzalez, Colorado Springs, Co. 9894 206.1 14-10-0 420 10314 2,600
14George Pappas, Charlotte, N.C. 9923 206.7 13-11-0 390 10313 2,500
15Joe Hutchinson, Scranton, Pa. 9927 206.8 11-13-0 330 10257 2,400
16Paul Moser, Somerset, Mass. 9981 207.9 8-16-0 240 10221 2,300
17Marshall Holman, Medford, Ore. 9968 207.6 7-17-0 210 10178 2,200
18Neil Burton, St. Louis 9872 205.6 10-14-0 300 10172 2,100
19Ed Ressler Jr., Nashua, N.H. 9822 204.6 10-12-2 330 10152 2,000
20Matt Surina, Longview, Wash. 9850 205.2 9-15-0 270 10120 1,900
21Hugh Miller, Mercer Island, Wash. 9790 203.9 10-14-0 300 10090 1,800
22Wayne Webb, Tucson, Ariz. 9783 203.8 8-15-1 255 10038 1,700
23Fred Jaskie, Greendale, Wis. 9705 202.1 11-13-0 330 10035 1,600
24Joe Berardi, Brooklyn, N.Y. 9724 202.5 10-14-0 300 10024 1,500


Pos.Name, City/StateAmount
*25Jay Robinson, Van Nuys, Calif.$1,425
26Don Johnson, Las Vegas, Nev.1,350
27Nelson Burton Jr., St. Louis1,350
28Ted Malicki, Solon, Ohio1,350
29Kyle Shedd, Downey, Calif.1,300
30Kevin Gillette, Florence, Ky.1,300
31Steve Neff, Sarasota, Fla.1,300
32Mike Aulby, Indianapolis1,275
 Alvin Lou, EI Cajon, Calif.1,275
34Warren Nelson, Downey, Calif.1,250
35Bob Handley, Fairway, Kan.1,250
36Bo Bowden, Dallas1,250
37Roy Buckley, New Albany, Ohio1,200
38Dick Weber, St. Louis1,200
39Steve Martin, Kingsport, Tenn.1,200
40Dave Soutar, Kansas City, Kan.1,200
41Mike Berlin, Muscatine, Iowa1,150
42John Petraglia, Staten Island, N.Y.1,150
43Dave Davis, Tinton Falls, N.J.1,150
44Mal Acosta, Hayward, Calif.1,150
45Tommy Hudson, Akron, Ohio1,100
46Paul Colwell, Tucson, Ariz.1,100
47Palmer Fallgren, Sacramento, Calif.1,063
 Teata Semiz, River Edge, N.J.1,062
49Guppy Troup, Jacksonville, Fla.1,050
50Jim Godman, Lorain, Ohio1,000
51Dave Beckmann, Bellevue, Wash.1,000
52Jim Stefanich, Joliet, Ill.1,000

* - Match Play Alternate. ** - TV finals alternate. 24-game qualifying leader- Cook, 5254. 24th place- Jaskie, 4950. # Pete Couture and Gary Dickinson rolled 300 games. PRO-AM CASHERS ($50 each) - Bo Bowden, Fred Jaskie, Steve Cook, Joe Hutchinson, Dave Davis, Dave Soutar, BONUS AWARDS: $500 high 8-game blocks - Mike Durbin, Joe Hutchinson, Ernie Schlegel, Earl Anthony, Mark Roth, Gary Dickinson. $500 for first 300 game - Pete Couture. $250 high single game each block - Steve Martin, Palmer Fallgren, Paul Moser, Pete Couture, Steve Cook, Gary Dickinson.