I have to tell you, time is a funny thing. It was nearly two years ago that with every tournament, we were talking about breaking our last entry record. Even then, I thought to myself that the “record” talk has to inevitably come to an end. However, at the time I didn’t foresee our growth turning into format changes and the addition of our new Minor formats which are one day events. Because of that, we are ironically talking about “breaking records” again on a frequent basis. I suppose that is kind of a spoiler alert to the fact that our event this Sunday broke our one day event entry record again and was also our very first one day event to have over 100 entries! The event drew 108 entries, had 27 cashers , a 1 in 3.8 cash ratio and paid out over $4,500.00 in main and side event prizes!
There was a lot of hype and excitement behind this event’s oil pattern. We used the 2015 USBC Open Championships Team Event pattern that was 38ft in length. The pattern was released less than a week before the event, so many people were looking at the first opportunity to bowl on the pattern that thousands will be bowling on this year in El Paso, TX. The pattern proved to play exactly as the lane graph and many experts had guessed. It was very difficult, and also very heavy for the 38ft. Players were able to play everywhere, but there was very little margin for error.
While, we are talking about “records” again, but the context has changed a little bit, one thing that hasn’t is new bowlers. We still get a ton of new bowlers at every event, even 3 years later! We would like to welcome Ross Temonia, Jerry Hale, Jim Winnie, Nick Borland, Kelly Urrea, and Charlton Hale to the SFT AHT family! We hope you all had a great time with us, and look forward to seeing you at your next event! A special congrats to Nick Borland who also made it to his first ever quarter finals in his very first event! That isn’t done very often, and is pretty impressive!
Also congrats to David Acosta who made his first ever quarter finals also, and also to Kyle Abbas who made a quarter finals after a decent drought. Congrats guys! Also congrats to Jakob Butturff, Mike Morales, Danielle Satterlee, and Ernie Mendoza on advancing all the way to the quarter finals through the economy parlay! All of them turned their small $25 investment into a pretty good sized check!
The semi-final matches were a mixed bag. The A division had #1 seed Jakob Butturff squaring off against #2 seed Mike Morales. The B division had #1 seed Bill Brackett vs #2 seed Ernie Mendoza, and the C division had #1 seed Dave Rioux vs #2 seed Lynn Arthur. Of the 6 semi-finalists 4 of them have SFT AHT titles and Dave and Mike did not. However, it had been a very long time since Ernie and Lynn had won again. The A division match was a good one, with Mike throwing some clutch strikes to finish the match to defeat the red hot Jakob. The B division match was back and forth but a double in the 9th and 10th allowed Bill to defeat Ernie. The C division match seemed to be a clash of David versus goliath when it came to match play experience. While Dave was on fire all day, it seemed that maybe the additional pressure of the situation may have made it harder for him to execute at the level he was before. However, Lynn who is a season veteran in that environment seems to always get fueled by it. Needless to say, Lynn was able to defeat Dave, who took yet another small step towards achieving new accolades in his short but, successful SFT AHT career.
The final match was like that movie that has the ending that makes you feel good, but also bad, and you learn quite a bit from it. Ok, it was like a good movie, because it was a good match! The match started with Bill making his spares and leaving no opens. However, Lynn and Mike got off to the races pretty quickly with strikes. While Lynn had opened in the 2nd frame, it didn’t hurt him too much as Mike was spotting him 29 pins of handicap. Lynn had two Brooklyn’s on the right lane that tied together a string of strikes that helped to combat the incredible performance that Mike was putting on. The lanes weren’t easy by any means, it was a very high pressure situation, and Mike was executing at a high level with only two non-strikes in his first 8 frames. Mike finished the match first and needed to strike out to force Lynn to double. While, Mike could have lost his cool from the Brooklyn’s, he seemed completely unphased and made great shots in the 9th and 10th frame to still give him a chance to win. He did miss in the 2nd shot of the 10th frame to finish with a 246 scratch game and 270 with handicap. Lynn only needed a spare to win, and his shot looked left off of his hand. It went through the face, but luckily left a makeable spare in the 3,6. Now Lynn has a slower ball speed with quite a bit of revs, so this spare was still very easy to chop. However, Lynn was able to cover the spare to get a title that meant a lot to him after coming back from a pretty brutal injury and ending his farily long drought of events with no title.
Why was it like a good movie? Well, arguably Mike should have won, if Lynn didn’t get the breaks that he did. Mike bowled the better game, but it just didn’t go his way. His poise and maturity in the situation allowed him a second life, and while it didn’t come to fruition, it was still a learning experience to watch. Although Lynn caught some breaks, just like a good movie, you weren’t left feeling like he was the bad guy. Lynn, is one of the nicest, most liked and respected SFT AHT bowlers. To see him find this success after his injury was inspirational. The match left you feeling bad for Mike, happy for Lynn and impressed by Mike’s performance, just like a good movie!
See you all at our next event on the weekend of March 14th & 15th at AMF Chandler Lanes. It will be a standard event, which means two days’ worth of qualifying! See you all there!