David Walsh: Fite remains dominant on lanes in Huntington and elsewhere
Brian Fite made the key shots when needed and went on to win the Thanksgiving Shootout held in late November at Shawnee Lanes in Chillicothe, Ohio. The starting field numbered 128. Some of the other area bowlers who competed included Justin Adkins, Kirby Allen and Chris Priode.
Fite, Adkins, Allen and Priode made it through qualifying to reach the top 32 for match play. Those matches were two games, total pins until the stepladder finals. Adkins and Allen went out in the first round. Placers from 17th to 32nd got $75 each. Priode lost in the second round. Bowlers in ninth through 16th made $125 each.
In the round of eight, Fite beat Randy McWilliams, 414-373. Brian Watson, George Gohagan III and PBA Tour member Brian Himmler also won to make the stepladder finals.
In the finals, Himmler beat Watson, 220-215, and Gohagan ousted Himmler, 167-115, as the match got stopped after the seventh frame. Fite stepped up and edged Gohagan, 239-237, to take home the $1,000 top prize.
Shawnee's next event will be the Super Bowl Shootout on Jan. 27. Entry fee is $60. Kegel's Navigation pattern, Autobahn, will be used. After the four-game qualifier, the field will be cut for match play until a champ is crowned.
STILL TIME: Entry deadline is Jan. 23 for the Huntington USBC Championships scheduled Jan. 26-27 and Feb. 2-3. Strike Zone has team event and Colonial Lanes singles and doubles. Shifts are at 1 p.m. each day at each site.
Team event this year is four-person teams. Entry fee $20 per event and $3 for all-events. Entry forms available at both centers.
LEFTY DROUGHT ENDS: Scott Norton defeated top seed Jason Belmonte, 227-223, in the title match in the PBA Chameleon Championship last Sunday. The win ended the longest title drought for left-handed bowlers in 50 years of PBA Tour competition. Norton, the 2010-11 PBA Rookie of the Year, became the PBA's first left-handed title winner since Jason Couch won the Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship in March, 2011. The last full season in which there was not a left-handed winner in PBA competition was 1962. Norton, the No. 3 seed, struck out in the 10th to put the pressure on Belmonte, the two-handed wonder from Australia. Belmonte needed a strike on his first shot in the 10th to win, but left a 10-pin.
Norton started the finals with a 225-194 win over Bahrain's Fawaz Abdulla, who bowled in excruciating pain after suffering a chronic case of gout in his right foot -- the foot he uses to push away in his approach -- on the eve of the finals. That resulted in a brief hospital stay for treatment for the No. 4 seed. The first Middle Eastern bowler ever to appear in a PBA Tour final led until he opened in the eighth frame. Norton responded with a late string of four strikes for the win.
In the semifinal match, Norton beat PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr., 236-195. Williams made his first television appearance in more than a year. His bid for his 48th PBA Tour title ended when he left eight single-pin spares, mostly the pesky 10-pin along with a solid 8.
The GEICO World Series of Bowling continues at 1 p.m. Sunday on ESPN with the finals of the Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship. Finalists are Tom Daugherty, Jason Sterner, Belmonte and top qualifier and two-handed wonder Osku Palermaa of Finland.
David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or dwalsh@herald- dispatch.com.