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Couch rolls a 251 game, says he's improving with age

Jason Couch found the line early, Scott Price chalked it up as an experience and the Tom Crites-Larry Barwick duo ran out of boards in the finals of the PBA Southern Regional Doubles Championship Sunday at Largo Lanes. "My game is stronger than when I won two regionals in 1989," said Couch, who teamed with Doug Becker to win the title and split the $5,000.

Couch-Becker, a pair of power left-handers from Winter Garden, defeated Wauchula's Barwick and Tampa's Crites, three-time winners of this event, 472-399, in the semifinals.

In the championship match, Couch uncorked a 251 game while Scott and Tampa's Darin Hays opened in the seventh and ninth frames. Scott-Hays split $2,600.

Crites, five-time PBA tour winner, rolled a 255 game as he and Barwick defeated Chattanooga's Paul Williams and Gary Hancock in the first finals match.

"We just plain ran out of room on that one lane (No. 25)," said Crites of the match against Couch-Becker.

Five of the eight bowlers in the finals were lefties and the final match was all lefties.

"That lane was hooking so much, we couldn't get past the ball return to get the line," Crites said. Couch fired a 267 game, including eight strikes in a row, and Becker contributed a 205 against Crites-Barwick.

Price and Hays are competitors in the National Classic Bowlers Association (NCBA), Price in St. Petersburg, Hays in Tampa. They were high qualifiers after 24 games.

"This was only my second regional and I think we did pretty well," Scott said.

New Orleans' Scott Monteleone, Clearwater's Jack Runkle and Hays fired 300 games during qualifying.

There were 57 duos and 45 regional champions in the field, highest turnout of champions ever for a regional event.

The regional visits the area again June 28-30 at St. Petersburg's Sunrise Lanes.

Hains wins NABI. Hudson's Pete Hains won the NABI Club tournament at AMF Clearwater Bowl on Sunday, collecting $800.

NABI National Week '91 starts Friday in Las Vegas, so the club's short schedule this weekend is at Imperial Lanes in Temple Terrace and Mariner Lanes in Spring Hill.

Forty-five NABI bowlers are eligible to compete in the national, which ends June 21 with the national finals. Bowlers will compete for $500,000 in prize money in a dozen different events.

Buchanan advances in Team USA. St. Petersburg's Mike Buchanan finished third in the state Team USA-92 finals at Apopka on June 2 and advanced to the regional in Montgomery, Ala., June 29-30.

St. Cloud's Fred Torr won the men's division with a nine-game 1,713 scratch total. Bob Orsek, Penbrook Pines, finished second at 1,703 and Buchanan was third at 1,699. Tampa's Lucy Giovinco won the women's division for the second time.

Only the top six men and top six women advanced to the regional.

WIBC Championship update. The Jolly Ladies from Philadelphia took over the Division I team lead with a 2,751 after the eighth week of competition. Lina Rincon and Bonnie Van Steenburg, San Antonio, Tex., grabbed the division's doubles lead with a 1,227 pinfall. The tournament ends June 20.

ABC Championship update. The event ended May 26 and Florida bowlers did not fare well. Only two teams, from Merritt Island and Jacksonville, finished in the top 100. Only one doubles team and two singles competitors from Florida finished in the top 100.

Bowlers of Year needed. Nominations for the 1990-91 Times' Amateur Bowlers of the Year may be made by any sanctioned Pinellas County bowler, league president, secretary or proprietor.

Nominees may be male or female, senior, regular or youth bowlers who are sanctioned in Pinellas County. They must have bowled the full 1990-91 season.

Send a short bio on your nominees to: Phil Gulick, 8495 Magnolia Drive, Seminole, FL, 34647. Nominations must be received by July 1.

Around The Lanes. The Florida State Women's Championship ends Sunday at Fort Myers Cindy Emmerich won the Suncoast Women's 500 Club tournament at Tarpon Lanes while Dorothy Levey and Donna Dupont finished second and third The StyleMaster 300 finals are this weekend at Tampa's Regal Lanes The American Wheelchair Bowling Association's (AWBA) 30th annual national championship is June 24-29 at Largo Lanes. The team of Mike Finlayson, Toby Perry, Bob Breese, Bill Skaggs and Don Hoyer won the Champions of Champions team tournament with a state-record 3,527 pinfall at Crossroads Kenneth City Bowl Sunday.

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