Jeff Clark rearranged the stack of bills and counted them again _ $1,200.
Tournament director Steve Lavoie recounted the entries for his Feb. 2 Style Master 300 show at Clearwater's Shore Lanes and came up with a record _ 545 bowlers.
Tim Rambo took another look at the racks on lanes 5-6 and suggested that, had he picked up another pin or two, he'd be counting the money instead of Clark.
Clark, from Brandon, defeated Rambo, a Shore Lanes' bartender, 171-170, in the finals of Lavoie's first venture at the newly revamped Shore Lanes.
"It couldn't have gone any smoother and the 545 entries is a record for us, outside of the big tournament at Brandon Crossroads Bowl last year," Lavoie said. He brought more than 1,000 bowlers together for a shot at $20,000 last December, won by Boca Raton's Jim Stearns.
"We plan to expand our tournaments into Pinellas County, Lakeland and Sarasota by mid-year," Lavoie said. "This one was an introductory, bargain offer with the $19 entry fee."
Obviously, it worked. Just over 300 bowlers was Lavoie's previous Style Master record for a $1,000 tournament, with entry fees of $35. He also pulled in 120 new members at the $10 yearly fee.
Shore Lanes hasn't seen such a crowd since the LPBT made regular stops there during the early 1980s. General manager Skot Petz was delighted. A 14-team pool tournament packed Slick Willie's bar and the bowling concourse was filled with spectators. "I guess we're doing things right," Petz said. "We're definitely going to have to do more of these tournaments." The Southeastern Collegiate tournament is slated in the center in two weeks.
The huge field was narrowed to the 34 top qualifiers for the semifinals. Low to cash was a 665 series and, with a $6,540 prize fund, Lavoie paid down through 78 places. If you finished 78th, you got $20 back.
Three more games Sunday eliminated all but the top five qualifiers, including Saturday's top guns. Rambo was the high qualifier with a 758 handicap series shot on Saturday. The other three qualifiers were Rick Hanson of Port Richey, Virgil Goforth of Homosassa, and Kevin Pollock of Bradenton. Hanson won a Style Master 300 last month and has earned a spot in the U.S. Open tournament later this year.
Goforth eliminated Pollock 221-193, then lost to Hanson 245-217. Clark took over and, despite a couple of open frames, defeated Hanson, 211-204 to set up the showdown against Rambo.
Rambo's cool, no-frills game let him down with a couple of open frames midway through the final, but he recovered in the 10th frame, forcing Clark to mark. Clark doubled in the eighth and ninth frames and spared the 10th to pick up the cash.
"It's the biggest pot I've ever won and it sure will pay some bills," Clark said.
"Oh, well, I got this far off a 167 average and I think that's pretty good," Rambo said.
Clearwater's Bonnie Kelly was the high woman bowler, finishing ninth. There were more than 40 women in the field.
Dot Ronnie winners: Gail Husbands admitted she may not have bowled up to par, but she sure knows how to pick a partner.
Husbands and Lisa Johnson of Bradenton bowled the socks off 74 other duos to win the 28th annual Dot Ronnie's Ladies Scratch Doubles Classic at Tampa's Regal Lanes Jan. 26, Super Bowl Sunday.
The duo toppled 4,765 pins over the 12-game scratch distance to beat Deb Agate and Bonnie Powley by 79 pins. Johnson's four-game blocks were 827, 850 and 730 with a 247 high game and a 2,407 pinfall. Husbands contributed blocks of 740, 812 and 806 for a 2,358 total and 225 high game.
Third was the North Fort Myers duo of Michelle Miller and Carolyn Trump at 4,579. Trump fired the tournament high game of 278 and is a Florida Bowling Queens tournament winner.
Defending champions Sandy Hampshire of St. Petersburg and Judy Belt of Pinellas Park never got their games untracked and finished with 4,222 total, out of the money.
Lake Worth's Patti Lee got the show off smartly with a high first four-game block of 880. She didn't have a game lower than 211, but it fell apart after that. Tampa's Betty Wynn nailed an 891 for the high second block and Tequesta's Cindy Klein managed an 841 for high third block. There was no pause between blocks and the 12 games definitely was a test.
Around The Lanes: The ABC Championships Tournament opened Saturday at Corpus Christi, Texas. The Tampa Women's City Tournament kicks off Feb. 29-March 1 at Thunderbird Lanes and Palm River Lanes. The state high school tournament will be held Feb. 29 at Crossroads Kenneth City Bowl in St. Petersburg Kim Kahrman of East Windsor, Conn., is the LPBT's 1991 Rookie of the Year. John Handegard is the PBA Senior Player of the Year for 1991. Hudson's Ron Woods finished 15th in the PBA Southern Regional stop at Maitland last week. Lefty Jason Couch of Winter Garden, in his first year on the PBA tour, finished third at Grand Prairie, Texas. Helen Baker, 80, past president of the WIBC from Melbourne, died last week.