Oil is a precious commodity in some markets, but it's not always a bowler's best friend. A case in point is Inverness' Don Griffin, who recently rolled a 299 game at Steve Neff Lanes in Homosassa Springs.
"(Griffin) got his last shot into the oil a little too much and it slid too far before it hooked," said Neff, who witnessed the big game.
It was during IDS Financial League play on the night of Jan. 30 that Griffin flirted with his fourth 300 game. He opened with a 192 in the first game, then proceeded to strike 11 times in his second game. But a flat 10 pin, as Griffin called it, would not topple on the 12th ball and he settled for his second 299 game.
Ironically, it was a 10 pin on the final shot that spoiled an otherwise perfect effort in November 1989, when Griffin had his first 299 game.
"Whenever you hit 11 in a row you want to give that 12th ball a chance and I did on both occasions," Griffin said. "I just came up one pin short.
"The biggest fear any bowler has after hitting 11 in a row is throwing one through the nose. I didn't come through the ball (this time) as I should have and finished a little weak. I knew I'd be in the pocket and have a chance to carry, but didn't."
The first 300 game for Griffin came in March 1980 at Sportsmen's Bowl in Inverness and was followed by a second gem three days later at the same house. Griffin added a third 300 in March 1982 while competing in a PBA Southern Regional tournament at Manatee Lanes in Crystal River.
Griffin, who bowls in three leagues each week, finished off his night in IDS Financial League play with a 215 for a 706 series.
Tournament results: Citrus County bowling centers played host to team and individual tournaments during the weekend of Feb. 8-9, and the two events drew a total of 113 bowlers.
The second Late Night Team Tournament Feb. 8 at Sportsmen's Bowl drew 18 teams, four more than the first event last month at Parkview Lanes in Holder.
Sportsmen's Bowl teams dominated the tournament in their home house, taking the top three positions. The winning team was composed of Joe Seaman, Dave Liik, Brand Hodson, Bill Liik and Bill Gruzdas and had a score of 3,123.
Second-place honors went to Jack Randazzo Jr., Jim Vickers, Paul Harris, Jim Borre and Don Griffin with 3,024 pins. Chris Parks, Willie Boileau, Del Freeze, Dave Johnston and Bob Parsons finished third at 2,978.
Manatee Lanes will be the site for the third Late Night Team Tournament on March 14 at 10:30 p.m. Entry fee is $100 per team, and bowlers may call 795-4546 to register.
The North Central regional tournament of the $250,000 Miller High Life Championships drew 13 men and 10 women to Steve Neff Lanes on Feb. 9.
James Hampton of Lake City Bowl won the men's division and will compete Feb. 23 in the state finals at Jacksonville Bowl. Hampton, who sports a 133 average, rolled a 450 scratch and 651 series at Neff Lanes.
Neff Lanes regular Willie Warren wound up third. He bowled a 431 scratch and 632 handicap series.
The woman bound for Jacksonville is Lisa Newton from Galaxy Lanes in Ocala. She sports a 147 average and rolled 522 scratch and 681 handicap in the regional event at Neff Lanes.
Manatee Lanes' Linda Cridland finished fifth among the women with 458 scratch and 638 handicap.
Regional tournaments produced 19 men and 17 women that will compete at Jacksonville Lanes, according to Bowling Centers Association of Florida administrative assistant Sue Gaudin. She said none of the regional bowlers collected any prize money, but everyone at the state event will earn between $200 and $1,000.
Women holding silver anniversary tournament: The Citrus County Women's Bowling Association's 25th annual tournament got under way this past weekend, and will conclude this weekend at two locations.
Team events were conducted Saturday at Manatee Lanes and will finish up there this Sunday. Doubles and singles competitions began Sunday at Parkview Lanes and will wrap up there this Saturday.
CCWBA secretary Carol Weeden said the team event has attracted 62 squads this year, up from 55 a year ago. There also are 133 doubles teams and 262 singles entries this year.
"We have between 50 and 75 newly sanctioned women bowlers this year," Weeden said in explaining the rise in interest. "The new house in Beverly Hills has helped things too. Bowlers don't have to go as far to go to the lanes now."
Goforth finishes fourth: Homosassa's Virgle Goforth finished fourth and earned $250 recently in the Style Master 300 Handicap Tournament at Shore Lanes in Clearwater. The event drew 545 bowlers, and had a prize fund of $6,540.
In the stepladder finals, Goforth defeated Bradenton's Kevin Pollock 221-193. But Port Richey's Rick Hanson beat Goforth 245-217 in the second match. Hanson fell 211-204 to eventual tournament champion Jeff Clark of Brandon in the next-to-last match.
Clark nailed down the $1,200 top prize when he edged Clearwater's Tim Rambo 171-170 in the title match.
CCBA event: Two weekends have been set aside to conduct the 31st annual Citrus County Bowling Association's Championship Tournament, an event sanctioned by the American Bowling Congress.
A five-person team event is scheduled April 4-5 at Sportsmen's Bowl. Squad times will be at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. both days.
Doubles and singles competitions will be held April 11-12 at Steve Neff Lanes. Squad times are planned both days at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Entry fee is $10 per bowler per event and must be paid by check or money order. The entry deadline is March 16.
Handicapping will be done on a basis of 80 percent of the difference between each bowler's highest official previous winter season's final average and 200 scratch, provided he/she has bowled a minimum of 21 games.
One prize will be awarded for every eight entries.
Tournament rules and entry forms are available at local bowling centers or from tournament director Richard Lenzen in Holder at 489-9075.
600 tournament: Beverly Hills Bowl will play host March 15 to a tournament of the Citrus County 600 Club. Format will be best three-out-of-four games, and handicap used will be 80 percent of 200 scratch.
Entry fee is $12. Qualified bowlers may sign up by calling Beverly Hills Bowl at 527-1200 or Jan Hacker at Manatee Lanes at 795-4546.
Heavy Doubles: Bowlers have until March 1 to qualify at Manatee Lanes for the Bowling Centers Association of Florida Heavy Doubles Tournament, formerly known as the Miller Lite Doubles.
Five doubles teams have qualified so far with Buck and Mary Morrow doing so twice with scores of 1,369 and 1,271. Ed and Jackie Page have the top score thus far of 1,389.
The other qualified teams include: M.J. Amaral and Sal Marando (1,373); Warren Esiner and Tammy Berlin (1,365); and Catherine and Bob Zontini (1,311).
Entry fee is $10 per team plus cost of local bowling for qualifying only. Handicaps to be used are 90 percent of 220 for men and 100 percent of 220 for women.
One in six teams from house qualifiers will advance to regional play March 21-22. Hernando County bowlers will participate in the Central Gulf Coast regional at Unity Lanes in Zephyrhills, while Citrus County bowlers will enter the North Central regional at Eustis Lanes.
Shore Lanes in Merritt Island will be the site for the state finals April 12. A top prize of $3,000 will be awarded if there are at least 42 teams.