No, you haven't missed it. You still have time to truck on down to Seminole Lanes in Pinellas County and watch your favorite senior pro bowlers in action.
The $85,000 Pinellas Suncoast Pinwheel Senior PBA Open started Sunday and the pros will be in action all day today, Tuesday and Wednesday. The nationally televised finals will be 7-9:30 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN.
It is the first time the PBA, seniors or otherwise, has ever visited Pinellas County. The nearest stops were the $40,000 Sertoma Opens in Tampa in 1967-68, won by Mike Durbin and Jim Stefanich, both expected to compete this week. Sarasota staged PBA events in 1977-78.
The PBA and Seminole Lanes' owner Jerry Krauss scheduled all qualifying rounds during the day, specifically to benefit senior citizen spectators. Only the finals will be at night.
If you've followed the game over the years, you'll find some of your favorite senior pros in the field. Dick Weber, Teata Semiz, Les Zikes, Carmen Salvino and Nelson Burton Jr., to name a few, are competing. All-time PBA winner Earl Anthony quit the tour last summer. Semiz, of Wanaque, N.J., and Weber, of St. Louis, are the senior tour's top winners with six titles each; Weber heads the money list with $155,525 in career earnings.
Other names might not be as familiar, but they have been the tour's big winners recently. John Handegard of Las Vegas and Gene Stus of Allen Park, Mich., battled last year for Player of the Year, with Handegard taking the title. Handegard won three events and earned more than $52,000 last year. He has won once and finished twice this year.
Stus will compete this week, although he went home last week to recover from chest pains. He has had two open-heart surgeries. Stus was the first senior (and sixth PBA player) to roll a 300 game during a live televised championship round. He has won three titles and earned more than $40,000.
Other names to watch are John Hricsina, winner at Naples last Wednesday; Jimmy Certain; Glenn Allison; Dave Soutar; and Tommy Evans. Evans, a long-time card-holder from Sunrise, won his first senior event Sept. 5 in Canada after finishing second twice at the previous stops.
Clinic scheduled: Mo Pinel will conduct two clinics on Thursday, Oct. 22, one on ball drilling and the second for advanced bowlers. Pinel is a member of the International Bowling Pro Shop Proprietors Association and a recognized expert in the field of ball drilling.
The first clinic will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at Hudson Bowl. The second, from 2-6 p.m., will feature tips on bowling. Cost is $40 for one clinic, $75 for both. Contact Ron Woods at the center for more information.
State 500 Club meets: The third annual Florida Women's 500 Club tournament and convention is scheduled this weekend at the Holiday Inn Surfside on Clearwater Beach.
Shore Lanes will host the doubles event and Rainbow Lanes the singles as more than 1,000 members are expected to attend and compete. Tournament entries are closed. For more information, contact Erika Hunter at 441-1075.
Around The Lanes: The 24th annual Florida Senior Men's Tournament is slated next month at Seminole Lanes. Entry fees are $12.50 each for singles and doubles and $2 for All-Events. There is no team event. The first two LPBT fall tour stops last week and this week will be televised on ESPN six days later at 1:30 a.m. local time. Tarpon Springs' Steve Hoskins was fourth in the Fort Lauderdale regional Sept. 27. Hudson Bowl offers a 100 per cent handicap singles tournament in two divisions with a $15 entry fee this Sunday.
Senior Open at a glance
What: $85,000 Pinellas Suncoast Pinwheel PBA Senior Open.
When: Through Wednesday.
Where: Seminole Lanes, 8668 Park Blvd. N, Seminole.
Who: 240 of the country's top senior men pros.
Today, 8:30 a.m., 1 and 5:30 p.m. _ Pros bowl second eight-game qualifying block with cut to the top 32 qualifiers. Admission $5 all day.
Tuesday, 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 and 5:30 p.m. _ Eight-game match play for top 32 pros. Admission $7 all day.
Wednesday, 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. _ Final eight-game match-play block for 32 pros. Cut to the top five. Admission $7, morning only.
Wednesday, 7:30-9 p.m. _ live TV finals, ESPN. Admission $10.