Lecanto's Craig Collins isn't ready to give up his wholesale nursery business to bowl full time, but finding a sponsor would send him out on the road more often. The sponsor might like the return as well since Collins picked up the $1,000 top prize Feb. 19 in a Style Master 300 Scratch Tournament at AMF University Bowl in Tampa.
The tournament drew 99 bowlers, who first had to make it through four qualifying games. Collins rolled scores of 211, 184, 167 and 211 for a 773 total that wasn't enough to advance. But he went through a second qualifier and connected for games of 243, 225, 246 and 259 for a 973 that sent him into the fifth round.
"I changed equipment and went to more of a swing attack, whereas I was playing down and in to start," Collins said. "I also went with another resin ball, which gave me a different leverage weight."
Round five involved a match against Lakeland's Bryant Ashley, which Collins won 279-247. Collins then beat St. Petersburg's Keith Glasgow 201-175 to advance to the championship match against David Spoor of Orlando. Collins topped Spoor 258-204.
"Craig went spare, spare, seven-bagger and it was done," tournament director Steve Lavoie said of the title match.
Collins also earned $500 as the runner-up in a NABI of Orlando Tournament Feb. 12-13 at Brunswick Wekiva Lanes in Apopka. He was the top seed going into the finals, but lost the championship match 223-175 to Orlando's Chaz Morrow.
Juniors to roll for scholarship money: A total of 32 YABA bowlers from Manatee Lanes in Crystal River have qualified to compete in the Youth Bowling Championships. The state event will be conducted over three weekends from April 9-24 at Cypress Lanes in Winter Haven, with more than $10,000 in scholarship money available.
The top finisher in each of four divisions at Winter Haven qualifies for the national tournament July 20-24 in Denver. About $45,000 in scholarship money will be at stake there, according to state tournament director Eleanor Livesay.
Qualifiers for the state event were conducted in November and February at Manatee Lanes. Those juniors eligible to compete at Winter Haven and their scores include: Claire Sassard 625, Ashley Ivey 614, Tiffany Dumal 609, Jackie Rhodes 616 and Jill Ard 605 in girls 11-and-under handicap division; Chip Greene 688, J.P. Webber 625, Chris Ludwick 616, Larry Anderson 608, Mike Murphy 605, Richard Pollard 670, Derek Massey 663 and Brandon Geick 644 in boys 11-and-under handicap division; Chassy Kennedy 644, Gena Self 633, Heidi Rhodes 623, Lisa Fritz 651, Tammy King 649 and Kacci Rollen 644 in girls 12-21 handicap division; and Chad Fugere 675, Brian McGill 650, Stephen Dumal 639, Larry Nevels 632, Anthony Poliseno 611, Frank Gitto 610, Tom Friery 616, Robert Stolp 604, Ronald Thomas 696, Mike Wilson 680, Brian Owen 669, Todd Cridland 661 and Nicholas Raincloud 657 in boys 12-21 handicap.
Bowlers 11-and-under will not be eligible to advance to the nationals, though they can pick up state scholarship money. Boys and girls scratch divisions in ages 12-21 will send winners to Denver along with the handicap winners for those ages.
"Last year they had 210 kids for the whole state tournament," Manatee Lanes YABA director Cathy Pearson said. "This year they already have 750 entries from the November qualifier, not even counting those from February, so they're projecting 1,500 kids."
Livesay said Coca-Cola has promised to match any amount up to $5,198 raised in state scholarship money, so the event at Winter Haven could offer more than $10,000 to participants.
Pitts takes bowl-a-thon: Steve Pitts led a field of 35 keglers with a 2,379 total, giving him the $150 top prize and a trophy in a 10-game bowl-a-thon held Feb. 20 at Louie's Bowling Center in Brooksville.
Nelson Mys came in second with 2,350 and earned $100. Other bowlers to cash were Gary Cook, $75 for third with 2,348; Lloyd Black, $45 for fourth with 2,250; Mike Gaudig, $30 for fifth with 2,236; and Rick Holland, $25 for sixth with 2,227.
Juniors on the move: Nine junior bowlers from Manatee Lanes and two from Sportsmen's Bowl in Inverness will step up to new divisions when the next North Suncoast YABA Classic is conducted March 20 at Lane-Glo North in Port Richey.
Classic tournament director Joy Giardina said bowlers are re-evaluated after every three events, and move up if they've shown significant improvement. Manatee Lanes bowlers making the switch next month are Brian Dumal, Cindy Brewer, Genie Rhodes, and Jackie Rhodes from E to D; Larry Anderson and Tony Brewer from E to C; Stephen Dumal from C to A; and Chris O'Connell and Gena Self from B to A. Sportsmen's Bowl keglers due to change divisions are Jeff Hickey from B to A, and Ryan Sweeney from D to B.
A division is for bowlers with averages of 161 and over, B 141-160, C 121-140, D 106-120, and E 105-and-under.
Several of the aformentioned juniors had strong efforts at a North Suncoast YABA Classic held Feb. 20 at Spring Hill Lanes. O'Connell came in second in B division with a six-game total of 1,065, Stephen Dumal was second in C with a 951, Sweeney won D with a 927 score, and Brian Dumal won E with a 711.
Fun Bowl: Sportsmen's Bowl will conduct a St. Patrick's Fun Bowl on March 12 at 1:30 p.m. Entry fee is $5. Bowlers making strikes when the head pin is green will win $1. Call 726-2873 for more information.