Professional Bowlers Association Tour average leader Jason Couch is among 125 pros expected to appear in the 14th annual Southern Regional on Friday-Sunday at Spring Hill Lanes.
Couch's 220.93 average is tops on the tour this season. Four-time winner Darrin Hays (1995, '96, '99 and 2000), 1998 champion Steve Hoskins and defending champ Don Dupree are other likely entrants.
The weekend gets underway with a practice and autograph session with the pros from 10:30 a.m.-noon Friday. It will be followed by a pro-am, in which local amateurs will have the chance to bowl with three different pros.
Bowlers will roll three games 9 no-tap, meaning they are awarded a strike if they knock down nine or more pins on their first ball. They will compete against other amateurs using their three-game total, handicap and the pro's three games to get a final score.
Separate divisions and times are available for juniors (1 p.m.), senior citizens and adults (3:30, 6 and 8:30). Adult entrants will be entered in the Big Pick Up contest, in which they could have the chance to win a 2002 OZ Lancer by converting a 7-10 split in September.
The regional tournament will take place Saturday and Sunday.
Competitors will roll eight games beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, with the top 24 advancing to the final match play event Sunday.
Survivors will bowl two eight-game blocks starting at 9 a.m. Sunday, with the top five finalists competing in a TV playoff format scheduled for 3 p.m.
Todd Eppler, Eric Harris and Jason Abraham of Hudson and house pro Kevin Williams of Spring Hill qualified by placing among the top four of 37 entrants in a Regional Sweeper on July 21.
The tourney is free and open to the public.
LIKE THE PROS: Amateurs will have the chance to bowl under pro conditions during a special PBA Tour promotion from 8 p.m.-11 Thursday at Spring Hill Lanes.
The cost is $25 per player. For information, call Norm Simard, (864) 906-5079; or Carlos or George, (352) 683-7272.
_ FRANK PASTOR