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2002-03 PBA season to include event in Orlando

The PBA announced its 20-stop, 2002-03 schedule, which runs Oct. 9-March 9 and includes the return of the Tournament of Champions.

The second-half schedule includes a stop Feb. 12-16 at Orlando's Boardwalk Bowl, the first time the PBA will visit Florida since Clermont's Jason Couch won the Villages stop early last year.

Three of the four majors will be at arenas. The Tournament of Champions is at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The ABC Masters is at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., and the World Championship is at Savage Hall at the University of Toledo.

All finals are scheduled to air Sundays on ESPN. During the first half, all but one will air at 1 p.m. During the second half, telecasts will start at 12:30 p.m. except Super Bowl Sunday (Jan. 26), when the event starts at 4:30.

The PBA's growth last season included an 18 percent increase in TV ratings, a 20 percent increase in membership and a 35 percent increase in tournament entries.

JAPAN BOUND: The top 16 in the PBA standings from last season travel to Tokyo next month for the 18th annual Japan Cup, and an event has been added to attract more pros.

Dream Bowl 2002 is scheduled for Aug. 30-Sept. 2, with a 240-man field of American, Japanese and international players. The Japan Cup is Sept. 3-8, with the winner earning $50,000. American pros are 15-for-18 in the Japan Cup.

Sixteen PBA pros challenge 16 Japanese players in the Japan Cup and will join 24 other American pros in the Dream Bowl.

Parker Bohn III, three-time Japan Cup winner, heads the American contingent that includes 10-time tour winner Steve Hoskins of Tarpon Springs, Clermont's Couch and Norm Duke and Ocala's Walter Ray Williams Jr. Bob Learn Jr. is the defending champion.

ROTH TOPS: With two stops left, Mark Roth is the PBA Senior Tour's leading money-winner with more than $28,000. Roth, second to Earl Anthony in career victories with 36, is in his first year on the tour and has two victories. .

The tour visits Hammond, Ind., Aug. 18 for the Lake County Open, then closes its season Aug. 24 with the Jackson (Mich.) Open. There is no TV for the senior tour.

DROUGHT ENDS: The seasonlong drought for Carolyn Dorin-Ballard ended last week when she beat Tiffany Stanbrough 223-184 to win the Dallas Open and $10,000. It was her first victory after eight events and marked the start of the PWBA summer tour.

The North Richland Hills, Texas, right-hander is the reigning player of the year, and the victory was her 18th pro title.

The tour is in Collierville, Tenn., for the Miller High Life National Players Championship that ends today. The finals will be aired at 2:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.

_ Phil Gulick can be reached at xerxes8 msn.com.

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