Branham takes Fair Lanes Open lead

March 13, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

For about an hour last night, George Branham III lost his concentration and the lead in the $135,000 Fair Lanes Open at Fair Lanes Woodlawn.

But once Branham reset his attention to the prevailing business, his dominance and the lead soon returned.

So, when ABC trains its cameras on today's stepladder finals (channels 7 and 13), Branham will be in an excellent position to capture his first Professional Bowlers Association event in six years.

His drought has been severe since a 1987 title at Union City, Calif.

Branham said: "I kind of lost concentration in the third game [last night] and started pressing a little bit. I started watching everybody else, and the one thing you can't do is worry about what they're doing.

"My swing was kind of tight going into my 268 game [the sixth of eight], and that kind of loosened me up a little bit."

Branham, 30, might have skipped this tournament but for a third place at Erie, Pa., last weekend after receiving some tips on his nTC mechanics from roommate Randy Pedersen.

He has never been overly successful at the Maryland PBA stop, blaming the trouble on "the bad condition of the first 10 feet of the lanes.

"Now, they're much easier than in the past. They've re-surfaced them, and the scoring is a lot higher."

Dennis Jacques, of Monmouth Jct. N.J., momentarily took the perch, which means a bowler must win only one game to take home the top prize of $24,000.

But Branham finished with games of 268, 226 and 270 and leapfrogged Jacques, who had the best record (17-7) in the match-play round.

"Hey, it's my first [TV] show of the year, and it doesn't matter whether you're first or fourth," Jacques said. "The lower you are in the top four, the more exposure."

Jacques, 32, has the distinction of winning a tour stop with the lowest score -- 157 at Windsor, Ont., in 1983. He also said he hasn't won a game on television since 1985, "something like 0 and 8."

He has a special incentive because next week's stop is at North Brunswick, N.J., six miles from his home.

Former Fair Lanes champion (1990) Danny Wiseman, a Baltimore native, and Venezuela's Amleto Moncelli, were tied for 21st after Thursday's match play.

Both made a serious run for the finals, but finished sixth and fifth, respectively, behind Brian Voss and red-hot Bob Spaulding.

Voss, of Boca Raton, Fla., has finished fifth at the past two stops, missing the stepladder finals, which were altered to the top four (instead of five) to accommodate the King of the Hill addition. "The rules change cost me a lot of money," he said. "But I've been bowling as well as anybody. I kind of dogged it [189, 183, 185] the last three games today, but I don't really care about that. It was just a matter of surviving."

He held off Spaulding for third by 13 pins. Spaulding out-rolled even Branham in last night's eight-game block, 1,840 to 1,824.

1, George Branham III, Indianapolis, 14-10, 10,159. 2, Dennis Jacques, Monmouth Junction., N.J., 17-7, 9,990. 3, Brian Voss, Boca Raton, Fla., 15-9, 9,802. 4, Bob Spaulding, Harrisburg, Pa., 15-9, 9,789. 5, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 13-11, 9,715, $5,000. 6, Danny Wiseman, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., 14-10, 9,661, $4,000.

7, Steve Jaros, Bolingbrook, Ill., 13-11, 9,631, $3,600. 8, Robert Lawrence, Austin, Texas, 11-12-1, 9,613, $3,300. 9, Bob Learn Jr., Erie, Pa., 12-12, 9,599, $3,000. 10, Gary J.Schluchter, Fremont, Ohio 15-9, 9,591, $2,800. 11, Scott Alexander, Seattle, 12-12, 9,585, $2,600. 12, Dave D'Entremont, Middleburg Heights, Ohio, 11-12-1, 9,559, $2,400.

13, Randy Pedersen, Hollywood, Fla., 12-12, 9,554, $2,300. 14, Dennis Rakauskas, Altamonte Springs, Fla., 11-13, 9,525, $2,200. 15, Tommy Delutz Jr., Jamaica, N.Y., 10-13-1, 9,459, $2,100. 16, David Traber, Woodstock, Ill., 12-11-1, 9,432, $2,000. 17, Dave Wodka, Milwaukee, 12-11-1, 9,403, $1,900. 18, Michael Azcarate, Pembroke Pines, Fla., 10-14, 9,383, $1,800.

19, Doug Kent, Canandaigua, N.Y., 13-10-1, 9,316, $1,700. 20, Jeff Lizzi, Sandusky, Ohio, 9-14-1, 9,302, $1,600. 21, Bobby Fleetwood, Naugatuck, Conn., 9-14-1, 9,283, $1,550. 22, Mo Hestand, Moore, Okla., 9-14-1, 9,184, $1,500. 23, Magic Gray, Washington, 8-13-3, 9,144, $1,450. 24, Nicholas Serino, Bethesda, Md., 5-19, 8,852, $1,400.

King of the Hill

The winner of the televised final round at today's $135,000 Fair Lanes Open will meet Walter Ray Williams Jr., the current PBA King of the Hill.

A $5,000 prize is at stake in that match, with the weekly winner advancing to defend King of the Hill honors at next weekend's tour event in North Brunswick, N.J.

The King of the Hill innovation is new to this year's PBA Tour, meaning that only the top four finishers -- not five as in past years -- in the tournament reach the final round.

Today's telecast begins with the No. 4 qualifier facing No. 3. The winner advances against No. 2, with the survivor of that match playing the leader for the Fair Lanes Open title.

Williams became King of the Hill last week in Erie, Pa., by defeating Ron Williams (no relation), 214-193.

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