Best of the best will do battle
By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
Top professional bowlers will convene on New Port Richey this weekend for the 16th annual Cream of the Crop at Lane Glo Bowl and Lane Glo North.
More than $150,000 in prize money is expected to be paid out, including $6,000 to the men's singles champion, who will come from a field of 120-plus. The scratch tournament uses a 10-game format, leading to a "stepladder" TV-style finish.
Walter Ray Williams Jr., a five-time Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year who has earned more than $2.5-million in career earnings on the PBA tour highlights the expected notables.
PBA Rookie of the Year Tommy Jones, a 23-year-old from Greenville, S.C., will be in the field as will Ricky Ward, 33, a former rookie of the year from North Fort Myers. Chris Hayden, 31, a five-year PBA veteran from Tampa who competed in the PBA National Championships and the American Bowling Congress Masters last year, will also be there.
Defending champions from last year's tournament will be back as well, including men's singles winner Tim Mack of New Jersey, Paula Aguirre of Bradenton and the mixed doubles team of Michelle Frank and Steve John Jr. from Buffalo, N.Y.
The weekend's events begin today with the men's doubles competition at 2 p.m. at Lane Glo Bowl. On Saturday, singles play begins at 9:30 a.m. with the men at Lane Glo Bowl and the women at Lane Glo North. Lane Glo Bowl will host the mixed doubles tournament Sunday at 8:30 a.m.
Registration is still open as space allows -- the mixed doubles ranks are full with 60 entries, but the rest of the divisions, with more than 200 entries by Thursday, are still open.
The top 20 percent in each division will earn cash prizes, starting at $5,000 for the winning mixed and men's doubles teams, $6,000 for the men's singles champion and $3,000 for the women's champion.
Tournament director Judi Moore points out that the inequity between the two singles purses isn't what you'd think, considering 120 men have entered, as opposed to 40 women.
CREAM OF THE CROP
WHAT: Bowling tournament.
WHEN: Today through Sunday.
WHERE: Lane Glo Bowl and Lane Glo North.
HOW MUCH: Registration for $150 for women's singles, $175 for men's singles and $280 for men's doubles. Admission is free for spectators.
DIRECTIONS: Lane Glo Bowl is on Old County Road 54, three blocks west of Little Road and just north of State Road 54. Lane Glo North is on Ridge Road, between U.S. 19 and Little Road.
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