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    Joel rolls like old pro at Sunshine


    © St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000

    Defending champ Bonnie Joel of Tampa called on her past pro tour experience to capture her second straight Florida All-Star Match-Play Ladies Championship recently at Sunshine Bowl.

    Dunedin's Bob Belmont won his seventh men's title.

    Joel defeated Clearwater's 1998 champion, Stephanie See, twice to claim the crown and $350 in a field of 15 women.

    Last year, Joel won $750 as 47 women challenged for the championship.

    Belmont, an occasional PBA national tour and regional player, defeated St. Petersburg's Bill Hicks to earn $1,200 in the 32-man field.

    Defending champ Tom Wheeler of Largo lost his first match to Rick Ickes, then was ousted by Largo's John Hendry in the double-elimination format.

    On his march to the title, Belmont defeated Bob Smolka, Hendry, Brian Korcak, Ickes and Hicks to enter the finals as the top seed.

    Hicks, the 1994 champion, stopped 1996 champ Tom Daugherty, Ed Perry, Don Hoyer and Mike LaBranche before losing to Belmont.

    Hicks then beat Brian Halstrom to set up the title match against Belmont.

    Joel won a Professional Women's Bowlers Association doubles crown with Cindy Coburn-Carroll in 1988 and spent eight years on tour.

    Joel quit the tour and the game for five years, saying she was burned out, then returned last season to win the match-play title.

    She defeated 1996 champion Pam Sprow of Lakeland, Jennifer Peacock by three pins and Tampa's Trudy Lavoie.

    Joel needed to beat See twice to claim the title.

    Joel won the first match 666-595 and the championship 604-598.

    She didn't roll a series below 607.

    SURVIVORS, ALL: Mike Thomas of Spring Hill survived 80 games and four more in the stepladder finals to win the Weekend Scratch Marathon at Sunshine Bowl.

    The event, last weekend, was staged by the Suncoast Vietnam Veterans Association to benefit the Suncoast Epilepsy Association.

    Thomas won $250. The event started with 23 players and finished with six.

    Christy Egan, 17, of St. Petersburg was the only woman to complete 80 games, averaging 135, but she failed to make the cut to the top five.

    In the stepladder finals, Thomas defeated St. Pete's Robert Mitchell, 198-147, then stopped Mike Vitel Sr. of Kenneth City 204-146.

    Thomas beat Spring Hill's Todd Jufko 171-148 in the semifinals and topped tournament director Mike Vitel Jr. of St. Petersburg 177-171 for the championship.

    Vitel Jr. averaged 222 over the 80 games, followed by Jufko (201), Vitel Sr. (199), Thomas (198) and Mitchell (192).

    LADY PROS: The Women's Professional Bowling Association opens its five-stop fall tour with three events in Florida.

    Liz Johnson, Niagara Falls, N.Y., returns to defend her title in the Greater Orlando Open on Sept. 3-7 at AMF Altamonte Lanes.

    A Sept. 3 practice session, 8:30-10:30 a.m., starts the event. The pro-am will follow, from 11 a. m. to 7 p.m.

    Competition begins Sept. 4 with the finals on Sept. 7. ESPN2 will air the finals on Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. and again on Sept. 14 at 1 p.m.

    The tour moves to Don Carter's University Lanes at Davie for the Paula Carter Classic on Sept. 9-14.

    Television times are Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 21 at 1 p.m.

    The final Florida stop is at Sebring's Kegel Bowling Center for the Foundation Games II on Sept. 16-21.

    TV times are Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 28 at 1 p.m.

    The men's PBA national tour resumes Oct. 7-10 with the Track Canandaigua (N.Y.) Open.

    SCRATCH TOURNAMENT SET: Largo Lanes will start a monthly ladies scratch tournament Sept. 17.

    The entry fee is $35. The winner receives $175, based on 20 entries.

    Players will roll six games across six pair of lanes. The field will be cut in half for four match-play games, which will determine the final five in the stepladder finals.

    Dawn Ward and Kathy Quick are the tournament directors. Call the center, 584-5370, for more information.

    Gary Hampshire's over-40 scratch tournament is Saturday, and the Poor Boy tournament is Sunday at Largo Lanes.

    SCANLON'S NINTH: Palm Harbor's Pat Scanlon defeated Hudson's Jerry Gluck 206-192 on Sunday at Liberty Lanes, winning his ninth NABI tournament and $375.

    Tampa's Emily Javier finished third. Bill Heym, Pinellas Park, was fourth, and Largo's Robert Sellner was fifth.

    NABI players will be at Rainbow Lanes this weekend with the first squad at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

    AROUND THE LANES: Marty Murphy rolled a 300 during a 1,074 four-game set at Liberty Lanes. Rick Congilia fired a 299 game. ... Nine-time PBA tour champion Steve Hoskins of Tarpon Springs won the Port Charlotte PBA southern regional last weekend.

    - Phil Gulick can be reached at or

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