Although he has racked up numerous local, regional and state tournament titles in recent years, Scott Culp of Lima – champion of the Genesee Region USBC Scratch Memorial on Jan. 7 at Letchworth Pines in Portageville – says he prefers to stay in the moment.
“(Tournament victories) is not a statistic that I keep track of,” the 39-year-old right-hander said. “What I try to do is bowl good in every tournament I enter.”
Culp accomplished just that and more at the Pines by conquering two “Sport” oil patterns – averaging 221 for eight games – before defeating Jerry Blair of Le Roy, 215-180, in the title match to earn the $600 top prize.
The longtime employee of Gleason Works in Rochester said he has worked on his game over the years “to be able to execute on different patterns and use multiple lines (to the pocket).”
“I feel that versatility is one of my strengths – being able to play near the gutter on shorter patterns and inside, keeping the ball in a contained area, on long patterns,” he said.
He said he learned how to bowl growing up in Honeoye Falls at Brongo Ball, where he developed his unique style of walking from right to left on the approach and utilizing an extra-high backswing.
“It sort of came naturally,” he said, pointing out that as a younngster he was enamored with the style of PBA star Pete Weber.
“Plus, we used to bowl after several leagues before us, and there wasn’t a lot of oil on the lanes, so I had to get to the left and find what little oil there was in the center of the lane. I bowled a lot with Ryan Kretchmer (another great bowler out of Honeoye Falls) and he takes that big step to the left, too.”
Culp, holder of the GRUSBC league average record of 242 for a full season, successfully defended his Scratch Memorial crown with the win over Blair, who had advanced through the step-ladder finals with victories over Brady Weber of Perry, Don Parrott of Warsaw and Kevin Gray Jr. of Warsaw.
He receives ample support – and help with getting all of his bowling balls into the center – from Colleen Harrington, his girlfriend of 10 years and teammate on a league at Roseland Bowl in Canandaigua.
While the results of the tournament were posted previously by me on The Batavian, I’d like to give a “shout out” to Dean Cadieux Jr. of Oakfield, who advanced to the semifinals despite an opening 117 game in the four-game qualifying round.
Cadieux kept his composure, moved his line farther to the right, changed balls and registered 676 for the next three games to take the third and final qualifying spot from his squad.
Many others may have hung their heads and gave up after such a tough start, but give credit to Cadieux for figuring it out and, ultimately, earning a check for his efforts.
PURSEL POPS 827; CLINE SETS RECORD WITH 858
It has been said that “life begins at 50.”
While Batavian Jim Pursel has been a good bowler for many years, he has definitely stepped up his game after reaching that milestone last June.
“Jimbo,” as he is affectionately known, is wreaking havoc on the lanes throughout Western New York – posting a 300 game at Mancuso Bowling Center in Batavia in November and a 300 at Transit Lanes in Buffalo in December -- and, most recently, rolling an 827 series in the Storm Bowlers Choice Pro Shop Senior League at Transit Lanes.
Pursel’s first 800 series – he has several 300 games – came in the finals of the league’s weekly match play and propelled him to his third victory of the season.
His games were 278 and 270, which were rolled on one pair of lanes, and 279, which came in the final match on a different pair of lanes. All told, he had 31 strikes – leaving just 5 10-pins along the way.
“Things have been going well lately,” Pursel said. “At Transit, I’m concentrating more; bowling with better bowlers has made a difference.”
Pursel is averaging 218 in the league, six pins less than his average in a league at Clarence Bowling Academy on Monday nights. He also substitutes in The North Pole league at Mancuso’s on Thursdays.
The 827 eclipses his previous high series of 799, and he also had a 794 back in 2005.
Brian Cline of Williamsville, one of the best left-handers in New York State, set a Genesee Region USBC Association record on Saturday when he posted an 858 series in the Adult-Youth Doubles Tournament at Mancuso’s.
Cline, 39, rolled 279-279-300, leaving a 10-pin in the first game and the second game. His effort is 10 pins better than the 848 registered by another lefty, Darrow Rumsey of Batavia, at Scopano’s Lanes in Oakfield in 2000.
In league play, Diane Hurlburt of Warsaw overcame a shaky start to roll 11 strikes in a row for a 277 game in the Monday Nite League at Perry Bowling Center this week.
Hurlburt, who is averaging a sparkling 207 in the league, started with a 2-8-10 split, and missed them all for 7 pins in the first frame before striking the rest of the way. She finished with a 658 series.
BELMONTE BACK ON TOP AS PBA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Victory in the season-ending World Championship has propelled Australia’s Jason Belmonte to rarified air – recipient of the Chris Schenkel Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year for the fourth time.
Belmonte was a landslide winner in voting by the bowling news media (including myself) and his fellow competitors.
Other honorees are Matt Sanders of Indianapolis, as the 2017 Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year; Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, as the Steve Nagy PBA Sportsmanship Award winner, and PBA Hall of Famer Del Ballard Jr. of Keller, Texas, as the recipient of PBA’s Tony Reyes Memorial Community Service Award.
They will be recognized at the Go Bowling! PBA 60th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Indianapolis Marriott North. The entire celebration dinner will be live streamed on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame.
Belmonte is the first player in PBA history to win three major championships among his four titles in 2017. At age 34, he joins Mark Roth as a four-time winner of the award.
Walter Ray Williams Jr. is the all-time leader with seven Player of the Year Awards, followed by the late Earl Anthony with six.
Belmonte, the best two-handed player ever, led the PBA in earnings ($238,912) and scoring average (a PBA record 229.39 for 380 games bowled). The PBA World Championship title is his ninth major and was his third major victory in 2017, along with the Barbasol PBA Players Championship and his fourth United States Bowling Congress Masters.
He now has won the Player of the Year award in four of the past five years, missing out last year when E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind., captured the prize.
USBC TO RECLASSIFY MORE THAN 700 LEAGUES
The United States Bowling Congress, in a continuing and more intensive effort to ensure bowler average integrity, is reclassifying more than 700 leagues to either the Sport or Challenge designation.
According to a USBC press release, data compiled from bowlers who competed in multiple leagues during the 2016-17 season reveals that the lane conditions of 704 leagues nationwide were more difficult than Standard (or House) leagues.
As a result, 605 leagues will now be reclassified as Challenge leagues and 99 will be reclassified as Sport leagues based on data that showed the scoring pace was significantly different from the scoring pace its members had on Standard league conditions.
The averages of the bowlers in those leagues now will carry a Sport or Challenge designation on Find A Member on bowl.com. If they have no other average, the bowlers will need to follow Rule 201 and use the Sport or Challenge conversion charts when entering leagues or tournaments bowled on Standard conditions.
I have not seen that any leagues in our area are being reclassified, but I believe that some in local halls with more difficult scoring conditions should be. I have seen that a few leagues in Rochester have been reclassified.
Last year, the USBC bridged the gap between Sport and Standard leagues by introducing the Challenge league designation for leagues using tougher, though not Sport, lane conditions.
Compared to Standard lanes conditions (house shot), bowlers in Challenge leagues have averages that are 10-19 pins lower than averages on a house shot. Averages in Sport leagues are 20 or more pins lower.
MOUNT MORRIS, MEDINA, BATAVIA HOSTING TOURNAMENTS
Tournaments this weekend:
Friday, Jan. 19-Sunday, Jan. 21
40th annual Mount Morris Pepsi Open
A $1,500 guaranteed top prize awaits the winner of this scratch singles event, which features qualifying squads at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday.
A one-game “last chance” squad is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, followed by eliminator-style finals.
The entry fee is $70, with a re-entry fee of $50. One in five bowlers will cash.
For more information or to enter, call 585-658-2540.
Saturday, Jan. 20
Curt Haight Memorial 4-Person No-Tap, Mancuso Bowling Center, Batavia.
A $1,000 first prize, based on 48 teams, is being offered at this annual handicap event conducted in memory of the late Curt Haight, who was an avid Batavia bowler.
Squad times are noon and 3 p.m. The entry fee is $100 per team and one in six teams will cash.
To enter, contact Matt Balduf at 585-415-2964 or Mancuso’s at 585-343-1319.
Saturday, Jan. 20
8th annual Winter Classic, Medina Lanes
First place is $600, guaranteed, and one in five bowlers will cash in this scratch singles tournament.
Squad times are 1 and 3:30 p.m., and will be followed by a one-game “last chance” squad for those missing the cut. A head-to-head match play finals will determine the champion.
The entry fee is $50. Call Medina Lanes at 585-318-4474 to enter.