Ken McDougall of Venice and William Thomas of Bradenton were two of the four bowlers who qualified for the national finals of the AMF $700,000 National In-League Tournament as the result of the district finals at AMF Clearwater Lanes on Sunday (March 10).
McDougall won the Open Division competition -- including bowlers who qualified for district with entering averages of 200 or better -- with a score that was plus-87 in the pins-over-average format.
Entering with a 212 average, the Venice lefthander fired a 723 scratch series on games of 276, 217 and 230 to earn a trip to Las Vegas for the April 12-13 national finals, where the winners in each division will earn a $50,000 payday. All of the national finalists are guaranteed to receive at least $250 in prize money.
"Bowling on the same pair with my fellow Open Division representatives from (AMF) Venice helped me stay relaxed throughout the three games, especially as far as being able to take one shot at a time," McDougall said. "That, and the fact that after each of my three open frames, I was able to string at least a turkey."
Thomas, who qualified out of AMF Bradenton Lanes with a 196 average in Division A (180-199), posted a 702 scratch series that was 114 pins over average, enabling him to set the pace in a 58-player field.
The other Las Vegas-bound bowlers both represented AMF Florida Lanes in Tampa. Pedro Canals won Division B (160-179) with a 628, which was 127 pins over his 167 average, while Morgan Redd won Division C (159-under), rolling 512 scratch, which bettered his 122 average by 146 pins.
While not qualifying for the national finals, Mike Clark of Bradenton finished third in the Open Division with plus-61, while Dave Cottrill of Venice was fifth with plus-50. Also among the top finishers were Jim Grimes and Joe Komyati Jr., both of Bradenton, who were sixth (plus-48) and tenth (plus-18), respectively.
In Division A, other top area placers were Steven Rocha of AMF Gulf Gate, tied for fifth at plus-68, and William Meyers of Venice, ninth at plus-39.
Dale Harshbarger of AMF Gulf Gate was third in Division B with plus-91, while other Top 10 finishers included Nichole Wright of Bradenton was fourth (plus-74), Rick Trenkle of Venice eighth (plus-55) and Mark Munro of Gulf Gate ninth (plus-51).
Tying for fifth position in Division C were two Venice bowlers -- Denise Kinney and Linda Panke -- with scores of plus-107, while Preston Willis of Bradenton was eighth at plus-100.
The top six bowlers in each division from qualifying AMF centers were eligible for the district finals, and the total entrants in each category were: Open 49, Division A 58, Division B 58 and Division C 57.