When tournament director Chuck Souzer unveiled his Prove It Scratch Challenge tournaments in April of last year, the initial flyer stated: The good area bowlers now have a chance to prove it.
As the monthly tournament series continues, Donny Bartlett of Sarasota is making a strong case toward proving that he's one of the area's best on-the-lanes performers.
On Sunday (July 27) at AMF Gulf Gate Lanes, Bartlett dominated a field of 24 bowlers in rolling to his fourth championship in the past six events.
The competition didn't find things too easy, scoring-wise, on the 50-foot Don Carter PBA lane-conditioning pattern. "It was the most-demanding condition that the (Prove It) bowlers have seen so far, and the scores reflected the difficulty," Souzer said.
At the conclusion of the five-game qualifying round, Bartlett set the pace with a score of 1,032, while Richard McLaughlin Jr. was next in line at 1,008. Also making the six-player cut to match play were Carl Sawyer (981), Saul Insignares (940), Bob Pazur (919) and Jason Ferrill (916).
In the first game of the match-play segment, Bartlett defeated Ferrill 212-150, McLaughlin beat Pazur 194-177, and Insignares topped Sawyer 168-159. But with net pinfall including 30 "bonus pins" for each match-play win, Insignares missed advancing to the three-player final by two pins.
Entering the final showdown, Bartlett had a net pinfall of 1,274, while McLaughlin had 1,232 and Sawyer 1,140, meaning that McLaughlin needed to win the game and outscore Bartlett by 13 pins for the title. But when Bartlett rolled 194 to McLaughlin's 158, the top prize of $450 went to the red-hot Bartlett. Sawyer finished a distant third despite rolling 213, the highest final-game score.
Defending champion John Thompson -- who has won the other two events not won by Bartlett since January -- was not an entrant this time around, but he remains second in 2014 Prove It earnings with $1,310, while Bartlett has now totaled $2,190.
Souzer has already determined that the site of the next Prove It Challenge will be AMF Venice Lanes, but the date and time haven't yet been finalized. Examiner.com will provide advance details on the August tournament when they become available.
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