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Gannon, Blatchford to vie in WCST’s season-opening bowling event in Montclair

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Kevin Gannon of Lakewood and Don Blatchford of Santa Monica top the entries as the West Coast Senior Tour launches the 2014 season with a tournament Saturday at Bowlium Lanes in Montclair, Calif.

Gannon, a lefty, is the WCST’s all-time money winner with $109,100. Blatchford, a right-hander, has been on a roll the past two years, winning the WCST’s Super Senior bowler-of-the year honor the last two years.

Blatchford claimed last month’s WCST championship in Laughlin, Nev., the tour’s final event of 2013.

The WCST held 15 events last year and is planning to stage 12 tournaments in 2014.

For this year, the WCST has settled on restricting its tournaments to bowlers 60 and up. This contentious rule change has been questioned by some of the under-60 bowlers who will not be able to compete.

In 2013, players as young as 50 were allowed to compete in most WCST tournaments.

Dick Sanders, the owner and tournament director of the WCST, has said that the decision to scrap the 50-to-59-year-old group wasn’t “done to punish them. It was just because we didn’t get their support.”

Still, the new age-eligibility rule locks out such top bowlers as 53-year-old Eric Forkel, who has won 19 WCST titles, ranking fifth all time.

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