Rolling games of 235, 259, 237 and 213, McCleland opened up a 95-pin advantage over defending champion David Shedrow of Parrish, and he never looked back.
"I was pretty much lights out all day with a Track 912T (bowling ball)," McCleland said. "I got off to a good start, and I just stayed focused. I decided before I even got there that I was going to win."
McCleland's four-game qualifying pinfall was 944 as compared to 849 for Shedrow, while the others advancing to the match-play segment were Saul Insignares of Sarasota (836), Larry Barwick of Wauchula (815), Frank Notar of Wauchula (812) and Jeremy Cruz of Gibsonton (805).
Unlike the previous four Prove It Challenges, in which an average of three bowlers averaged 200+ in qualifying, there were nine entrants who did so this time. Although missing the cut to match play, Reggie Conn of Fort Myers (803), Mike Thompson of Sarasota (800) and Aaron Albritton of Sarasota (800) also were "par" shooters.
In the first match-play game, with 30 "bonus pins" going to each winner in the pins-carried-over format, McCleland routed Cruz 259-158, Barwick defeated Insignares 248-212, and Notar beat Shedrow 236-226.
The final game was a three-player shootout, with Barwick rolling 246, McCleland 242 and Notar 201. But when all was said and done, McCleland had a grand total of 1,475, as compared to 1,369 for Barwick and 1,279 for Notar.
The tournament was contested on a Kegel Kode Sport Series 43-foot lane conditioning pattern, and that was a factor in the higher-than-usual scoring.
"As for the higher scores, the pattern was a little more forgiving, and it opened up better than the previous patterns," said tournament director Chuck Souzer. "McCleland bowled great all day and made quality shots, and he made the pattern look easy in comparison to the others."
The sixth in the series of Prove It Challenges will take place on Sunday, Sept. 29, at the usual Sarasota Lanes venue.
To visit the Prove It Challenge Web site, click here.
Sarasota Lanes to conduct Good Old Days this weekend
On Friday through Monday (Aug. 30-Sept. 2), Sarasota Lanes will conduct its annual Good Old Days, featuring games of bowling, draft beer, hot dogs and sodas at 50 cents each until 9 p.m. on each of those days. For more information, contact the center at 955-7629.
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