It was an amazing turnaround for bowler Steve Heinzman of Parker, Ariz.
Heinzman, in winning his first WCST title, defeated heralded Kevin Gannon, 235-203, in the championship match to claim the $625 top prize.
Just one month ago, Heinzman finished last among the 48-player field during qualifying at Laughlin, Nev., in the WCST’s final event of the year. He averaged 178.3
But Heinzman bounced back with a vengeance Saturday to overcome a 40-player field in the WCST’s first tournament of the year.
After reaching the finals by qualifying eighth (219 average), Heinzman won all four of his matches in the finals. He edged San Juan Capistrano’s Mike Rausch in the semifinals, 248-245.
Although it was a stunning victory by Heinzman, he has shown that he is capable of such a feat. He finished third last March in a WCST event in Yorba Linda, Calif., averaging 240.3 in the finals.
Gannon, a Lakewood resident and the WCST’s all-time money winner, won $500 for his second-place finish behind Heinzman.
Rausch was third and earned $400 and Darrell Storkson of Everett, Wash., was fourth and won $300. Storkson was defeated by Gannon, 235-161, in the semifinals.
Mike Rick ($280) of Redlands placed fifth, Craig Kisro ($265) of Granada Hills was sixth and Bill Stempke ($250) of Reseda took seventh. Kisro was the top qualifier with a 243.6 average.
Gary Coultas of Huntington Beach ($220), who finished ninth, rolled a 299 during the qualifying round for the high game in the tournament.
One notable absence at Montclair was Don Blatchford of Santa Monica, who was the tour’s Super Senior bowler of the year for the past two years.
The tournament was held under a one-day format for bowlers 60 and up. The next WCST tournament will be held Feb. 15 at Del Rosa Lanes in San Bernardino.