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Thompson captures his second Prove It Challenge title; next tourney set July 27

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The 2014 earnings list for the Prove It Challenge scratch tournament series -- with Donny Bartlett of Sarasota ($1,740), John Thompson of Sarasota ($1,300) and Joe Heinke of Tampa ($730) 1-2-3 -- certainly reflects the titles won so far this year.

In the six monthly events conducted by tournament director Chuck Souzer in 2014, Bartlett has been to the winner's circle three times, while Thompson has won twice -- including a victory at AMF Gulf Gate Lanes last Sunday (June 22) -- and Heinke once.

The June competition boiled down to a two-man chase between Thompson and Bartlett, and when the dust had settled, Thompson emerged with a net pinfall of 1,871 as compared to 1,765 for Bartlett, who was seeking his third consecutive Prove It championship.

Thompson pocketed $500 for his latest victory, while Bartlett settled for the runner-up prize of $250, and the remainder of the cashers, in order, were James McCleland of Venice, Larry Barwick of Wauchula, Dave Tessman of Tampa, Joe Guardado of Fort Myers and Jesse Hawver of Sarasota.

After the five-game qualifying session, Thompson paced the 28-player field with a score of 1,120 that included a 267 game, while Bartlett was right behind with 1,100. Barwick was third-high qualifier at 1,067, while the other five-game scores were McCleland (1,046), Tessman (1,013), Hawver (967) and Guardado (966).

Actually, Guardado and Saul Insignares of Sarasota had identical pinfalls of 966 at the end of qualifying, and Guardado was able to advance by virtue of a 60-47 triumph in a ninth- and tenth-frame tiebreaker.

"The qualifying saw some of the highest scores that have been shot on any of our patterns," said Souzer, who utilized a 37-foot PBA Viper lane-conditioning pattern for the June event. High game was a 279 fired by Tessman to open the qualifying.

In the first round of match play -- in which each winner received 30 "bonus pins" -- McCleland routed Barwick 278-171, Tessman defeated Bartlett 194-167, and in a three-way match, Thompson rolled 212 as compared to 170 for Guardado and 162 for Hawver.

In the Round of 4, Thompson bested Barwick 254-181 and Bartlett strung eight consecutive strikes to trounce McCleland 268-198, and heading into the final game, Thompson had a net score of 1,646 to Bartlett's 1,565, meaning that Bartlett had to prevail by 52 pins in the finale to claim the title. And Thompson settled the issue when he outscored Bartlett by a 205-200 margin.

Souzer has announced a Sunday, July 27, date for the next Prove It tournament, which will also be conducted at AMF Gulf Gate, and he plans to put down a 50-foot Don Carter PBA pattern. As usual, entry fee will be $55, and check-in will be from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., with practice beginning at 1:15 p.m.

For complete tournament information -- including rules, past results and contact information -- you may visit the Prove It Challenge Web site by clicking here.

[You may subscribe to Bill Herald's Examiner.com bowling articles -- free of charge -- by clicking on "subscribe" near the top of the column, after which you will receive e-mail notification each time a new item is published.]

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