Richest purse and lowest score in bowling history

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

I’m currently in the middle of my league’s bowling season. Right now, I’m carrying a 199 average. That’s one pin below the goal I set back in August.

I’ve had a few games this year where I’ve rolled some splits that have prevented me from attaining that 200 goal. It was reassuring this weekend to know that I’m not alone in struggling when it comes to picking up those splits.

Professional bowler Tom Daugherty set a record during the PBA’s Tournament of Champions televised on ABC this past weekend.

Daugherty’s television debut was a disaster. The 35-year-old Floridian left seven difficult—if not unmakeable—splits in rolling the lowest score in a nationally televised game in PBA history. Daugherty converted two pins after leaving the 4-6-7-10 split in the 10th frame to shoot an even 100, erasing the previous low-score record of 129 bowled by Steve Jaros in Lake Zurich, Ill., in 1992.

“I destroyed Jaros’ record,” Daugherty grinned. “I would have been more upset if I’d shot 260 and lost. I really wasn’t nervous. I just threw the wrong ball and made some bad shots. But I still had the most fun I’ve ever had in my life this week, including today. I’d rather shoot 100 today than earlier in the week.”

Daugherty finished third in the tournament and took home $50,000. While he was busy rolling his record-breaking 100, his opponent, Mika Koivuniemi, missed a perfect game by one pin. He threw 11 strikes in a row, and then on his 12th ball he had a nice pocket hit that left a wobbly 10 pin.

After rolling a 299 game against Daugherty, in the semifinal match, Koivuniemi threw another 10 strikes on 12 tries against Tom Smallwood to become the first international player ever to win the PBA’s signature tournament. He earned $250,000 for his first-place finish.

The first prize and the $1 million total prize fund were the richest in bowling history.

There’s the real difference between the pros and the amateurs. Daugherty’s bad day at the lanes still netted him $500 a pin. When I have a bad night, all I get is a headache.

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