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Milt Northrop’s Bowling: Tournament of Champions comes down to the wire

Seven bowlers are tied for the 16th and final berth in the Greater Buffalo Bowlers Tour’s Tournament of Champions on May 8 at Brad Angelo Lanes in Lockport. The tight competition means several slots in the field for the T of C will be up for grabs at the Tour’s sixth and final stop on Sunday at Island Lanes.

Pete Zmozynski, one of five winners so far on the new local tour, leads the point race. Nate Johnson, who won the most recent tournament two weeks ago, is second.

Bowlers must compete in at least three of the six tour stops to be eligible for the Tournament of Champions, which currently has a prize pool of $1,940 that will increase after the Island Lanes stop.

Besides Zmozynski, Dave Guindon, Steve Dorobiala, Sam Capizzi Jr. and Johnson have been winners so far.

Kristina Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda is the only woman in the top 16 in tour points, but she will miss the Island Lanes stop because she is entered, along with Liz Johnson, in the first tournament of the season on the 2016 Professional Women’s Bowlers Tour, at The Orleans in Las Vegas. Qualifying for the PWBA Las Vegas Open is underway.

It’s tournament time locally. The City Open and Women’s Championships have another week to run at Broadway Sports Center. The 74th annual Tonawandas USBC City Tournament Association championships got under way Tuesday at Manor II Lanes in Amherst. The 53rd annual George A Obenauer Masters will begin on May 10 at AMF Airport Lanes in Cheektowaga.

BTC update

The first of the Beat the Champ events taped 10 days ago at Manor II Lanes in Amherst will be shown Saturday (WBBZ-TV, 4 p.m) with the replay at 11 p.m. Sunday.

Carl Kinyon of Lockport came out as the champion after the three Beat the Champ shows at Lucky Lanes in Fredonia. His first opponent will be Jeff Walsh, 43, of Cheektowaga.

Waiting in the wings are veteran Mike Hanes, 61, of Wheatfield and Matt Zasowski, 40, of Tonawanda. Zasowski has been a two-time winner on Beat the Champ this season.

Hanes had the distinction of reigning on Beat the Champ for 28 years. He was the last “Champ” on final version of the show on Ch. 4 in 1988. Although unchallenged, technically he reigned over the intervening years before the current version of the television bowling show resumed this season.

Each month, the final show on Beat the Champ is a special edition. The finale in Fredonia was the Southern Tier High School Challenge. Maddie Jensen, 17, of Orchard Park won all three matches in the Challenge. She defeated 13-year-old left-hander Nathan Piney of Cuba, 17-year-old Steven Krystofiak of Brocton, 248-203, and Parker Flis, 13, of West Seneca, 162-158.

A mother-daughter motif is the April special show from Manor II.

Zarcone leads state

Mike Zarcone, who will enter the Greater Buffalo USBC Hall of Fame in November, took over the lead in scratch All-Events in the 92nd New York State Open Championships at AMF Pin-O-Rama Lanes in Utica. The state tournament has two more weekends to run,

Zarcone shot a 300-812 in the team event and a 763 last Sunday to take over the lead with 2,294. Mike Vick, a left-hander from Rochester, who also shot a 300, had taken the lead briefly with 2,216. First-week leader Jim Zimmerman of Syracuse dropped to third with 2,214. Zarcone’s scratch score is good for third in handicap All-Events.

Meczynski’s 4 of Buffalo is third in scratch team standings with 3,339. El Paso Delay of Rochester leads with 3,547.

John Meczynski of Buffalo and Andrew Rettig of Buffalo stand second in scratch doubles with 1,461. Zarcone and Ron Sutton are fourth at 1,456. Stacy is tied for fifth with 767 in scratch singles.

In the state women’s tournament in Rochester, Selk Insurance of Buffalo is second with 2,803, behind Towne Rock N Roll of Schenectady/Scotia with 2,850. Edge Bowlers of Buffalo is fourth at 2,693.

Pin chasers

• Ryan Ciminelli’s second place in the PBA Xtra Frame Storm Open in Carpentersville, Ill., this week left him a seven-point lead over EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., in the race for the overall Xtra Frame PBA Tour points crown and a $10,000 bonus. Ciminelli picked up 19 points to raise his total to 44. Tackett earned 25 points as the winner in Carpentersville, for a 37-point total. Tommy Jones is a distant third with 19 points.

Ciminelli and John Szczerbinski will be opponents when the GEICO New York City WTT KingPins face the Shipyard Brewing Co. Portland (Maine) Lumberbacks in one of two semifinal matches to be aired Sunday (1 p.m., ESPN) in PBA League team matches. The championship match for the Elias Cup will be May 8, same time, same station. The matches were taped in Portland, Maine, last month.

• The PWBA Las Vegas Open is taking place now in Nevada, but the stepladder finals won’t be bowled until May 26 when they will be taped the week of the USBC Queens Tournament at The Orleans in Las Vegas for showing on the CBS Sports Network on June 7. There will be two more PWBA Tour stops in California between Las Vegas and the Queens.

• The U.S. doubles teams of Stefanie Johnson/Shannon Pluhowsky (3,541 pins) and Tommy Jones and Chris Via (3,532) won gold medals in the PABCON matches in Puebla, Mexico, this week.