01/16/08 — Goldsboro native takes top prize at third annual King Pin Scratch Open

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Goldsboro native takes top prize at third annual King Pin Scratch Open

By Kenneth Fine
Published in Sports on January 16, 2008 1:47 PM

Dave Douglass wasn't trying to think about the money.

"I was just more focused on getting the ball out there and making good shots," he said.

But the Goldsboro native admits it's hard not to entertain the idea of $5,000 -- particularly when the only thing standing between you and it is a fist full of pins at the end of a slick hardwood lane.

Douglass won the 3rd Annual King Pin Scratch Open at Boulevard Lanes Sunday, beating out hundreds who tried Saturday and early Sunday to qualify for the 16-man field and those who made the bracketed main event -- including runner-up Brian Dennis.

"You're always a little bit nervous," he said after taking home enough money to fund a trip to Hawaii. "But it felt real good."

Tournament organizer Clarke Hill said he was happy to see a local take home the prize this year among the largest field he has seen since the tournament began in 2006.

After all, the event brought in talent from across the country -- even a few pros who simply chose not venture to the PBA's Medford, Oregon stop.

"Every bowler that comes and plays in this tournament, I would say about 70 percent of them have bowled on the tour or does bowl on tour," Hill said. "You have to have the mindset that you can win or you shouldn't be here."

Leon Lamm liked his chances Saturday, despite bowling himself "onto the bubble" during qualifying.

The self-described "veteran" has posted 50 perfect games and plays regional tour events when he's not busy running one of his pro shops.

"You would think I must love this game," he said. "I mean, I work in one bowling alley and when I take time off work, I'm in another one."

And while he didn't leave town $5,000 richer, he did walk away with a fourth-place finish and $900. Not bad for someone who said he came, really, just to catch up with "old friends."

It was, after all, still a bowling alley -- the perfect place to throw back a few domestic longnecks and enjoy a smoke over a few laughs and the latest football game.

"I thrive on the competition of it, but, you know when you get to my age, you start to come out to see your friends, too," Lamm said. "You don't find that in every place or with everything you do."

Jeff Himes was glad to see that his friend had made the drive.

"There's a lot of camaraderie out (on the tour)," he said, patting Lamm on the back. "You see most of the same guys a lot. You get to catch up and hang out."

And while the King Pin Open is not a Denny's PBA event, Himes said it still offered the pros a chance to do the other thing they love -- compete at a high level.

"You know, league bowling is fun, but when you strive to get better and better at something, you need to test yourself against the best bowlers," said Himes, who finished in fifth place and won $600. "It's more rewarding when you're going up against the best out there."

And for Douglass, the added reward was enough money to fund his "what are you going to do now?"

"Disney World," he said, laughing. "No, just kidding."