01/13/09 — Vanderhoef wins King Pin Scratch Open

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Vanderhoef wins King Pin Scratch Open

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on January 13, 2009 1:46 PM

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Matt Sander sends a ball down the alley during the 2009 King Pin Scratch Open at the AMF Boulevard Lanes in Goldsboro on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009.

Some days, everything just falls into place.

Lee Vanderhoef capped a great Sunday by claiming the fourth annual King Pin Scratch Open contested at AMF Boulevard Lanes.

Vanderhoef, the No. 3 ranked player in the Southeast Region, bested Dave Bleggi 194-168 in the final match and claimed the top prize of $5,000.

"I just tried to put a few good shots together, and not let things get away from me," said Vanderhoef. "It was a long day, and it's mentally very draining to bowl so many games."

The South Carolina native took advantage of an early mistake by Bleggi, who left the first two frames open in the final match. Vanderhoef came through with back-to-back spares, then extended his advantage in the third frame with the match's first strike.

"It was pretty tough at the end, just trying not to mess anything up," said Vanderhoef. "If you let one ball get away from you, it can get ugly in a hurry."

Back-to-back strikes in the seventh and eighth frames sealed the win for the tall right-hander.

"I knew that stamina would be an issue, bowling against so many top guys," said Bleggi. "I have been hitting the gym and playing racket ball to build up my strength. I played in this event last year, and when I reached the quarterfinals I ran out of gas."

The road to the final match began with qualifying that took place on Saturday and concluded Sunday morning. The top 16 qualifiers were then seeded in a bracket where they played the best-of-three in head-to-head competition.

Vanderhoef, the No. 9 seed, took out Morris Clegg in the opening round of the bracket then dispatched second-seeded Mike Lynch. A hard fought win over fellow South Carolinian Terry Decker put Vanderhoef into the finals.

Bleggi knocked off the bracket's top seed, SÃ(c)ance Hayman in the quarterfinals, and upended Michael Wall in the semifinals. Bleggi won $2,000.

Vanderhoef, a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan, spent much of the afternoon scrambling between his assigned lane and the corner television where football had brought a group of fans together.

"It was a pretty good day," Vanderhoef said with a smile. "The Eagles beat the Giants, and I was able to win, so I'll take it."

Vanderhoef added the Kingpin Scratch Open to an already impressive resume that includes 11 Southeast Regional tour wins.

"I bowl in about 45 tournaments a year including my PBA events," he said. "I am somewhere in a tournament just about every weekend."

Players came from as far away as New York to take part in this year's event. A total of 150 bowlers registered and participated in the qualifying round.