Cumberland Times-News

February 25, 2014

Learning from the Masters

Joe Mullenax
Cumberland Times-News

— Four 300 games highlighted area scoring this week, with CP Sines and Derek Yates shooting 300 at Rainbow and Troy Cubbage and Larry Gable rolling 300 at White Oaks. Apparently, Larry took my article on home court advantage to heart.

CP Sines had the highest set of the week with 805 at Rainbow. He started with the first 21 strikes in that series. Chad Gable had the next high set with 786 at White Oaks. Joe Mullenax had 780, Mike Brobst had 779 and Troy Cubbage had 760, with all three sets coming at White Oaks. (At least for one week, people will stop asking me if I’ve retired from bowling). Mike Brobst also had the high Sport series for the week with 711 on “Deadman’s Curve.”

Becky Torrington had the highest ladies set of the year with 746 at White Oaks. Autumn Gable came in at 699 and Vicki Coughlin rolled 628.

The weather limited the junior leagues, but Wesley Mason rolled a nice 616 at The Bowler. Mariah Snyder shot 613 and Carter Nave had 611, both at The Bowler as well.

The USBC Masters was held this week and there were a number of valuable lessons that could be learned. Master’s qualifying consists of 15 games spread out over three days. A field of over 400 bowlers was cut down to 64 bowlers after those 15 games. For those that that think power and youth are the name of the game, 54 year-old Walter Ray Williams qualified third and 66 year-old Johnny Petraglia qualified in 58th place.

Two-handed power player Osku Palermaa missed the cut in 82nd place as did lefty two-hander AJ Rice. This is not meant to take anything away from those great bowlers. Instead, the lesson is that bowling is still a sport where accuracy and experience can sometimes overcome youth and power.

On the actual telecast there was another important lesson. Everyone practices throwing strikes and we are all looking for a new piece of equipment to help throw more strikes, but Jason Belmonte repeated as Master’s champ due to spare shooting. In his opening match, Belmonte converted back-to-back splits including the 3-4-6-7-9-10. These two split conversions allowed him to move on to meet Tom Smallwood. In game 2, Smallwood missed two spares, handing the match to Belmonte. Belmonte earned $50,000 for his win. The loser of the first match only received $8,000, making $42,000 a pretty good reason to focus on the importance of spare shooting.

Joe Mullenax is the bowling columnist for the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at