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Hatz Earns Top Seed For Finals

August 16, 1996

AKRON, Ohio. (AP) _ John Hatz defeated Mike Samardzija 658-588 Friday night to grab the top seed for the finals of the $325,000 American Bowling Congress-PBA Senior Masters at Stonehedge Place.

Hatz, 55, of Golden, Colo., will be making his first TV appearance Saturday, and will need to win only one match to collect the $60,000 winner’s check. Even finishing second would be worth $31,000, which is $2,380 more than he has won in his entire PBA career.

``There’s a new rule in the PBA: Let the little guy win,″ said the 5-foot-7, 137-pound Hatz, who throws a 15-pound ball.

``My game is simple.″ he said. ``I don’t throw a big strike ball, but I seldom miss spares and beat myself.″

Hatz, the father of five, said he failed to carry out the 10-pin on 40 strike attempts during the four-day event, ``but I never missed once″ in converting the spare.

Hatz, whose best previous finish was sixth at Denver, admitted ``you have to be lucky to go unbeaten. I know I had two matches given to me when my opponents opened in the 10th frame of the last game.″

Also scheduled to appear on the telecast Saturday were defending champion Dave Davis (third), Avery LeBlanc (fourth) and Frank Bellinder.

The Masters champion automatically qualifies for the $325,000 Choice Hotels Classic next March in Florida.

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