Rick Steelsmith of Wichita, Kan. outdueled top-seeded Brad Snell S
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) _ Rick Steelsmith of Wichita, Kan. outdueled top-seeded Brad Snell Saturday to win the American Bowling Congress Bud Light Masters Tournament.
Steelsmith, a Wichita State University senior, became the first amateur to win the title in the tournament’s 37-year history. He finished his match with Snell, of Des Plaines, Ill., with seven consecutive strikes to win 258-219.
″I’m just numb right now,″ Steelsmith said after winning the $43,500 first prize. ″I guess it will take a couple of days for this to settle in.″
Steelsmith, who will compete for the U.S. team in the world championships in Helsinki, Finland, next month, was supported by many college students in the crowd of 1,500 chanting ″Team USA.″
John Weltzien of McHenry, Ill. took third place. Mike Fairchild of Nicholasville, Ky., placed fourth and Tony Marrese of Cocoa, Fla. finished fifth.
Snell had an 11-pin lead after five frames in the finals, but could not match Steelsmith’s string of strikes.
″I just wanted to make perfect shots every time,″ Steelsmith said. ″I really don’t bowl against the people. I just bowl against the lanes and the pins.″
A spokesman for the event said that since Steelsmith is not a member of the Pro Bowlers’ Association he maintains his amateur status and would be able to collect the first prize.