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Davis Wins Three Matches For Title And $60,000 Payoff

August 17, 1996

AKRON, Ohio. (AP) _ For 17 years, Dave Davis ranked in the top 50 money winners on the Professional Bowlers Association tour but never won $60,000 in one year.

On Saturday, in just 40 minutes and with only 47 shots, Davis earned $60,000 by winning three matches in the finals of the $325,000 American Bowling Congress-PBA Senior Masters at Stonehedge Place.

Davis, of West Palm Beach, Fla., defeated Avery LeBlanc 213-189, Mike Samardzija 258-200 and, in the finals, John Hatz 236-182.

After sewing up his second straight ABC-PBA Senior Masters title with a strike in the ninth frame, Davis hugged his longtime friend and coach Fred Borden.

``If it had not been for Fred’s encouragement and coaching, I probably would have hung it up last year,″ Davis said.

Davis, hobbled by a bum right sliding leg that has not completely healed, won each match by stringing strikes.

Davis, 54, had five strikes in a row in beating LeBlanc. In the semifinal game, Davis struck from the second to seventh frames to beat Samardzija. And in the championship match against Hatz, Davis put together a five-bagger starting in the fifth frame.

``When I found out that the lanes were changing, I just tried to throw hard,″ said Davis, an ABC and PBA hall of famer who won 18 times on the national tour and three times on the senior tour.

``Akron has been good to me,″ Davis said. ``I won two Firestone Tournament of Champions tournaments here and now I won the ABC Senior Masters.″

In a 33-year PBA career, Davis has won $820,000, $98,000 of which has come in the two ABC Senior Masters.

``When I started bowling, I never dreamed I could win $60,000 in a season, much less in a day. This is great.″

Actually, Davis won $67,000 Saturday, since he picked up another $7,000 in incentive money.

Hatz, the top-seeded player and the only man in the original field of 397 to go unbeaten through the double-elimination part of the tournament, said, ``I have absolutely no complaints. Things went my way all week. I won a couple of matches that I should have lost,″ said Hatz, who pocketed $31,000.

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

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