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Forkel clinches spot in finals

May 3, 1997

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) _ Eric Forkel of Tucson clinched a berth in the stepladder finals of the American Bowling Congress Bud Light Masters Friday night when he rolled games of 287, 300 and 287 for a record-setting 874-699 victory over Teata Semiz of Wallington, N.J.

Forkel, a four-time professional champion, rolled 32 strikes in 34 attempts for the highest three-game series in the ABC’s 94-year tournament history. The previous record was 857 by Norm Duke in the 1989 Masters.

Also clinching a spot in Saturday’s finals was Ron Papp of Bordentown, N.J., who defeated Jason Queen of Decatur, Ill., 212-209 in a one-game rolloff after they tied at 646. Papp and Forkel, the last remaining undefeated players in the field of 450, still had to play each other to determine which would get the top seed on Saturday.

Semiz, bidding to become the oldest bowler ever to win a major national championship, rebounded to win a finals berth by defeating Brian Brazeau of Ocala, Fla., 717-640 in the losers’ bracket. Semiz, who turned 63 on April 16, defeated Aaron White of Cleveland, Tenn., 792-719 and then rolled a 300 game in eliminating Bryon Smith of Sutherlin, Ore., 791-617 earlier Friday to remain perfect until his loss to Forkel.

The other losers’ bracket survivor to lock a berth in Saturday’s finals was Queen, who held off Bobby Fleetwood of Milford, Conn., 659-657. Queen bowled Fleetwood later to decide the fifth stepladder finalist.

First prize in the 47th annual tournament is $50,000.

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