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Criss captures Greater Sebring Open

April 26, 1997

SEBRING, Fla. (AP) _ Tim Criss captured the second title of his career and the second in four weeks Saturday by defeating Steve Jaros 236-225 at the Professional Bowlers Association’s Greater Sebring Open.

Criss, who also became the first titlist to come from the fifth seed in 1997, defeating two unheralded pros and two of the hottest players on the tour en route to pocketing $18,000 and the first-place trophy. He also became the third player in as many weeks to capture his second title in 1997.

``This tournament was such a battle for me this week,″ Criss said. ``At one point Thursday night I was actually minus for the tournament; then I needed to strike out in the 10th frame during position round just to make the show, and I felt I was just fortunate to make the telecast.″

Criss opened the day against local favorite Darin Hays, throwing his first eight balls for strikes.

``The first match definitely game me the confidence to make it the rest of the way,″ the Bel Air, Md., native said. ``After those first eight frames, I knew if I rolled a good shot I had a chance to strike, and that’s all I could ask for.″

After the strong opening, Criss finished with a 266-201 victory.

Criss then beat Bob Belmont 225-192 before disposing of Walter Ray Williams Jr., the world’s top-ranked bowler, in the semifinals.

Williams, who led the match going into the seventh frame, was simply outstruck at the end as Criss won 201-196.

The title match brought on the tournament leader Jaros, who was competing in his fourth stepladder finals of the year and his second as the top seed. The Bollingbrook, Ill., resident was looking to snap a seven telecast losing streak.

In the end, it was Jaros’ open frame in the eighth that spelled his doom. Criss shot a clean game with no opens and won the title.

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