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Forkel clinches top qualifying spot

May 3, 1997

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) _ Eric Forkel of Tucson, Ariz., clinched the top berth in the stepladder finals of the American Bowling Congress Bud Light Masters Friday night with match victories over Teata Semiz and Ron Papp.

Forkel rolled games of 287, 300 and 287 for a record-setting 874-699 victory over Semiz, of Wallington, N.J., and then defeated Papp, of Bordentown, N.J., 693-659.

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

Papp also clinched a spot in the finals by beating Jason Queen of Decatur, Ill., 212-209 in a one-game rolloff after they tied at 646. Semiz, bidding at age 63 to become the oldest bowler ever to win a major national championship, also rebounded to win a finals berth by defeating Brian Brazeau of Ocala, Fla., 717-640 in the losers’ bracket. Semiz 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 survivors to lock up berth in Saturday’s finals were Queen and Bobby Fleetwood. Queen held off Fleetwood, of Milford, Conn. 659-657 and Fleetwood then came back to beat Brazeau 657-639 for the fifth stepladder position.

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

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