When it comes to the sport of bowling, we often times think of the new age of equipment and technology taking over what was once a sport based on skill alone. Many people will argue that bowling has become watered down and, with the advancement of technology, bowling no longer requires skill to be successful. However, this past weekend at the NDBowling.com Kickoff Classic, Mike Morris turned back the clock and proved that once again accuracy and solid spare shooting can still be used to be successful in our sport.
The tournament kicked off on Saturday at Buffalo Lanes in Jamestown, ND. A stacked field of 35 bowlers bowled 8 games of qualifying to determine the top 10 who would advance to Sunday’s match play round. Matt Smallin lead the way on Saturday as the top qualifier which earned him a free Ebonite Gamebreaker 2 thanks to Ebonite’s sponsorship of NDBowlTV. Smallin was joined in the top 10 by Jon Breckel, Clayton Mohr, Joel Galle, Mike Morris, Dave Schick, Brad Nordick, Chris Charles, Ron Morlock, and Ryan Selk. How good was this field? The first 4 out of the cut were Eric Kempel, Blake Wallstrum, Jack Nelson, and Barry Zimmerman.
The Saturday qualifying round also included a 300 game by Patrick Kinzler.
Sunday’s match play round would consist of round robin matches followed by a position round and a top 4 stepladder finals. The match play portion was dominated by Matt Smallin and Clayton Mohr. Smallin and Mohr ran out in front of the field by more than 100 pins. They would eventually meet up in the position round with Smallin claiming the top seed in the finals by a mere 4 pins.
The last two spots in the finals were not so pre-determined. Entering the position round, 4 bowlers had a shot at the final two spots. Mike Morris defeated Jon Breckel in position round to claim the #3 spot and Joel Galle defeated Brad Nordick and had enough pins to move ahead of Jon Breckel for the #4 spot. For Breckel, this wasn’t the first time he fell out of the finals in the position round. Last season, Breckel left a pocket 7-10 in the 10th frame of the position round match and missed the stepladder finals by just a few pins.
Mike Morris emerged from the final four to claim his first NDBowling.com Kickoff Classic Title. The 4 time NDBowling.com Major winner survived matches against some of the best bowlers in the region to claim the $1040 top prize.
The stepladder finals turned out to be one of the most exciting shows on NDBowlTV. You can watch the final matches on NDBowlTV along with complete day 2 coverage by clicking HERE. One match included a 9th and 10th frame roll off and the championship match went down to the final shot.
Morris proved this past weekend that success in our sport does not rely on high speed and revs. On several occasions this weekend, Morris shot clean games in the 190’s. As we mentioned on the show, Morris is one of the most solid spare shooters that I have ever seen and it allowed him to avoid the tournament killing game to remain in contention. As Morris mentioned in his post-game interview, “this is a win for the old guys”.
I would like to thank everyone who made the trip to Jamestown to compete in this event. A special thanks goes out to Casey Dodgson at Buffalo Lanes for raising $2000 in prize money which created a very good payout for the bowlers. I hope everyone who competed and watched along on NDBowlTV will keep this tournament on their radar for next season. For the past two years, this tournament has created a very good field to go along with a tournament condition that is fair to all.
Once again, congratulations to the 2015 NDBowling.com Kickoff Classic Champion, Mike Morris! We will see you all in Jamestown once again for the NDBPA State Scratch Doubles Tournament in two weeks. Thank you for visiting NDBowling.com!
Complete results will be updated later this week.