Pros are ready to roll as GBT begins
When it's all said and done for the 48 entries, the top prize will be 13,000.
By PAUL TRGOVAC
BOARDMAN -- Action will begin at noon today in the GBT Boardman Challenge at Camelot Lanes.
This is the fifth stop of eight on the fall portion of the GBT (Generations Bowling Tour), which is in its initial season of operation.
The bowlers will all bowl eight games today, and eight more Monday at noon, before the field is cut to the top 16 bowlers, who advance to match play starting Tuesday.
Eight matches will be bowled Tuesday and Wednesday, starting at noon each day, before the step-ladder finals are competed Wednesday starting at 6 p.m.
The GBT is a tournament that features bowlers aged 50 and over. The tournament is competed in two divisions, 50-59, and 60 and over. For this tournament, 10 of the bowlers who make the match play will come from the 50-59 division and six from the 60-and-over. The two division winners then bowl a one-game match for the overall tournament championship, and the 13,000 prize.
Two of the top players in the field this week include David Ozio and Gary Dickinson. Ozio, who won the top prize last week in Toledo, has been a champion on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour (PBA) and along with Mark Roth is one of the most recognized faces.
Dickinson, is also a former PBA champion, both on the regular and senior tours and has been in the finals already this GBT season.
"I am very happy with the format of the two divisions," said Dickinson. "The regular [PBA] Senior Tour usually paid a couple of extra spots to the Classic (over 60) bowlers but here each week it is like two tournaments in one. It is tough to compete with guys like Ozio."
& quot;This is one step above what the PBA does with their Senior events," added Ozio. Format preference
When asked about the format in this event compared to the one now being bowled on the PBA tour, Ozio said, "I really hate the format they are using on the PBA tour now. It does not reward the guys who bowl well all week. Too many times the guy who averaged 245 in qualifying has one lane where he does not carry and the guy who averaged 211 beats him and he is out of the tournament. With the qualifying and round-robin match play you get rewarded for performance, even if you don't win every game."
The GBT is a "second chance" for bowlers.
"Some of our best bowlers are guys who had regular jobs that were too good to leave for the money we were bowling for on the tour," said Dickinson.
Still there are only 48 bowlers entered this week at Boardman, after almost 100 were in the field in Toledo. One of the factors could be that after four weeks in the Michigan and Toledo area the tour has moved here, and will go to the East Coast for the rest of the fall season.
"This is a bad time of year for pro shop owners and bowling center owners to leave their business and come out and bowl," said Dickinson.
Pick and choose
"A lot of the guys only come out for one or two events at a time because they don't have the time or can't get away from their job," added Ozio. "Plus it's a financial obligation to come out here.
"The numbers we are drawing right now is right where the PBA was when they started the Senior Tour. Steve [Sanders] is very happy with it right now, and as they understand from some of the mistakes they made, and are modifying it for the better."
In the field this week are two area bowlers, Bruce Boyd of Warren, in the 50-59 division, and Bill Bahny of Liberty in the over 60 division. One other bowler with a local tie is Dick Gran of Hartville. His uncle and aunt used to own Gran Lanes on Mahoning Avenue which became A-Plus Family Bowl.