Dorin-Ballard, Honeychurch Dominated 2001 PWBA Spring/Summer Tour
08/17/2001 - PWBA
ROCKFORD, ILL. - Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and Cara Honeychurch formed their own little "winner's club"; Tish Johnson joined the PWBA Million-Dollar Club and became pro bowling's new "Ironwoman"; and a group of up-and-coming stars served notice they intend to claim their rightful due during the 12-week PWBA Spring/Summer Tour that concluded July 26.
Dorin-Ballard, N. Richland Hills, Texas, and Australia's Honeychurch ended the swing as the No. 1 and 2 ranked players on tour, winning eight of 12 titles between them. Of Dorin-Ballard's five victories, three were consecutive, making her one of just five women to reach that plateau. She led in victories (5), total earnings ($79,870), ranking (No. 1, with 9,515 competition points), average (215.17), number of games bowled (473) and TV appearances (10) and shared the lead in number of cashes (12, tied with Wendy Macpherson, Henderson, Nev., and Anne Marie Duggan, Edmond, Okla.). With five titles already, including the 2001 WIBC Queens, Dorin-Ballard has an excellent chance of surpassing Patty Costello's record for most pro titles won by a woman in a single season (7).
Honeychurch, PWBA Rookie of the Year in 2000, showed she would contend for Player of the Year honors in 2001. Her three victories, including the Sport Bowling Challenge, doubled her career total to six. The 29-year-old lefty was runner-up to Dorin-Ballard in earnings ($58,750), ranking (8,770 points), average (214.43), number of games bowled (453), number of TV appearances (9) and number of cashes (11, tied with five other bowlers). She also finished second four times, the most of anyone during the swing.
Dorin-Ballard and Honeychurch also monopolized the Bowling Writers Association of America "Bowler of the Month" award, with Dorin-Ballard capping honors in May and June and Honeychurch snatching them in July.
Johnson posted the new PWBA mark of 201 consecutive pro tournaments at the Ft. Worth Classic in June after winning career title No. 24 in Mesa, Ariz., at the Wheelchair Awareness Classic. The 39-year-old veteran from Northridge, Calif., became bowling's third woman millionaire when she pulled down a $3,000 check for her fourth-place finish at the Lady Ebonite Kentucky Classic. Her total career earnings currently stand at $1,004,565.
Other Spring/Summer Tour champions included Michele Feldman, Skaneateles, N.Y., who won the richest tournament, the $100,000 Miller High Life Open; Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., who triumphed in the St. Clair Classic; and Leanne Barrette, Pleasanton, Calif., who picked up her 22nd title in the Lady Ebonite Kentucky Classic. Johnson and Barrette both won their first titles since 1999.
Marianne DiRupo, Succasunna, N.J., whose top finish was a second at the Greater Memphis Open, was the only woman to roll more than one 300 game She fired two, while Jeanne Naccarato, Tacoma, Wash.; Dede Davidson, Las Vegas; Debbie McMullen, Denver; Anne Marie Duggan, Edmond, Okla.; Kim Adler, Cocoa, Fla.; Michelle Mullen, Dearborn, Mich.; Carol Gianotti-Block, Perth, Australia; and Tish Johnson delivered one each on the new Sport Bowling conditions. Adler also became the first person-male or female-to fire an 800 three-game series on a Sport Bowling pattern (823, Wheelchair Awareness Classic).
Among the Tour's "young lions," Kendra Gaines, Sebring, Fla., made five TV appearances and cashed 11 times. Brenda Norman, Indianapolis, came on strong in the second half of the swing and finished second to Honeychurch in the Sport Bowling Challenge, while rookies Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., Amy Dillon, Miami; and Keli Rapp, Fayetteville, N.Y., gave hints of what the old guard could expect in the months to come. Kulick, in particular, is a player to watch; she made three TV shows in her first 12 weeks as a pro and finished second to Dorin-Ballard in the Queens.
Two players demonstrated "true grit" by coming back from devastating setbacks. Nikki Gianulias, Vallejo, Calif., rediscovered her form following a back injury that kept her on the sidelines in 2000 and made her first top 24 match play session since 1999. Stacy Rider, La Habra, Calif., finished third in the Greater San Diego Open in her first and only national tournament this year; she struggled through 2000 in the wake of her fiancÚ's death.
While 2000 Player of the Year Macpherson failed to win a title, she cashed in every event and stands fourth in player rankings behind Dorin-Ballard, Honeychurch and Barrette. Macpherson is sixth in 2001 earnings with $30,790 and third in average with 209.71. The second woman to join the PWBA Million Dollar Club narrowed the gap between herself and bowling's first woman millionaire, Aleta Sill of Dearborn, Mich., in career earnings; the two currently stand at $1,066,499 (Sill) and $1,051,585 (Macpherson).
Sill's pioneer status as the first woman pro bowler to top the million-dollar mark and her impressive resume convinced the Detroit 300 civic organizers this summer to name her to Detroit's Dream Team of the best 10 athletes to come from the city in its 300-year history.
The PWBA amended its rules to allow limited amateur participation in its national events, and Travelodge Hotels Inc. agreed to become a major sponsor of the organization in 2002 following its initial sponsorship of a $50,000 bonus for a televised perfect game this year.
Carolyn Dorin-Ballard Catches The Eye Of U.S. National Media
08/17/2001 - PWBA
ROCKFORD, ILL. - Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, the No. 1 professional woman bowler in the U.S., was profiled within a week's time recently in two widely read U.S. publications. The New Jersey native, who lives with husband Del Ballard Jr. in N. Richland Hills, Texas, first appeared as one of Tom Clark's "Sports People" in the July 31, 2001 issue of USA TODAY newspaper. Clark examined Dorin-Ballard's on-lane performance for the first half of the year, which included five victories in 12 tournaments, and her involvement with "The Carolyn Collection" of bowling togs marketed by Ebonite International.
The following week, Dorin-Ballard was featured in a full-color story in the August 14, 2001 NATIONAL ENQUIRER. Dorin-Ballard had told a national TV audience on ESPN2 in July that her good luck during the PWBA's Spring/Summer Tour might be attributable to the ENQUIRER'S promotional "Lucky Blue Dot." An ENQUIRER executive heard the broadcast and had Dorin-Ballard interviewed and photographed during the Southern Virginia Open. "Ever since I've had the Blue Dot with me this year, my bowling has been absolutely overwhelming!" she confessed in the story. (Dorin-Ballard finished second in the Virginia tournament.)
USA TODAY has a daily circulation of 2.2 - 2.6 million people, and the weekly NATIONAL ENQUIRER claims a circulation of 2.76 million.
In addition to her Tour-leading five victories, Dorin-Ballard either led or shared the lead in all other PWBA statistical categories for the first 12 events of 2000: total earnings ($79,870), ranking (No. 1, with 9,515 competition points), average (215.17), and number of cashes (12, tied with Wendy Macpherson, Henderson, Nev., and Anne Marie Duggan, Edmond, Okla.). Three of her victories came in a row, making her the fifth woman bowler ever to win three consecutive pro titles. Dorin-Ballard also set a PWBA record for most consecutive rounds led by an individual (eight) and is on pace to post a new mark for number of victories by a professional woman bowler in a single season (the current record is seven, set by Patty Costello in 1976). She has 15 career titles to date and career earnings of $737,839.
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