O’NEILL’S EXPERIENCE WINS IN ST. LOUIS
Hammer Pro Staff member and PBA champion Bill O’Neill used patience and experience to win the third annual Storm InsideBowling.com Open at Tropicana Lanes in St. Louis on April 28.
O’Neill was the top seed for the stepladder finals after eight games of qualifying and 16 match games. The field featured more than 200 bowlers representing 28 states. In a nail-biter that had observers on the edge of their seats, O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., beat Craig Nidiffer, from Trenton, Mich., 190-180 in the title match to win the tournament’s top prize of $8,000.
“When Craig missed the 10-pin, I knew that was my chance to put the match away,” said O’Neill. “Both of us made great shots in the tenth, but fortunately for me I had the lead going in so I was able to win.”
“The reason the scoring pace went down so much is because the lanes started playing very wet/dry,” he said. “Every time we got the ball in a little, it didn’t want to hook, but the moment we got it right, it hooked very early.”
O’Neill says he was fortunate to come out with the title.
“Honestly, I didn’t really make the right moves the last game,” he admitted. “But I was fortunate that Craig didn’t either, and the difference in the match was when he missed the 10 pin.”
Competitors and bowling fans have praised the staff of Insidebowling.com for running a memorable event, and O’Neill commented on how smooth the tournament ran.
“I thought the tournament was very well put together,” he said. “They had an incredible amount of entries which is a testament to what kind of tournament it was. The scoring pace is exactly what you would want in a competitive event. A 230 game became very good, and 190 didn’t kill you.”
The five-player stepladder finals began with Rob Gotchall of Lincoln, Neb., beating Hammer Staff player Adam Barta of Girard, Ohio, 223-208. Nidiffer then came in and beat Gotchall 250-196 in match two.
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