Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Davidson wins 2012 Greater Cincinnati Match Game Championship

Left, Michael Davidson with Mike Eaton Jr USBC Director
Michael Davidson won the 2012 Greater Cincinnati Match Game Championship in Fairfield, Ohio at Northwest Lanes on Sunday, April 22nd. The grueling format was 6 Qualifying Games, cut to the top 32. 3 more games with the first 6 games carrying over. The field was then cut to the top 16 with a Double Elimination 1 game Match Play format.

The tournament was open to any High School or Collegiate Bowler and was a scratch format. After the first 6 games of qualifying, Michael was the tournament leader with a 1,270 pinfall. The 32nd spot for the first cut was a score of 984. "Michael was in great shape to make the top 16 with 3 more games to go. He just needed to keep making good shots like he had been all day."

For the next 3 games, bowlers were seeded based on their finish after the 1st 6 games. This made it more interesting as the top 5 bowlers were within 55 pins of the lead. Eric Sacks from Vandalia, who will be bowling for Florida State after graduation, was in 2nd place, out only 19 pins. He rolled a fine 279 in the 7th game to Michael's 222 and took the lead. Davidson finished with 190, 202 but was not quite enough to take over the top spot. However, he finished as the #2 Qualifier behind Sacks.

The field was now cut to the top 16 bowlers for the head to head single game double elimination match play finals. "All of these kids have now bowled 11-12 games (including practice), so it was extremely important to not get knocked out early. Otherwise, to come back and win through the losers bracket would be a serious grind."

Michael came out strong against college sophomore of Cincinnati with a 220-169 victory. In the 2nd game, Michael defeated Zach Scheinder from Kentucky 184-136. The 3rd match was a good one against Trent Knoop from Sidney. This match went back and forth but Michael prevailed with a 204-191 victory. The 4th round of match play was pretty tough with the lane pattern getting really ugly. Michael defeated Chaz Mathis 156-143. With the bowlers battling each other in the losers bracket, Davidson was now in the final match and the lone survivor in the winners bracket. He now had to wait for the other matches to finish.

Eric Sacks, who led the tournament after the 9 games, kept knocking the other players out 1 by one. The stage was now set for the final match. Sacks against Davidson. However, Sacks had to beat Michael 2 games for the title. "With Michael having bowled 15-16 games and Sacks having bowled 18-19 games, both of these kids were extremely exhausted. This kid is extremely talented, so do your best to end it the 1st game." Sacks had the early lead with a 3 bagger in the 4th through the 6th. He then opened the door by throwing a split in the 7th and 8th. By striking out in the 9th and 10th, Davidson would seal the victory. Michael rolled clutch strikes in the 9th and the 1st two balls in the 10th. He then rolled a 7 count to open the door for Sacks. By striking out in the 10th, Sacks would win by 1 pin. He came up a little short leaving a weak 7 pin. The match ended up 211-201.

1st place prize was a very nice $1,000 Scholarship and a trophy. By leading the tournament after the 1st 6 games, Michael also qualified for the 2012 Junior Gold Championships in Indianapolis in July and received a paid entry into the 2012 Junior Masters Tournament in Dayton in May. The USBC (United States Bowling Congress) SMART Program (Scholarship Management and Accounting Reports for Tenpins) offers millions of dollars in scholarship money to help young bowlers get a jump start on their dreams. More than $6 million in scholarship money is offered each season by bowling associations and certified tournaments and proprietors throughout the United States.

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