Jim LeHew fought through the loser’s bracket to win the 32nd annual Olympia Match Game Bowling Championship, beating defending champion Jimmy Parkhurst.
LeHew, 62, beat a friend and a teammate in the finals.
LeHew and Parkhurst bowl on the same team and they bowl a lot of doubles teams together.
“Parkhurst’s comments afterward was that LeHew was too comfortable bowling with him,” said Dick Taylor, the tournament director and a past champion. “That’s the thing about one game matches. Anybody can beat anybody.”
LeHew opened the tournament with wins against Dan Brathovd (224-193), Todd Brown (180-155), and past champion Mitch Vernon 213-168. After a 3-0 start, LeHew then lost to Tom Payne 270-183 to drop in the loser’s bracket.
But LeHew rallied and beat Creed Clement (222-186) and past champ Jerry Wilson (201-181). That setup a rematch with Payne in the semifinals, which LeHew won 191-186.
In the championship round, LeHew had to defeat Pankhurst twice.
Against Pankhurst, the defending champ and the tournament’s only three-time winner, LeHew put together two impressive games, winning 226-169 and 239-226 to capture first place and pocket the $500 first-place prize money.
“LeHew has been doing a lot of bowling,” Taylor said. “His game has really come together over the last five years.”
Competition started with 56 bowlers on Saturday and each contestant bowled nine games. The top 24 combined scores advanced to match play on Sunday.
It took an impressive nine-game qualifying score of 1,863 pins to advance, a 207 average to to make the match play finals.
After the first day, Todd Brown of Tumwater led the field with a nine-game total of 2,249 pins, a 249 average. He rolled a perfect 300 game.
He beat out two-time champion Frank DeRemer to earn the top seed for the double elimination match play finals.
Ten past champions qualified for the finals. Besides Parkhurst and DeRemer, Corey Hensley (2007), Mitch Vernon (2010), Dwayne Webb (1995), Justin Clement (2004), Jerry Wilson (1990), Rich Cook (1994, ’96), Denny Dawson (1983) and Mike O’Malley (1997).
Brown wasn’t the only one to bowl a perfect game. Brathovd also rolled a perfect game during qualifying.
Caleb Hathaway, one of two youth bowlers in the tournament, finished ninth and earned $205 in scholarship money. It was the fourth time Hathaway has placed in the tournament and now has earned $975 in scholarship money.
“Everything went pretty well,” Taylor said. “We were down a few entries, but it was a good tournament.”
Here are the final standings with the dates of past championships in parenthesis.
1. Jim LeHew, 2. Jimmy Pankhurst (2006, 09, 11), 3. Tom Payne, 4. Jerry Wilson (1990), 5. Michael Lewis, 6. Creed Clement, 7. Dwayne Webb (1995), 8. Todd Brown, 9. Caleb Hathaway, 10. Justin Clement (2004), 11. Mitch Vernon (2010), 12. Frank DeRemer (2002, 05), 13. Dan Howard, 14. Corey Hensley (2007), 15. Dan Brathovd, 16. Mike O’Malley Jr. (1997), 17. Collin Dickerman, 18. Rich Cook (1994, ’96), 19. Mike Edwards, 20. Steve Boesel, 21. John Makay, 22. Denney Dawson (1982), 23. Vance Lombardi, 24. James Turner.