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Eilenberger rolls to title

Chuck Eilenberger enjoys his win.

Medford bowler holds off Carlson in final

Just minutes before the championship match of the Budweiser Grand Finals, Medford bowler Chuck Eilenberger couldn't help but fidget as he warmed up on lane No. 1.

Three lanes to his right, Medford's Jimmy Carlson was knocking down pins at an alarming rate. In fact, Carlson was one strike from a perfect game and a berth in the finals as Eilenberger's heart rate continued to increase.

Carlson, 21, left the three and six pins standing in the final frame after 11 straight strikes, but still cruised to a 298-237 semifinal win over Brian Tinsley and into the title match against Eilenberger.

But as hot as Carlson was against Tinsley, he found the magic was gone in the championship match against Eilenberger, who claimed the crown with a 204-171 win.

The lanes dried out and I kept inching my way left, said Carlson. ` I couldn't find (the groove) until it was too late.

Carlson said missing the perfect game on his final ball of the semifinals didn't affect him in the final.

It would have been nice to get the 300, but I felt I had a good chance to win in the finals after shooting a 298, said Carlson. I thought I had a chance to shoot between 270 and 290 and win.

Eilenberger, 51, who took the first-day lead Saturday with a score of plus 371, finished 16 more games on Sunday with a score of plus 1,048. The scores are based on pins over 200 for each game, plus a bonus of 30 points for each match win.

Tinsley finished at plus 1,038, Carlson third at 1,005, Greg Hawley of Central Point was fourth at 950 and Dave Solomon of Roseburg was fifth at 918.

In Sunday's stepladder finals, Solomon defeated Hawley 253-223; Carlson downed Solomon 276-246; and Carlson topped Tinsley 298-237 prior to the final.

Jimmy and I went 1-2 in the Klamath Falls tournament last October, said Eilenberger. He took it to me. But today was my day. When I don't do so well, I have to tell myself my day will be coming.

He is one of the toughest young kid bowlers we have around here. There are several of them.

In the second frame of the title game, Carlson left the 3-6-10 on his first shot and finished with an open frame. Then in the seventh, he left a big four split (4-6-7-10) and couldn't convert.

Meanwhile, Eilenberger made strikes in the seventh and eighth frames and nailed split in the ninth to take control.

That was the key to the match right there, said Eilenberger. He got a bad break in the seventh when he got the big four split and I took advantage.

Eilenberger earned $3,000 for the win, more then tripling his earnings for the year in Southern Oregon All-Stars competition. Carlson won $1,600 and Tinsley $1,400.

I think we need to thank (Medford Lanes owner) Roy Rider for getting a tournament like this together, said Eilenberger. You don't see many amateur tournaments that pay like his. He doesn't get the credit he deserves for going out and getting the sponsors to do this.

Eilenberger also thanked his wife, Karen, for her support.

She's right there behind me all the way, said Eilenberger. I know she was more nervous than I was.

She's a bowler with a 170 average herself. She knows what's going on. She has gotten me to calm down out there, and that helps. I used to get a lot more excited than this.

TOP 24 FINISHERS -- 1, Chuck Eilenberger, Medford, plus 1,048; 2, Brian Tinsley, Klamath Falls, plus 1,038; 3, Jimmy Carlson, Medford, plus 1,005; 4, Greg Hawley, Central Point, plus 950; 5, Dave Solomon, Roseburg, plus 918; 6, Bill Brickey, plus 803; 7, Blaise Bedolla, plus 792; 8, Jason Bieghler, plus 692; 9, Jason McCleary, plus 668; 10, Ed Lee, plus 599; 11, Ron Hubbard, plus 579; 12, Ric Donnelly, plus 546; 13, Steve Mead, plus 542; 14, Greg Newtson, plus 396; 15, Tracey Gunn, 383; 16, Ed McWilliams, plus 361; 17, Bart Worrell, plus 340; 18, Kevin Croucher, plus 336; 19, Jim Brockbank, plus 289; 20, Alf Foshaug, plus 262; 21, Ralph Jennings, plus 232; 22, Greg Nichols, minus 147; 23, Steve Stults minus 368; 24, Wynn Malikowski, minus 744.

Eilenberger rolls to title