By Fran Piraino
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - There are a couple of new names atop the leaderboard at the USBC Women's Championships as Young's Welding 1 of Chanute, Kan., vaulted into first place in Ruby Team, and Estelle Dixon and Maude Chattam of Calhoun, Ga., took the lead in Sapphire Doubles this week.
Connie Turner, the captain of Young's Welding 1, made her 25th tournament appearance memorable by helping her team into first place with a 2,982 total Wednesday. Strike Force 2 of Anchorage, Alaska, previously held the lead in Ruby Team with 2,858.
"This is just crazy," Turner said. "It's just unreal. You can't imagine. We don't come here because we think we're going to win money. We come for fun."
Young's Welding 1 scorched the lanes for scratch games of 792, 909 and 903 at the Oncenter Convention Center. An additional 126 pins of handicap per game helped the group assume the lead. Ruby Team is for teams with a combined average of 750-899. Handicap is 100 percent of 900.
Cindi Major led Young's Welding 1 by firing a team-high, 231, game en route to a 551 series. Anne Kluin added a 539 set and was followed by Linda Schoenhofer (511), Joan Newman (506) and Turner (497). All five bowlers are right-handers.
Newman is the team newcomer this year as Major, Kluin, Schoenhofer and Turner have been tournament teammates for a several years. Newman's husband, Tony, is the proprietor of the team's home lanes, Bowl Mor.
Schoenhofer, who is a controller at Young's Welding, was eager to snap a photo of the leaderboard to show her co-workers the company's name in first place.
"It really hasn't sunk in," said Schoenhofer, who bowled anchor. "We all bowled over our averages. Normally, not all five of us do that. It's something you only dream about."
In Sapphire Doubles, Chattam and Dixon, who are first cousins, grabbed the top spot with a 1,095 total Sunday. Doris Marcinkus and Shelia Pfeifer of Waukegan, Ill., previously held the lead with 1,092.
The right-handed Dixon rolled a season-high, 491, scratch series, featuring a 170 game, while the left-handed Chattam had a 457 for a 948 scratch total. An additional 49 pins of handicap per game helped the pair into the lead.
"I'm shocked by this," Dixon said. "I didn't know where we were in the standings when we left."
Although the duo bowls on different sides of the lane, they were in sync at the USBC Women's Championships. Dixon bowled a whopping 113 pins over her 126 average, while Chattam bowled 82 pins over her 125 average.
"Team event was lousy for me," Dixon said. "So in doubles, I just gave it my best shot. I didn't do anything different. I just tried to make my spares."
Dixon, 64, and Chattam, 71, both started bowling in the late 1990s. They have been teammates ever since and bowl together in the Monday Night League at Calhoun Bowling Center.
"It's very special to do this with Maude," Dixon said. "She's like a sister to me."
Sponsors for the 2011 USBC Women's Championships sponsors include Turning Stone Resort and Casino, official brackets sponsor, Humana, official registration sponsor, Miller Lite and Molson Canadian, official beer sponsors. Supporting sponsors include Storm Bowling Products, Nationwide Insurance, The Oncenter, Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau, Caz Limo & Tours, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, US Steltronic, official scoring system, and Brunswick, official lane provider.