When the world’s top professional bowlers ages 50 and over return to Mooresville for the PBA50 Miller High Life Classic presented by Colombia 300, one the game’s greats will serve in a dual role when competition begins May 6 at George Pappas’ Victory Lanes.
That bowler would be host proprietor and PBA Hall of Famer Pappas himself who will also be competing among a field of more than 140 players in the fourth PBA50 (formerly Senior Tour) Tour stop of the season.
Pappas is a 10-time PBA Tour titlist, among them the 1979 Firestone Tournament of Champions, and a two-time PBA50 Tour titlist, who was a regular in stepladder finals telecasts of ABC television’s Pro Bowlers Tour on Saturdays in the 1970s and early ‘80s.
“Looking back I’d have to say that two of my fondest memories of bowling on Tour were winning the Tournament of Champions in ’79 wire-to-wire and holding the match play record of 22-2 in the original tour match play format which still stands today,” Pappas said.
In winning the ’79 Tournament of Champions Pappas captured the biggest PBA crown of his career by leading start to finish and finally defeating fellow Hall of Famer Dick Ritger in the championship match 224-195.
After retiring from Tour competition Pappas became a proprietor in the Charlotte area and has hosted PBA50 (Senior Tour) events at his center for the last several years. While he will be competing in the Miller High Life Classic he’ll have one eye on the tournament and center operation.
“I’ll be able to devote my full attention to bowling because I have a great staff and we enjoy working with PBA to put on a great event,” said Pappas. “The staff loves the tournament as well as the fans and the community. We’re looking forward to it.”
As for how well he expects to do in the tournament, Pappas is confident.
“It feels like I’m bowling as well as I ever have and it seems like I’m bowling as much as I ever have, so I won’t have any excuses,” he said. “I’m hoping for the best.”
The Miller High Life Classic will also mark the return of Joe Scarborough to PBA50 competition after a one-tournament absence. The Charlotte native made PBA history when he became the first player to bowl a 900 series (three 300 games in a row) on April 21 during the first qualifying round of the Sun Bowl In The Villages PBA50 Tour event at Spanish Springs Lanes in The Villages, Fla.
Scarborough’s perfect start in qualifying set PBA50 Tour records for consecutive 300 games (the previous record was two by Norb Wetzel of Fond du Lac, Wis., in Albany, N.Y., in 1998 and by Rohn Morton of Portland, Ore., in Tucson, Ariz., in 2005), and highest three-game series. He also tied the record for most 300s by an individual in a PBA50 Tour tournament, shared by Ron Mohr of Eagle River, Alaska (Columbus, Ohio, 2010) and Bob Kelly of Dayton, Ohio (Mooresville, N.C., 2010).
Competition for the Miller High Life Classic begins with qualifying rounds on Monday, May 6 and Tuesday, May 7 after which the top 40 players will advance to match play on Wednesday, May 8. Semifinal and championship matches will get underway at 7:30 p.m. ET on May 8. Practice and pro-ams will be conducted on May 5. Admission for the tournament includes a $20 all-access pass for adults and $10 for children. All admission proceeds will be donated to the Mooresville Muscular Dystrophy Association. Additional admission and pro-am entry information may be obtained by calling George Pappas’ Victory Lanes at (704) 663-5300.
The Miller High Life Classic will be covered start to finish by pba’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame. Click on the Xtra Frame logo on the pba.com homepage for additional information.
PBA50 MILLER HIGH LIFE SENIOR MOORESVILLE CLASSIC SCHEDULE
George Pappas’ Victory Lanes, Mooresville, N.C.
(All times Eastern)
Sunday, May 5
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Practice sessions
2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m. - Pro-Am squads
Monday, May 6
11 a.m. - A Squad qualifying
5 p.m. - B Squad qualifying
(8 games of qualifying)
Tuesday, May 7
11 a.m. – B Squad qualifying
5 p.m. - A Squad qualifying
Cut to top 40
Wednesday, May 8
11 a.m. - Match play rounds
7:30 p.m. - Round of 8
Semifinal match immediately following
Championship match immediately following