News from the 2008 National Golden Ladies Classic

    02/12/08

    Column

    By Joe Lyou (Tenpin Slants)

    2007BowlExpoJoeLyou.jpgIt was reported here recently that USBC Hall of Famers Robin Romeo (Newhall, Calif.) and Jeanne Naccarato (Tacoma, Wash.) will be making their debut in the 2008 National Golden Ladies Classic (NGLC), to be held March 10-13 at the Orleans Hotel/Casino/Bowling Center in Las Vegas.

    The NGLC, or simply the Golden Ladies, was founded by Jeanette Robinson, also a USBC Hall of Famer, at the old Showboat Bowling Center in 1991. Since then, the tournament--open to women who are 50 and older--has not only grown in stature but it has gained international fame.

    The addition of Romeo and Naccarato can only add to that reputation. Together, they have 27 PWBA (Professional Women's Bowling Assn.) titles—17 for Romeo and 10 for Naccarato.

    Both are former PWBA Players of the Year—Romeo in 1989 and Naccarato in 1986. And for most of their 20-plus years on the PWBA Tour, they were roommates, so it's fitting that they will be making their debut together in the Golden Ladies.

    There's more good news. Tenpin Slants has just learned that still another USBC Hall of Famer, Vesma Grinfelds of San Francisco, will be competing for the first time in the NGLC, often referred to as "Jeanette's baby."

    Grinfelds, after retiring from the PWBA Tour with 10 titles, did not touch a bowling ball for more than eight years. Then, in May of 2006, I e-mailed Vesma and suggested that she come out of retirement and compete in the Golden Ladies. "It's such a fun tournament," I wrote. "Besides, Virginia (Norton, also a USBC Hall of Famer who is Vesma's closest friend) is bowling in it."

    This was the answer I got back from Grinfelds: "Don't tell anyone, I actually started to throw, roll (whatever) the ball again after eight years. I'm bowling in an adult-junior league with my son (who is totally into bowling).

    "After week 1, my reaction is: the lanes must be awfully easy; after not bowling so long, I can't be that good. (Author's note: A couple of weeks later, Grinfelds rolled a 300 game in the league.)

    "The best part was walking in with a single-ball bag and having bowling shoes that still fit, after opening the laces a little wider.

    "Hope you are laughing," she wrote. It is obvious Vesma hasn't lost her sense of humor.

    Norton failed in her attempt to persuade Grinfelds to bowl in the Golden Ladies last year. So Norton enlisted the aid of fellow Hall of Famer Pam Buckner, who just happens to be Ebonite's ace western regional sales rep.

    Buckner made a deal with Grinfelds. "If I drill up a couple of new balls for you, will you bowl in the Golden Ladies with us? Buckner asked Grinfelds, who finally gave in, but only after Norton convinced Vesma how much fun she would have.


    NGLC Update: Jeanette Robinson, the teaching pro at The Orleans, reports she has received 68 entries so far—"which is good for this time of the year. I'm looking for about 80," she said.

    The defending champion is Joan Reilly of Wilmington, N.C. Reilly was a surprise winner, defeating 2006 champion Char Hammel in the title match, 246-225.

    Florida's Shirley Levens, a three-time winner, is expected back after missing the past two years because of back and leg surgeries.

    Also expected to compete are bowlers from England and Scotland who make the annual journey "just for the fun and camaraderie," These adventurous women look forward to the Golden Ladies each year, even though they rarely cash.

    What puzzles me is, why do so many women who are eligible fail to enter the Golden Ladies? Like USBC Hall of Famers Dana Miller-Mackie and Cindy Coburn-Carroll. Both are former touring pros with multiple PWBA titles.

    Every cent of the $150 entry fee goes into the prize fund—PLUS there is added monies from The Orleans, tournament cosponsor Storm Products, and others. Last year, Storm donated $1,500 to the prize fund along with a new bowling ball for "most pins over average," after the 15-game qualifying round.

    There are many, many ways to cash in the Golden Ladies. In addition to the main prize fund, there is a Second-Chance Sweeper (for those not making the cut to the match play), a separate Super Senior event (for those 70 and up), and of course brackets and high game sidepots.

    Anyone wishing to reserve a spot in the Golden Ladies can call Jeanette Robinson at 1-888-365-7111, Ext. 6442. The original dates for the 2008 NGLC were March 3-6, but had to be changed to March 10-13 because of a conflict with the annual Las Vegas 500-mile race at the local motor speedway. "The NASCAR people grabbed up most of the rooms here," Jeanette explained, "so we had to move our tournament back one week."


    Subhead - Wendy Macpherson wins pro tournament in Japan


    I had an interesting conversation with Nick Papanos at the recent H&R Block Tournament of Champions at the new Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas. Nick is the justifiably proud husband of Wendy Macpherson, a four-time PWBA Player of the Year.

    Nick said that Wendy recently won a big tournament in Japan, where she competes on a regular basis as a member of the Japan Professional Bowlers Assn. "She's been doing great in Japan," Nick said.

    Nick added that Wendy plans to compete in West Coast Senior Tour events, "now that she's eligible."

    WCST tournaments are open to men from ages 45-59 and women 40-49. There's also a Super Seniors division for men 60-plus and women 50-plus.

    Macpherson is eligible because she just turned 40 on Jan. 28. "Wendy's going to bowl the WCST Ebonite All-Star Doubles (March 8-9 at Rancho Bowl in Santa Maria, Calif.)," Nick said. "She's going to bowl with Tennelle Milligan (former USBC Queens champion), because WCST members can bowl doubles with a 'junior' (or younger person)."

    According to WCST Tournament Director Dick Sanders, "The All-Star Doubles event is all filled up (with 48 teams), and if anyone wants to be put on the stand-by list, call the WCST office at 760-363-8141."

    By the way, Macpherson, who is a native of San Diego and now makes her home in the Vegas suburb of Henderson, has her own website. Click here to check out the website if you'd like to know more about Wendy and her brilliant career record.