Bowling News USA - August 20, 2014 Record year continues for Nidiffer with victory at New Mexico Open; Storm's Jensen and Fagan finish top 5
by Steve Mackie | Tenpins & More @ Rio Rancho
A new champion, the tenth different winner in the tournament's eleven years, was crowned Sunday at Tenpins & More.
Craig Nidiffer from the Detroit area of Michigan, caught two early breaks in his match against top seed, Brett Wolfe of Phoenix to beat the 2010 runner-up, 276-237 on the newly-installed Qubica/AMF synthetic lanes.
Wolfe hit the pocket twelve times, striking seven, but leaving two stone-cold 8 pin leaves, a ringing 7 pin and another ice-cold 8 pin in the first six frames before getting a five-bagger, 9 to finish the game.
By then it was too late, as Nidiffer, encouraged by his good fortune (first frame brooklyn and nose-hit carry of the 6-10 to give him an opening four-bagger), fired a solid six straight strikes in frames six through eleven to close out the championship match and claim the $ 10,000 first prize.
“There were a lot of tournaments going on this weekend, but I felt this was the best one,” Nidiffer said in the Rio Rancho Observer story. “Coming out here, it’s good to get away from Michigan. Detroit’s now 15 feet under water and the rats are swimming and you’ve got kayaks going down the freeway. So figured, (I’d) come out to New Mexico — the weather’s beautiful out here, you’ve got a great tournament. I’ve enjoyed my time out here and very happy I decided to come out here.”
Wolfe was pleased he bowled so well in the final, after losing to Andrew Cain a few years ago with only 170. He received $ 5,500 as runner-up.
For Nidiffer, the win was seemingly meant to be. In the semi-final, after opening with a perfect five-bagger, he lost his way against Tyler Jensen, leaving two unconverted designer splits and making a scary four-count spare.
"I got lucky. I got really lucky", he told "Albuquerque Journal" reporter, Glen Rosales. Jensen, sensing victory, left and whiffed by a 10-pin in the ninth then needing to go off the sheet to force Nidiffer to strike, left another single pin to lose 195-204.
In earlier step-ladder matches, PBA champion, Mike Fagan of Hurst, Texas beat fellow Texan, Geoffrey Young of Keller 227-218, striking in three of the last four shots. Young, last year's runner-up to champion, Nathan Bohr, won $ 1,750 in fifth place.
Jensen then eliminated Fagan 246-224 in a match that also could have gone either way. Fagan received $ 2,000 for fourth place, while Jensen earned $2,750 after being defeated by Nidiffer.
The big mover on the last day was Bryanna Caldwell of Tucson, Arizona, who moved from 36th to sixth, before losing the position round match 209-212 to Fagan. She posted 960/4 in the morning's semi-final round then averaged 217 going 7-5 in match-play against the strongest finals field yet.
The tournament was record-breaker in many ways, attracting 217 bowlers from Australia, Latvia and 18 states, record side tournament entries of more than 430 and record prize-money of more than $ 73,000, including $ 54,465 in the Main Event.
Eric Forkel, who broke his back in 2000, was chosen by Mike Miller and Dana Miller-Mackie as the first recipient of the new "Dee Miller Memorial Courage Award" in honor of the Miller family trail-blazer who passed away in March.
NMO Stepladder Finals Results
|Championship||Nidiffer def. Wolfe||276-237|
|Match 3||Nidiffer def. Jensen||204-195|
|Match 2||Jensen def. Fagan||246-224|
|Match 1||Fagan def. Young||227-218|
To view complete 2014 New Mexico Open results go to: newmexicoopenresults
Photo | Gary Herron | Rio Rancho Observer
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