Erie Times-News

Open Bowling Tournament

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The Times-News Open bowling tournament is the only area scratch event of it's kind. The objective of the event is to identify the top local bowler in the area and is open to touring professionals as long as they meet the entry qualifications.

The event began in 1964 and has been sponsored by the Times-News since its inception. There have been a number of formats over the years but there has always been a qualifying round and a match play final round over multiple weekends.

The first event featured a point system for the finals where points were earned for winning a match and also for every 10 pins over 200. Matches were 2 games and there were a total of 48 games in the event. The next year the format was comprised of a 12 game qualifier, and 8 game semi-final qualifier followed by 12 2-game matches for a total of 44 games. This format was conducted with 96 entrants and ran through 1978. In 1979 the semi-final qualifier was dropped and matches were all a single game. The former format, 44 games, was brought back for a final time in 1981.

During 1982 and 83 there was a 12-game qualifier, a 6 game semi-final qualifier followed by 12 single game matches for a total of 30 games.

From the inception until 1982 no individual ever claimed the title after capturing the qualifying crown. This was referred to the "qualifying jinx" and was finally broken when Ron Palombi, Jr. won his first title in 1983 at Greengarden.

The qualifier was reduced to 10 games in 1984 followed by a 12-game final until 1989 when the final field was expanded to 16 finalists. The 5-5, 8-8 format remained until the 50th TN Open in 2013. As a throwback to the tournament's roots, a semi-final round was reinstituted. Also, a game was added to the finals so the format was 5-5-6-8-9 for a total of 33 games. That format was used through 2015 and, for 2016, the finals were changed back to 16 games (8-8) for a total of 32 games.

The field was limited to 96 entries and generally filled rather quickly in the early years. Except for 1964 (84 entries) there were 96 entries every year until 1979 when the field was cut back to 72. The event would experience it first non-full field event in 1982 when there were only 71 entries. Entries dropped dramatically, to 39 in 1983 and then climbed back only to 54 in 1984. Slowly the tournament recovered and first cracked 100 (102) in 1989 and, until the 50th, the record amount of entries was in 1996 with 167. The event has averaged 122 entries over the last 20 years and 126 over the past 10. The 50th tournament brought exciting and new interest at the field totaled 224 bowlers.

There are three 6-time champions, Ron Palombi, Jr. winning in 1983-91-94-95-99-2007, Mike Shady, with titles in  (2002-04,06,13 and 14) and Lee Eighmy, Jr. (1998-2000-08-10-12 and 15) while Pat Malone (1979-81-90-2005-11) is a 5-time champion with titles in 5 decades.

Of all the records it is likely that Pat Malone's string of consecutive appearances in the finals, 16 (1979-94) might just stand the test of time. Pat has made it to the finals in 30 of the 41 events he has participated in which includes 17 top 3 finishes and 24 in the top 5.

We hope you enjoy not only this website but the event that showcased the best of the bowling talent in Erie County. The event is generally conducted in January.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Times-News Open is to be the most prestigious bowling tournament in the region. To accomplish the the tournament will be conducted with the highest level of professionalism and efficiency over a number of days and sites so as to challenge all of the bowler's skills and abilities and at the same time afford them an atmosphere of bowling at a very high level with the goal being to identify the best bowler in Erie County.

David O. Hewett, Tournament Director