BREWER, Maine — Both Chris Hollett and Matt Cormier went into this year’s World Team Candlepin Tournament feeling some rust on their games, so Monday’s individual knockout bowling tourney offered them a chance to shake it off.
They did a lot more than that as both advanced all the way through the opening round, into the knockout elimination round, and on to the championship, where Hollett’s consistency won out against Cormier’s momentum.
Or maybe Hollett, a Halifax, Nova Scotia, native who is a three-time individual champion, had just a little bit more gas in the tank in what both described as a daylong war of attrition.
“In this last match, I was tired,” admitted Cormier, whose exhausted expression attested to his condition.
Hollett won the $2,500 top prize by bowling a 123 in the 10-frame string to Cormier’s 106, his lowest score of the day at Bangor-Brewer Bowling Lanes. Cormier took home $1,500.
“It’s sudden death and when you lose you’re gone,” Hollett said. “As you get into the higher rounds and the money keeps going up, it gets more stressful, but I was throwing good all day. My ball was all over the front one most of the time. It felt good.”
Neither finalist has spent much time on the lanes this year. This was the seventh time all year the 30-year-old Hollett has bowled. It was the fourth outing for the 28-year-old Cormier.
“It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it?” Hollett said with a laugh. “I’ve been bowling since I was 2 or 3 years old, but I don’t bowl leagues anymore. I’ve been at this game a long time, and I needed to take some time for myself and get away.”
The salesman for Bell Canada, who last won the individual title in 2002, is sponsored individually by Nuforth Paving, but is still a member of defending and four-time team champion MacLaughlin Truck and Trailer of Halifax.
Between his family life and two jobs back in Moncton, New Brunswick, Cormier simply had no time to bowl.
“I have two kids at home and two jobs, so I don’t have time to bowl at all,” said the order selector for Atlantic Wholesaler and cable seller. “I just wanted to get some practice in. I bowled in a tournament three weeks ago and averaged a 137 though.”
Hollett was on a roll all day as he averaged 130 in the five-string qualifying round for a total of 650 before scoring 127 in the round of 32, 145 in the round of 16, 140 in the quarterfinals, and 149 in the semis.
“I just kept the same pace, kept my composure, and kept going straight down the middle of the alley and hoping for the best,” said Hollett, who has competed at Worlds 10 times. “Feeling comfortable plays a big part, but making the tough shots is the big thing.”
Cormier averaged 132.8 en route to a 664 total in the qualifier before rolling 130, 143, 122, and 150.
“You’ve just got to hit the headpin. Be on the pin all the time and pick up your 10s. That’s about it,” said Cormier, who has made the knockout 10 times in his 12 years at Worlds.
Chris McGrady of Moncton, New Brunswick, had the highest five-string total of the qualifier with a 701 to earn a $100 bonus, but was eliminated in the round of 32. Matt Harnett from Halifax had the best string of the day at 169 to earn the other $100 bonus.
The other semifinalists were Mike Morgan of Lynn, Mass., who had a 106; and Matt Harnett, who bowled a 129.
Team play starts at 9 a.m. today with the first of three days of preliminaries. A qualifying round starts Friday at 2:30 p.m. Saturday features quarterfinals at 9 a.m., semifinals, and then the final at 2 p.m.