Pennsylvania bowler rolls 47 consecutive strikes


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    TommyGollick1179.jpgTommy Gollick of Oberlin, Pa., set a United States Bowling Congress national record by rolling 47 consecutive strikes during league play at the Red Crown Bowling Center in Harrisburg, Pa., on May 11, pending the submission of certification paperwork.

    Gollick didn't exactly get off to a great start during his Tuesday night scratch league with a 4-10 split and open first frame. But the split did not foretell what would turn out to be a record-setting evening.

    After knocking down the 4 pin for a 9-count in the opening frame, Gollick struck out for a 279 game and then proceeded to throw three consecutive 300 games to finish the four-game set with a total pinfall of 1,179.

    "I am still in total shock as to rolling 47 strikes in a row," Gollick, a 32-year-old left-hander, said. "I just can't believe that I could carry that many strikes without something standing."

    The 47 consecutive strikes will officially set the record for most consecutive strikes in one session once certification of the league is complete. Gollick's feat came during the first week of the summer league, which has been certified in the past, and Don Kirkpatrick, the proprietor of Red Crown Bowling, said he expects to submit the paperwork soon.

    Jeanne Naccarato of Tacoma, Wash., set the record for consecutive strikes with 40 during the 1986 Women's Central State Tournament. Naccarato finished doubles with seven strikes then had games of 300-300-264 in singles. The 1,179 ranks second for a four-game series; Tom Jordan of Union, N.J., set the mark at 1,198 in 1989.

    Kirkpatrick also happened to be on the same pair as Gollick. Kirkpatrick said the singles league in which he and Gollick bowl has talented bowlers and a bowler on the next pair also had a 300 that night.

    But Kirkpatrick said Gollick's concentration throughout the evening was unbelievable and that he was surprised the pins kept falling.

    "He hit high, he hit low and he hit right in the pocket," Kirkpatrick said. "That's what is probably most amazing is that someone can carry that many times."

    Gollick admits he was lucky to catch a few breaks on some high hits, as well as a few light hits.

    "Every time the lanes went into a little transition, I was able to get a reader shot, with carry, to tell me to make a small adjustment," he said. "It is kind of funny, a few frames into the third game I asked Don what the house record was. When he told me (it was 878), I winked at him and gave him a wry smile as I felt that my ball roll was good enough that I might have a shot at breaking the record."

    Gollick is not exactly a newcomer to honor scores. He had 22 800 series and 38 perfect games before the 1,179, which included the 879 series he posted during the first three games. Gollick also has a certified 800 series on a Sport Bowling pattern.

    "Getting that crystal pin really meant a lot, as shooting 800 on a Sport shot in a tournament on three pairs of lanes is much more demanding than on a standard league pattern," Gollick said.

    Gollick started bowling at age 5. His mom started a league for the bank where she worked and it didn't take long for him to get hooked. But the Saturday morning program was not nearly enough to satisfy his appetite.

    "The owner of the center gave me 10 pins and an old ball that I used in my great-grandmother's driveway," Gollick said. "I was out there almost every day - rolling the ball, knocking the pins down, and running to catch the ball before it rolled over the hill. I would set the pins up and keep bowling for hours."

    He now bowls in two or three winter leagues on Sport conditions, and in the summer he bowls two leagues - one is a Sport league and the other on a house pattern in which he threw his 1,179 series.

    Gollick, who works part-time in the pro shop at Red Crown Bowling Center, has bowled in PBA regional events since 2001. He has won two PBA regional titles, the second one coming this past April in Rockaway, N.J., where he topped a 108-player field.

    "It took me eight years to finally win in PBA competition, and it was an amazing weekend," Gollick said. "Following that up four tournaments later with the win in Rockaway really gave me a lot of confidence in my decision-making on the lanes. I am constantly learning, and trying to be a better bowler."

    He says the 1,179 achievement is more of a celebration for the people who have supported him throughout the years, such as his wife, Kelly, and his mom for starting that league 38 years ago.

    "I have accomplished goals that I have set for myself, like winning on the PBA regional tour, and rolling 300s in PBA competition," Gollick said. "But this feat isn't something that one sets out to do, so this is why I feel it is a blessing."