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Eric Hatchett is the 2016 New Mexico Open champion


Twenty-two year-old Eric Hatchett of Nevada beat Darren Tang of San Francisco in an exciting, yet low-scoring finish at the 13th New Mexico Open at Tenpins & More in Rio Rancho, N.M., last weekend to win the title and the $10,500 top prize.

In the double-elimination finals, Hatchett (pictured above with tournament director Steve Mackie, left) showed experience beyond his years to come back after losing the previous semi-final round to Tang by 72 pins, evening the score at one loss apiece in the two-game total pins format.

A pair of 150s (150/158) is not exactly the stuff championships are made of, but Hatchett opened the final match with a rare four-bagger (there were only two in the sixteen championship round games) that momentarily overwhelmed Tang who struck only three times in the first nine frames of game one, before going off the sheet for 191.

Hatchett opened once but doubled late for 225 and a 34-pin lead. He kept that and added a few more on low spare counts by Tang to carry a 39-pin lead after four frames, extending that even more following a “Greek church” by Tang, who was at a loss for a solution to the tricky sport lane condition, ever moving further and further left on the approach.

With the title seemingly well in hand, Hatchett left a six split-out to put some doubt in his mind then in the tenth frame, went wide ekeing out the 8-pin from a 2-8-10. He carefully – and slowly – did the math, with getting one of the two leaving him ahead by at least a pin if Tang went out with a flourish.

2016NMOpenDarrenTangIn the end, Tang struck twice and spared for 188, but fell short by 14 pins, 393-379. Hatchett received $10,500, while Tang (right, with Steve Mackie) was consoled with $5,560, and family “bragging rights”, finishing just higher than his brother, Michael Tang, at last year’s event.

In earlier action, Jessy Bauer of Kansas eliminated Texan Joe Findling, 372-360, then lost to Tang’s closing four-bagger 403-400.

PBA regular Mike DeVaney of California went deep, losing a late match to finish sixth, while Stuart Williams of England caught bad breaks with a pair of losing 400’s to exit early in the 32-person elimination bracket finals.

Nathan Bohr of Austin, the 2013 champion here, got an unexpected surprise winning $1,250 for a 300 game in the last pre-tournament sweeper squad, put up by Flagstaff, Arizona bowling coach, John Wilson, while Benjamin Canfield of California also received $300 from Wilson for his first 300 bowled during qualifying of the main event.

In all, the tournament paid out a record $60,010, which totaled more than $71,900 after adding in sweepers, brackets, the Pro-Am and consolation prize funds.

A record-equaling 217 bowlers from a record 21 states registered for the tournament, including PBA national and regional champions, Team USA members as well as national and local scoring record-holders.

Five qualifying rounds over eight games were held on Friday and Saturday, August 19 and 20. The top 32 scorers advanced to bracket play on Sunday, August 21 from 7.45 am. The top four after double-elimination two-game total pinfall matches bowled for the title in the championship round.

The 14th New Mexico Open Bowling Championship will be held on August 18-20, 2017.

Photos courtesy of Gary Herron of the Rio Rancho Observer.

13th New Mexico Open Bowling Championship

Tenpins & More in Rio Rancho, N.M., USA (Aug. 17-21, 2016)

Championship Round:
1. Eric Hatchett, NV, $10,500
2. Darren Tang, CA, $5,500
3. Jessy Bauer, KS, $2,750
4. Joe Findling, TX $2,250

Playoff Results:
First Match: Bauer def. Findling, 372-360
Semifinal Match: Tang def. Bauer, 403-400
Championship: Hatchett def. Tang, 393-379

Other cashers:
5. Steve Weber, TX, $1,875
6. Mike DeVaney CA, $1,875
7. Dylan Burns, KS, $1,350
8. Martin Bedford, OK $1,350
9. Cody Vaughn, CO, $1,075
10. Ben Laughlin, AZ, $1,075
11. Rick Schafer, CO, $1,075
12. Russ Oviatt, AZ, $1,075
13. Nathan Bohr, TX, $825
14. Darrel Ratliff, NC, $825
15. Ed Smaglik, AZ, $825
16. A J Chapman, KS, $825

13th New Mexico Open Bowling Championship – Qualifying Results

Top 32 qualify for matchplay; top 70 cash

300 games (1) – Benjamin Canfield.

Herbert Bickel

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