BEAT THE CHAMPS: Liz Johnson ready to roll the target scores
BY DALE BOWMAN For Sun-Times Media December 20, 2013 8:45PM
12-18-07 Beat the Champs bowling pro Liz Johnson at Orland Lanes in Orland Park Tuesday morning. photo by Jen Lachat/Sun-Times
Updated: December 21, 2013 9:59PM
Liz Johnson feels no pressure bowling on television with Wes Malott.
In part, because she is on a winning streak against him. She beat him twice before on televised bowling events, including the first ‘‘Battle of the Sexes’’ at the U.S. Open this summer.
“I am sure he wants to give me the better of it,’’ she said.
“I need to put to rest her beating me on TV, but mainly we want to have fun,’’ Malott said.
That should add a little something when the pair set the target scores for the 53rd Beat the Champions at Suburbanite Bowl in Westmont. It will be the traditional Christmas broadcast (11 a.m. CSN).
As reigning U.S. champs, Johnson and Malott earned the right to roll the targets.
‘‘Both of us understand, it is a tradition in Chicago for league bowlers,’’ Johnson said.
Contest week for league bowlers in the BTC was earlier this month. Both the men’s and women’s champions win a new car from the Chicagoland Ford Dealers.
In the first 52 years the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association and the Sun-Times cosponsored BTC, the 5,681,134 entries have raised $2,776,374.70 for charity.
In recent years, there are added charity angles, including ‘‘Charity Strikes.’’ For each strike in the fifth and 10th frames, Miller High Life donates $100 to the charity of the bowler’s choice.
For an animal lover like Johnson that was an easy choice. Her charity of choice was City of Buffalo Animal Shelter.
But setting target scores for the third time — a 702 in her in 1996 when she was rookie of the year and a 714 in 2007 — gives Johnson some experience.
‘‘We will try to have fun and enjoy it,’’ she said.
And the three-game, hourlong broadcast should be fun.
The right-hander had a good run in the Professional Women’s Bowling Association with 12 titles. After the PWBA folded, she became the first women to qualify for a PBA Tour event, to win a PBA regional event and to reach the title match of a PBA Tour event, finishing second in the PBA Banquet Open. And she has three U.S. Open titles: 1996, 2007 and 2013.