BEAT THE CHAMPS: Liz Johnson makes it three over Wes Malott
BY DALE BOWMAN For Sun-Times Media December 25, 2013 8:02PM
Liz Johnson rolls as Wes Malott waits his turn. | Jon Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 25, 2013 9:04PM
Liz Johnson appreciated setting the target scores for Beat the Champions for her third time.
She rolled a three-game 678 in setting the women’s targets for the 53rd BTC at Suburbanite Bowl in Westmont. That topped by four pins the 674 put up by Wes Malott for the men’s target.
That made it three times in a row that Johnson has beaten Malott in televised head-to-head competition. The last time was at the U.S. Open in the first “Battle of the Sexes.’’ The U.S. Open champions are invited to set the targets for BTC.
“I appreciate it more, the more times I have done it. Appreciate Beat the Champs for [being here] 53 years,’’ Johnson said. “Appreciation that the bowlers in the area and the association have a love of the sport. I love this sport and the fun of it.’’
She should have had fun. She opened with a pair of 237 games, while Malott scuffled with games of 192 and 203.
For the third game, Malott, making his first BTC appearance, went to a Storm Hy-Road Pearl bowling ball without any warmup or practice with it.
“Obviously, the other ones weren’t going to get it done,’’ he said. “If I missed right, it won’t hook. If I missed left, it overhooked. So I knew there was a little tube there. I knew that is where I needed to be.
“If I had a chance out there, it was going to be the ball.’’
The ball switch made all the difference. Malott opened the third game with three strikes and closed with eight for a 279. Johnson, meanwhile, rolled her low game of 204.
“It started carrying down, especially on the left lane,’’ Johnson said. “It got a little wet dry.’’
Both bowlers plainly understood the true nature of BTC as a charity bowling event. In the first 52 years that the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association and the Sun-Times co-sponsored BTC, 5,681,134 entries raised $2,776,374.70 for charity.
“As much as it was me vs. Liz or Liz vs. me, that isn’t why we are really here,’’ Malott said. “But, obviously, that is going to be there.
“I just wanted to put some pressure on her. It is a fun match between us.’’