Gene Speenburgh prefers finesse over power in his bowling game, but he had to go to his “B” game Sunday at Olympic Lanes.
The 50-year-old Hudson regional pro moved outside, threw the ball firmer than usual and fired a 267 finale to win the Northern Bowlers Association’s Holiday Classic by 14 pins over Troy school district teacher Mike Neumann.
Speenburgh finished with a five-game total of 1,262 and earned $830 to beat a 55-player field in the men’s division. Neumann, who produced an 806 triple in his first three games, ended up with a 1,248 total and took home $440.
Albany’s Danielle Manuli captured her first tournament victory in the 12-player women’s division with a 1,035 and earned $350, followed by Patti O’Connor (1,014, $200).
“After the first game, I knew I was playing the lanes wrong,” said Speenburgh, who picked up his third career NBA victory to go along with a Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” title in the scratch/handicap event earlier this season. “I was playing inside at about the 15th board, but I left two splits, and decided to move outside and throw the ball firmer. I had to force myself to throw the ball firmer, because I’m more of a finesse bowler. On this condition, the guys who throw the ball harder had an advantage.”
Speenburgh, who used a Marvel Pearl bowling ball, said his experience helped him make the quick adjustment.
“I bowl all over the place, whether it’s in Utica, where I just recently cashed, or in the NEBA events in New England,” he said. “I also bowl in all the NBAs and the Huck Finns. I’m bowling all the time. You have to make quick moves. Not only did I move more outside and throw it harder, but I also moved up a half-step on the approach, so I could get the ball farther down the lane and get some length.”
Neumann continued his strong bowling this year with his first NBA runner-up performance. He won a Huck Finn tournament earlier in the fall.
“I bowled well. What can you do?” he said after watching Speenburgh slip past him in the final. “I just had that one game where I couldn’t carry [a 206 in the fourth game]. Otherwise, I bowled very well. I’m happy with the way I bowled.”
Rounding out the 12 cashers in the men’s division were Joe Mazuryk (1,214, $320), Mike Drexel (1,204, $230), Brian LeClair (1,159, $180). Steve Wagoner (1,159, $150), Nunzi Manuli (1,154, $130), Craig Schoonmaker (1,147, $110), Jim Geiger (1,138, $90), Russ Hunter (1,127, $80), Lee Aiezza (1,127, $70) and Bob Faragon (1,124, $60).
In the women’s division, the scoring was much lower. Manuli, 29, who has been married to area standout Nunzi Manuli for four years, made a ball switch from her Victory Road to a Marvel to get more reaction in the back part of the lane.
“I feel very good. This is my first tournament win,” she said. “Now, it’s time for my husband to win. I’m sure the guys will start teasing him now.”
Jenean Bailey (1,012, $125) and Marissa Martinek (998, $75) were the other cashers in the women’s division.
Cashers — Gene Speenburgh 1,262, $830; Mike Neumann 1,248, $440; Joe Mazuryk 1,214, $320; Mike Drexel 1,204, $230; Brian LeClair 1,159, $180; Steve Wagoner 1,159, $150; Nunzi Manuli 1,154, $130; Craig Schoonmaker 1,147, $110; Jim Geiger 1,138, $90; Russ Hunter 1,127, $70; Lee Aiezza 1,127, $70; Bob Faragon 1,124, $60.
Other top bowlers — Ryan Sickler 1,114, Craig Taylor 1,112, Dan Furman 1,108, Connor LeClair 1,106, Steve Ferraro 1,089, Dustin Paupst 1,085, Tom Earl 1,085, R.J. Martinez 1,078, Tom Yadanza 1,074, Mike Hartmann 1,072, Jim Thomas 1,069, Ryan Galli 1,062, Tyler Senecal 1,056, Phil Drumm 1,054, Richard Wark 1,049, Bill Nolan 1,018, John Riozzi 1,017, Dan Ahl 1,010, Ron Gardner 992, Joe O’Toole 991, Al Anderson Jr. 988, Mark James 979, Ed Gumm 978, Will Coons 975, Mike Pierce 959, Scott Rogers 955, Mike DeGenero Jr. 942, Brian French 939, Matt Fazzone 937, Rich Strath 92, Bill Miglianti 922, Nick Galusha 920, Ed Moran 915, Bill Cornell 913, Nick Miseno 913, Sherm Bowman 910.
Cashers — Danielle Manuli 1,035, $350; Patti O’Connor 1,014, $200; Jenean Bailey 1,012, $125; Marissa Martinek 988, $75.
Other bowlers — Kate Messemer 976, Jessca DeVellis 944, Jessica Aiezza 912, Robin Fredenburgh 89, Kayla Patnode 802, Stephanie Malette 769, Suzie Neumann no score, Francesca Brown no score.