Art Trask couldn't have picked a better time to bowl 275.
With $18,000 on the line, a national television audience watching and Earl Anthony as his opponent, Trask reeled off nine straight strikes to shut off Anthony before bowling's only millionaire could get started and won the Fair Lanes Open today at Woodlawn Bowling Lanes.
"I had been looking forward to going against Earl for a long time," said Trask, who started today as the fifth of five seeds. "I guess it's not the easiest way to do it. I'd rather be No. 1, but I got lined up real good and was bowling with confidence."
Trask, 34, won four straight matches in the single-elimination format. Anthony, who automatically earned a spot in the final as the top seed, had to wait and watch Trask win three preliminary games.
"That's the trouble with our format," said Anthony. "You can bowl good all week, and then lose it all in one game." Anthony has 42 tour victories, two this season.
In eight of 11 Saturdays, the top-seeded bowler has lost in front of the television cameras.
Trask started his way to the final with a 228-179 defeat of Ray Shackelford of Fredericksburg, Va. Shackelford, 34, in his first final-round appearance, couldn't put two strikes together throughout the game, but his fifth-place finish earned him $4,500, exceeding his total 1983 earnings of $2,000.
In his first frame, Shackelford rolled a Brooklyn-side strike, but could get only two more strikes the rest of the game. Trask bowled an eight-strike game.
"I wasn't nervous out there," said Shackelford. "I just never got going. The lanes broke more today than they have all week."
In his second match, Trask got four straight strikes, starting in the fifth frame, to hold off third-seeded Butch Soper, 213-205. Trask made it to the final by defeating Pete Couture.