Decision to stay on tour twice as nice for Teeters at Hammer Eastern Open BOWLING


She is a computer programmer with a bachelor of science degree from Louisiana State University who doesn't depend on bowling for a livelihood.

Three years ago, she almost left the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour out of frustration with her performances.

But Diana Teeters stayed the course and this week the wisdom of that decision is arising from the $50,000 Hammer Eastern Open at Country Club Lands in Essex.

Teeters had blazed to the top of the match-play finals by averaging 231.3 through 34 games before last night and had already matched her previous total of perfect games on tour (two) in this tournament alone.

"I guess I'm doing something right," said Teeters, whose only previous LPBT championship was at the Ebonite Firebolt Classic in Florida four years ago. "I have a title, but I've never qualified first. That is what I've been shooting for."

She didn't make it, slipping to third after the final eight games behind Sandra Jo Shiery of Coldwater, Mich., who rolled the tournament's fourth 300 game and a 290, and Dede Davidson of San Jose, Calif.

The final round did not change the top-five qualifiers.

"I just feel good physically and mentally right now," said Teeters, 31, a regular in the top 24 who had not made the stepladder finals in almost a year.

A native of Battle Creek, Mich., Teeters, daughter of an Air Force man, ended up in Bossier City in northern Louisiana. She started bowling with her parents at age 10.

She rolled her first 300 in the first of 24 games of match play Tuesday night, then repeated yesterday afternoon.

"It's always hard to step up in the 10th frame when you have one going," she said. "In the second 300, the ball felt real heavy. I felt real fortunate on the last shot of the second one."

But, generally, she is on a big roll.

"I'm striking on shots that aren't exactly perfect," she said. "The spectators might think I'm hitting it right, but it doesn't feel right, then it goes. Then, you start making very good shots because you're getting some breaks."

Her other 300 games were in an LPBT event at Albuquerque, N.M., and a regional tournament in Fort Worth, Texas.

"The surface of the lanes here is very good," she said. "That's why the scores are so high. They have a history of that."

In her biography returned to the LPBT, Teeters listed "myself" as her toughest opponent.

"The way I approach things, I figure out the lane conditions and try to conquer them," she said. "If I can't think objectively, then I'm in trouble."

That happened frequently in 1990 when she "was ready to quit. I was very frustrated." But the counsel of her coach, Larry Mathews, helped to change her mind.

Defending champion Leanne Barrette, a two-time player of the year, rolled 3,605 for the first 18 games and did not make the match-play round.

Amateur Kimberly Trala of Wilmington, Del., finished 16th after the final match-play round to lead area competitors.

The stepladder finals begin tonight at 7. They will be shown tape-delayed on ESPN on Tuesday at 12:30 a.m.

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