Carol Gianotti-Block traveled halfway around the world to be in Baltimore for a bowling tournament and so far it's paying off.
Gianotti-Block, a native of Perth, Australia, is the highest scoring of five finalists in the $65,000 Baltimore Eastern Open bowling tournament at Country Club Lanes and is in the best position to win the event tonight.
For the past nine years, Gianotti-Block has been coming to the United States for the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour season, then she returns to Australia to spend three or four months. She is the only non-American on the tour, and she's on top after two days of qualifying.
"I wanted to bowl full-time and this is the only place in the world I could do that," Gianotti-Block said. "I talked to some Americans who were bowling in Australia and I decided to make the move over here.
"I haven't looked back since Day One. I'd been in a bit of a slump lately, but now it feels good to get back on the show."
The Australian and the four other highest scorers will participate in the finals at 7 tonight. The finals will air on ESPN at midnight Oct. 29 in a format in which the fifth-placed bowler, Michelle Mullen -- who slipped into the top five in the last of 32 qualifying games -- will face the fourth-place finisher, rookie Liz Johnson, in the first game.
The winner of that match will bowl against third-place Cheryl Daniels. The winner of that match will face Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, the second-place finisher, and that winner will face Gianotti-Block in the $9,000 final match.
Gianotti-Block took command of the tournament in the early session yesterday. She picked up 1,845 pins in eight games in the afternoon, moving up from fourth place to overtake Daniels for first place, then coasted through the evening session with the lead.
"It's nice to make it back to the TV match," Gianotti-Block said. "This is the best in the world here. It's nothing like this in Australia."
Daniels was never lower than second place throughout, scoring an eight-game-session-high 1,943 pins Tuesday morning.
Dorin-Ballard was also near the top of the 32-bowler field for the duration of the event.
Pub Date: 10/24/96