Female puts bowling in national headlines

Kelly Kulick has done more for bowling than anyone since Fred Flintstone attacked pins in prime time.

Kulick put the sport in the national headlines after becoming the first woman to win a PBA Tour title when the 32-year-old from New Jersey won the Tournament of Champions on Sunday at Red Rock Lanes.

NFL star Terrell Owens saluted Kulick via Twitter shortly after she won the title.

By Monday morning, her e-mail account was jammed, she had received more than 300 text messages on her cell phone, and she was among the most popular hits on Yahoo! and searches on Google.

Sunday’s Nielsen ratings for the live ESPN telecast of her victory drew 1.7 million viewers, the second-largest TV audience in 10 years for professional bowling.

No one had more mixed emotions about Kulick winning on the PBA Tour than Linda Barnes. Barnes, one of the top professional women bowlers, is married to Chris Barnes, who lost to Kulick 265-195 in the championship match.

“He got run over — it’s as simple as that,” she told the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram. “But you can’t help but be happy for Kelly.”

• COURT NOT NICE TO RACER — Denny Hamlin paid the price for his hoop dreams twice in the past two months.

He paid about $10,000 to stay for one night with some hoop buddies in the Palms’ basketball VIP suite when he was in Las Vegas last month for NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion’s Week festivities.

“It was worth it,” he said at the time. “When we got there, we each had jerseys with our names on the back.”

He paid a bigger price Friday when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee playing basketball.

He uses his left foot to operate the clutch and brake pedals but insists he’ll be able to drive when the series opens Feb. 6 in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Hamlin, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, is among the favorites to win this year’s Cup series championship.

It might be safer for him to focus more on his other passion: flying.

• HONESTY EVENTUALLY PAYS — A scorecard confession that cost an Ohio high school golfer the state championship five years ago has earned him a national sportsmanship of the decade award.

Adam Van Houten of Mount Gilead High School in north-central Ohio had finished the 2005 state championship with a seven-stroke lead when he noticed a mistake on his card.

A playing partner had written down a 5 for the 10th hole instead of 6. Van Houten pointed out the mistake to officials and was disqualified because he had signed the card.

Five years later, Van Houten’s act has won him a spot on Sports Illustrated’s sportsmanship of the decade list.

He now is a sophomore on the golf team at George Mason University near Washington.

YOU DO THE MATH — Sports SAT question, courtesy of David Thomas of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Miguel Tejada was 31 years old when he left the Orioles in 2007. Two years later, he returns to the Orioles at age 35. Explain.”

COMPILED BY JEFF WOLF LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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