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Pa. bowler sets record for strikes in a row

After great-grandma's driveway, the Red Crown Bowling Center in Harrisburg must have seemed like easy street.

After great-grandma's driveway, the Red Crown Bowling Center in Harrisburg must have seemed like easy street.

Last month, Tommy Gollick, 32, playing in a league there, rolled 47 consecutive strikes - a new national record, pending certification by the United States Bowling Congress.

Three straight strikes is called a turkey. Gollick rolled a turkey of perfect games on Lanes 5 and 6 on May 11.

It takes 12 straight strikes to get a highest-possible score of 300, and the left-hander did that three straight times, after a 279 - 11 straight strikes following a first-frame 9 that began, inauspiciously, with a 4-10 split, according to the USBC account.

Not one spare in there.

After the first frame, 470 pins up, 470 pins down.

"He hit high, he hit low, and he hit right in the pocket," Red Crown owner Don Kirkpatrick told the USBC.

Gollick - with his 15-pound purple-and-blue "Invasion" ball by Storm - smashed the official record of 40 set in 1986 by a Jeanne Naccarato of Tacoma, Wash.

But even unofficially, the mark appears to be historic, said USBC spokesman Terry Bigham.

"Nobody's ever come to us with anything like this before," he said.

Amazingly, Gollick, who lives the Harrisburg suburb of Oberlin, didn't continue testing his streak when his fourth and last league game finished that night, he said.

He simply stopped - even though it was just 8:30 p.m. - and he can't recall how his next game began.

He celebrated by phoning his mom, going home to his wife, Kelly, and falling asleep, exhausted. Gollick runs a print shop for the Pennsylvania Council of Churches in Harrisburg, and works part-time part at the bowling center.

He was 5 when he started bowling. A Saturday league wasn't enough. Soon, he was practicing regularly on an asphalt driveway, using old pins and an old ball - then running to catch the ball before went over a hill, across a road and disappeared into a creek, he said.

Why didn't he set up a backstop?

"Because I was 6 years old and you don't think everything through," he said.

He estimates he's bowled about 40 games a week for a dozen years, which works out to more than 24,000 games.

Practice makes perfect, they said. It did for him, 47 frames in a row.