Francois Lavoie, Quebec, Canada, who joined the PBA following a successful collegiate bowling career at Wichita State University, made four television finals during his first year, but none was more impressive than the U.S. Open where he not only won his first title – and a major at that – but also bowled the first nationally-televised 300 game in the prestigious tournament’s colorful history. The sport’s oldest major championship began as the BPAA All Star in 1942.
Lavoie was involved in a Canadian-dominated Rookie of the Year race with Ontario’s Graham Fach, his Team Canada teammate, who drew first blood when he won the Barbasol PBA Players Championship early in the year to become the first Canadian to win a PBA Tour title (also a major).
After winning the U.S. Open, Lavoie broke open the race in the World Series, winning his second title in the PBA Shark Championship and finishing the season fifth among the PBA’s average leaders (222.79 for 330 games) and seventh in earnings ($79,920).
“Usually there aren’t multiple rookies who win titles, but I was fortunate to have a strong finish and that’s kind of what sealed the deal,” Lavoie said. “I’m sure Graham had the same goal, but only one of us can win. To finally have it official is great.
“(Winning Rookie of the Year) was a goal,” Lavoie said. “Every year on Team Canada our coach tries to help us set goals and that’s one of the goals I set for myself. You try to aim high, but also set a goal that’s feasible. It justifies all of the hard work I’ve put in.
“It’s been a great year for Canadian bowling.”