Pre-teen bowler earns big reputation with thousands in professional earnings

Sunday, June 6, 2010 at 11:45pm

Kamron Doyle has some stripes on his belt as a bowler: five perfect games, finishing in the money at a Professional Bowlers Association event, an 800 series (total score above 800 for a three-game span) — and he’s only 12 years old.

Doyle, who lives with his parents in Brentwood, was introduced to the sport at a friend’s 7th birthday party. He took to the game quickly and distinguished his talent. At age 10, he rolled his first perfect game, the third-youngest to ever achieve the feat.

His bowling regimen is far from the norm for a youth. Kamron puts in serious work on the lanes. He tries to practice three times a week with a strategic approach.

“I practice two hours every time I go,” he said. “It’s usually just me, I bowl about 50 games a week. I play different shots on the lane, like near the gutter, splits, spares. I’m really good on my spares, and as long as I can keep picking those up, I’m in good shape.”

The hard work is translating into buzzworthy performance. On May 7, Kamron became the youngest money-winner ($400) in PBA history when he placed 30th out of 94 with a 215 average at the PBA South Region Open in Canton, Ga.

While the publicity-hungry PBA could use a marketable talent like Kamron on tour, he isn’t committing to a career yet. Bowling prize money could buy a decent video game collection, but all of Doyle’s earnings go directly into a scholarship fund.

“I made $400 at the regional, in total I have $8,000 or $9,000 [from bowling] in my savings,” he said. “But whenever I bowl, I have to sign a waiver saying that my earnings go to a smart account.”

The move keeps Kamron’s options open. If he were to spend bowling earnings, he would lose amateur status and a potential college career, something the 12-year-old is considering.

His aspirations are on the PBA tour, but the soft-spoken Doyle made some heads turn when he stepped onto the scene. It’s understandable in a circuit that tends to glorify 40- and 50-year-old men. Kamron is 5-foot-1 and uses a 14-pound ball; pros use the full weight of a 16-pounder.

“Most people know me right now, but before all this happened I walked into a Smyrna regional and everyone looked at me like, ‘What the heck is he doing here?’ ” Doyle recalled. Nothing overcomes skepticism like performance.

“After the first five games I made the cut,” Doyle noted.

Whether modest or sheepish, Doyle is downplaying the improvement. He still participates in the SSJBA’s top division with bowlers under 20. The competitors are still older, but Doyle is less pressured at SSJBA events after the PBA spotlight.

But bowling fame hasn’t relieved the Brentwood Middle School student from some cliché pangs of being a kid. Parents Cathy and Sean, who both bowl in a league, have established a rule that finishing his homework is a prerequisite for bowling practice.

His growing celebrity hasn’t affected Doyle — mostly.

“I don’t really care,” he said.

But after a moment, he confessed: “Well, when I got on the ESPN interview, I was kind of nervous. But it was in front of everyone.”