Heading into the final event of the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour season, the PBA Player of the Year race was still up in the air.
After Saturday's Round of 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena, two front runners took a big step forward.
Norm Duke, who has a Tour-leading three titles this season, put his foot down first, knocking off Robert Smith (Captain Cook, Hawaii), four-games-to-two. Chris Barnes, looking to defend his 2006 Tournament of Champions crown, responded in the second set of matches with a 4-1 win over Mike Wolfe (New Albany, Ind.).
Early on it looked like Duke would falter in his quest to appear in his fourth TV appearance of the season, falling in a quick 2-0 hole as Smith posted a score of 227 in the first two games compared to the 26-time titlist's 202 and 212, respectively.
Seeing his chances for a third career PBA Major title and a second PBA Tournament of Champions title slipping away, the 25-year Tour veteran awoke and responded with a vengeance, taking the next four games to end the match.
"This one means a lot to me because of the Player of the Year race," said Duke (Clermont, Fla.). "I'm sure Chris Barnes feels the same elation because he is in the race as well. We are the last two remaining bowlers in this tournament who are in major contention in the Player of the Year race, so it means that much more."
Duke planted the seed for his comeback with a 247-219 win in game three before making it two straight with a 234-222 win in game four. It was the closest margin that Smith would build as Duke took the next two games, 279-239 and 258-206, respectively.
Duke will look to put himself one step closer to the award when he takes on Tony Reyes in the semifinals in Sunday's ESPN televised finals.
Reyes advanced to his third consecutive TV appearance and fourth on the season by dispatching of all-time Denny's PBA Tour title leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. (Ocala, Fla.), 4-1. Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) came out slow with three open frames in the first game giving Williams a 289-179 win.
It was all Reyes from that point on as the right-hander, who is in the midst of a career-year, took the next four matches, striking in 21 of 23 frames between games three and four, earning 289-269 and 299-191 wins, respectively. Reyes closed out the match with 268-257 win in game five.
While it looked like Barnes would advance with a sweep, Wolfe forced the match to five games after dropping the first three. In a match in which scoring seemed to rise with each game, Barnes opened with wins of 220-193, 234-204 and 279-226.
In the seventh frame of the first match, Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) jumped on an early wave of momentum that he rode throughout the match. Up by just seven pins, Barnes took advantage of Wolfe's open frame by firing the fourth in a string of six strikes that came after two open frames of his own.
Wolfe, on the edge of being swept, posted his highest score of the match in a 279-235 game four win, stringing together nine strikes. Barnes would quickly diminish all hope that Wolfe had by striking in 10 of 12 frames, including the final seven frames, in a 268-201 win in game five.
Barnes will not have an easy defense of the Tournament of Champions title as he takes on 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.).
Jones knew his match against PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III (Jackson, N.J.) wouldn't be easy. After edging Bohn in the first game, 221-218, Jones widened his winning margin with a 226-204 in his second win of the match.
Bohn, who has 30 career Denny's PBA Tour titles, flexed his muscles in the third game of the match with a 254-225 win.
Jones seeing his chance to win his second career Major title in sight closed the door with two consecutive 258's in games four and five while Bohn was only able to counter with games of 245 and 217, respectively.
【JPBA】 DHC ツアー 2006/07 第５戦 【準決勝】
A week after coming up just short of one of his biggest career goals, Chris Barnes is back on the horse.
The defending champion won both his matches Friday to advance to the Round of 8 in the 2007 PBA Tournament of Champions, the final event and fourth Major of the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour season.
Barnes overcame a three-games-to-none deficit to defeat Rick Lawrence, 4-3, in the Round of 32 Friday morning, then defeated former Tournament of Champions winner Patrick Healey Jr., 4-1, in the Round of 16 at Bradley Bowl.
Last week, Barnes finished second to Doug Kent in the Denny's World Championship in his quest to become the fifth bowler to win the PBA's Triple Crown: a win in the U.S. Open, Tournament of Champions and Denny's World Championship. He won the second of three legs in last year's Tournament of Champions.
Also on Barnes' mind is the 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year race, which is up for grabs in the season's final event. He owns one title this season, the 2007 GEICO Classic, and finished third in the PBA World Point Rankings.
On Friday, Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) dug himself a hole against Lawrence as the Celina, Texas, native averaged 245.33 over the first three games. Barnes stormed back, however, salvaging the match with a 228-190 win in game four. He improved his score over the final three games to overcome Lawrence, wrapping up the match with a 256-173 win in game seven.
"This is always a special tournament since the most recent winners on Tour are here and the hottest players in the world are competing so there are no easy draws in this one," said Barnes. "Rick took me to task and I survived and Patrick is a past champion so he's always tough. Everything changes tomorrow though. You have to be able to make adjustments."
Barnes will take on Mike Wolfe (New Albany, Ind.) in Saturday's Round of 8 which moves to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Wolfe posted the Round of 16's only sweep, knocking off Patrick Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) who had swept Wes Malott, 4-0, in the Round of 32. Malott is also in the running for PBA Player of the Year with one title and the No. 1 spot in the PBA World Point Rankings.
Also advancing was PBA Hall of Famer and all-time titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr., who defeated Ritchie Allen (Columbia, S.C.), 4-1. Williams is looking to become the second bowler in PBA history (Mike Aulby) to complete the "Super Slam," a win in all five of the Denny's PBA Tour Majors, including the now-defunct Touring Players Championship.
It's not how you start, but how you finish. Although a great start and a great finish are okay too, as Doug Kent can attest to.
Kent became the sixth bowler in Denny's PBA Tour history to win two Majors in one season, defeating Chris Barnes, 237-216, Sunday to win the 2007 Denny's World Championship at DeVos Place.
Kent won the season-opening USBC Masters for his second career Major title, then captured his second career World Championship in the season's second-to-last event. He is the first bowler since Walter Ray Williams Jr. in 2002-03 to win two Majors in a season and the eighth bowler all-time to win multiple World Championships.
"This one really feels great, to win two in a season is very rare and just to be in this position is a great feeling," Kent said. "Chris is a great champion, it just came down to who would catch the breaks and I caught one early to get ahead which meant he had to play catch-up, and that's not the best place to be."
Though he's been fairly quiet in the second half of the season, with two Majors under his belt Kent threw his name in an already crowded Player of the Year race with one event - and the final Major - remaining.
"The last five or six weeks I just haven't been in synch and haven't felt great, but I just knew if I stuck with it I would get here again," Kent said. "I always get up for the Majors, and winning two is something everyone dreams about. It's another step closer to the Hall of Fame, too."
Kent jumped out to an early lead in the title match, striking in the first four frames, but Barnes clawed back with four consecutive strikes of his own in frames 5-8, while Kent had three spares in that span. With a chance to get within one pin of Kent, Barnes left the 4-pin in the 9th frame, however, and Kent struck with his first ball in the 10th frame for the ninth win of his career.
The Newark, N.Y., native advanced to the title match with a 235-219 win over Danny Wiseman. Kent had a chance to win by striking on his first ball in 10th, but a spare and a strike gave Wiseman a chance to tie with three strikes in the 10th. Wiseman struck with his first shot, but then left the 4-6-7-10 split to give Kent the match.
Barnes advanced to the title match with a 246-226 win over Tony Reyes.
Kent earned $50,000 and a four-season Denny's PBA Tour exemption through the 2010-11 season with the win. Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) took home $25,000 for second, Wiseman (Baltimore) earned $13,000 for third and Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) earned $10,000 for fourth.
Wes Malott and Tony Reyes faced off in the Round of 8 in the 2007 Denny's World Championship for the right to be the lone finalist without a Denny's PBA Tour Major title.
After six games of best-of-seven match play, Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) advanced with a 4-2 win over Malott at Spectrum Lanes. While Malott opened hot with a 270-237 win in the first game, Reyes won the next two before Malott evened the match at two games apiece.
Reyes posted a 246 in games five and six, however, to Malott's 189 and 219 to wrap up the match.
"It's my second week in a row making the finals. I'm feeling hot and Michigan has been very good for me. I won my first title in Detroit, so I'm going to try to make it two-for-two," said Reyes, who finished fourth in last week's Pepsi Championship. "Every single guy in the finals is really strong. I am really confident that I'll be able to pull this one out and join that elite group that's won a Major title. I know all the guys have won a Major, so it's going to be a really tough field."
Reyes will face No. 6 Chris Barnes, the only bowler to go undefeated in match play.
Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) rolled through his two rounds of match play going 8-0 in defeating Mike Edwards (Tulsa, Okla.) in the Round of Super 16 and Tim Criss (Bel Air, Md.) in the Round of 8.
Doug Kent (Newark, N.Y.) and Danny Wiseman (Baltimore, Md.) both advanced with 4-1 victories over Brad Angelo and Jeff Lizzi, respectively.
Kent, who was the tournament's top bowler coming out of qualifying, opened the match with three straight wins over Angelo (Lockport, N.Y.), who was the only bowler in the Round of 8 who did not receive a bye in the first two rounds of match play.
Angelo took advantage of Kent's low game in the fourth game to pick up his first and only win of the match, 220-172, before Kent rebounded with a 229-219 win to cap the five-game match.
Wiseman opened his match with a slim 209-207 win over Lizzi (Sandusky, Ohio) before winning the next game, 236-205. Lizzi took the third game, 181-169, before dropping the next two games and allowing Wiseman to advance to the finals to face Kent.
The Round of Super 16 is complete in the 2007 Denny's World Championship and only eight bowlers remain in contention for the third of four Majors on the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour at Spectrum Lanes.
Brad Angelo (Lockport, N.Y.) continues his impressive run with his second consecutive sweep after dispatching Todd Book (Cantonment, Fla.), four-games-to-none. Angelo had previously swept Edward Van Daniker Jr. in the Round of 16.
Angelo, the only bowler to advance who did not earn a bye past the first two rounds, will face a fellow New Yorker as the No. 1 seed Doug Kent (Newark, N.Y.) advanced with a 4-2 win over Mike DeVaney (Temecula, Calif.) After falling behind 2-1, Kent quickly rebounded with three consecutive wins. The 200 mark was the deciding factor in the match as Kent stayed above it all six games while DeVaney fell below it in three of his four games, including all three losses.
A match-up of well-rested bowlers will occur in the Round of 8 as both Chris Barnes and Tim Criss, who both earned byes past the Rounds of 32 and 16 after finishing in the top eight spots in qualifying, swept their respective opponents in the Round of Super 16.
Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) took down Mike Edwards (Tulsa, Okla.) by posting three consecutive games of at least 246, while Tim Criss (Bel Air, Md.) eliminated PBA Hall of Famer Brian Voss (Alpharetta, Ga.), who now has to sit and wait for a possible exemption on the 2007-08 Denny's PBA Tour.
Tony Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) disposed of a fellow Denny's team member with a 4-1 win over Tommy Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.). Reyes ran out to a quick 3-0 lead before Jones rebounded with a 233-217 win, but Reyes completed the match with a 255-163 win in game five. While Reyes averaged 228.4 over the five games, Jones left 12 open frames throughout the match.
Reyes will take on Wes Malott (Argyle, Texas), who needed all seven games to slip past Sean Rash (Wichita, Kan.). Rash jumped out to a 3-0 lead, which included a one-ball roll-off for a win in the second game, before the big Texan took the next four games in commanding fashion.
The fourth Round of 8 match-up will feature Jeff Lizzi (Sandusky, Ohio) taking on Danny Wiseman (Baltimore, Md.). Wiseman advanced in dramatic fashion, defeating Chris Johnson (Garland, Texas) in seven games, firing a 300 game to clinch the win. Johnson dropped the third game, 219-218, after leaving a 3-6-7 in the final frame and failing to convert the split.
Lizzi also had to go the distance to advance, defeating Chris Warren (Grants Pass, Ore.), 4-3. After dropping the first two games with scores of 193 and 197, Lizzi rebounded in the next two games before falling, 241-194, in game five. Lizzi came through with another pair of wins, overcoming an open frame in the seventh frame of the seventh game, to pull out the 206-191 win. Lizzi adds additional drama to the PBA World Point Rankings cut line for the 2007-08 season. If Lizzi wins the Denny's World Championship, the cut line will move to 38th.
Several prominent names continue their quest of being named champion of the 2007 Denny's World Championship, the third of four Majors on the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour.
Friday morning's Round of 16 at Spectrum Lanes was quick for Brad Angelo (Lockport, N.Y.), who pulled off the round's only sweep, taking down Edward Van Daniker Jr. (Essex, Md.), four-games-to-none, to advance to face Todd Book (Cantonment, Fla.) in the Round of Super 16 beginning at 2 p.m. EST.
"Anytime I can win a quick match, I welcome it," said Angelo. "The lanes were a little different today, they seemed a little tighter to the right. I couldn't do the same things I did yesterday. I'm just going to try to keep up the success I've had in this tournament in the past. I've made the show twice and I seem to match up well on this pattern.
"Now that we are getting to the Super 16, some people might think that Todd Book's lack of experience benefits me, but he throws the ball too good for me to have an advantage," Angelo continued. "I bowled him in amateurs and he's a tough match."
Mike Edwards (Tulsa, Okla.) was perfect in his fourth game against Chris Loschetter (Avon, Ohio), picking up a 300-236 win followed by a fifth game that went to a four-ball roll-off that Edwards eventually won, 40-39. Both bowlers struck with their first three balls in the extra frames before Loschetter left a 7-pin after Edwards had struck with his fourth.
Edwards used the momentum to take the seventh game, 235-216, and advance to face Chris Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) in the Round of Super 16.
Chris Johnson's match with Patrick Healey Jr. (Denton, Texas) had all the makings of the round's second sweep as Healey raced to a 3-0 lead. The momentum swung in Johnson's (Garland, Texas) way in the fourth game, as he posted a 256, his best total of the match, to Healey's 247.
Johnson went on to win the next three games, including a 210-209 win in the seventh game that came down to the final ball. After striking on five consecutive shots, Healey left a 6-7-10 split on his second shot in the 10th frame, opening the door for Johnson. The 2003-04 PBA Rookie of the Year opened the final frame with a spare before finishing with the strike to win the game and the match. Johnson will look to carry on his clutch bowling against another PBA veteran in Danny Wiseman (Baltimore, Md.).
Johnson and Healey's match wasn't the only match to feature seven games as three others went the distance. Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (North Richland Hills, Texas), who was looking to take down another big name after upsetting Pete Weber, 4-1, in the Round of 32, fell to Tommy Jones in a match that went back and forth with Jones winning the first game and trading punches with Dorin-Ballard before winning the final game. Jones' next match will pit the 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year against Denny's teammate Tony Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.).
Two of the Tour's younger bowlers also went seven games, although it looked like it wouldn't last as long after Ronnie Russell (Indianapolis) took a 3-1 advantage over Sean Rash (Wichita, Kan.). Rash ran off games of 288 and 277 in the next two games before finishing off Russell with 223-206 game-seven win. Rash will continue on to face 30-year old Wes Malott (Argyle, Texas).
The final seventh-game match came between two bowlers who are both looking for their first title on the season. After going down 3-2 to Brian Kretzer (Dayton, Ohio), Mike DeVaney (Temecula, Calif.) rattled off wins in the next two games to advance to face the tournament's No. 1 seed in Doug Kent (Newark, N.Y.).
Last week's Pepsi Championship winner, Norm Duke, jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead over Chris Warren (Grants Pass, Ore.). Warren regained his composure, however, to win the next four games and take the match, 4-2. Duke, who posted scores of 257 and 246 in the first two games, did not top the 200 mark in his final four.
The final match of the round featured Brian Voss (Alpharetta, Ga.) continuing his run to secure an exemption for the 2007-08 Tour via the PBA World Point Rankings. Voss, who entered the week 41st in the rankings, needed six games to dispatch of Ritchie Allen, 4-2.
The pivotal point of the match came in the third game when Allen (Columbia, S.C.) put together a string of five strikes, forcing Voss to double in the 10th. The PBA Hall of Famer did so to pick up the 211-208 win and a 2-1 advantage in the match before winning two of the next three and the match.
While he hasn't had the type of year he is accustomed to and is in danger of not being exempt on the 2007-08 Denny's PBA Tour, PBA Hall of Famer Brian Voss isn't thinking of an exemption, instead focusing on winning his second career PBA Major.
Voss (Alpharetta, Ga.), who was 41st in the PBA World Point Rankings entering the Denny's World Championship at Spectrum Lanes and needs to get to at least 39th to remain exempt next season, advanced from Thursday night's Round of 32, sweeping Jack Jurek (Lackawanna, N.Y.), four-games-to-none.
"I've been hurt all year so I haven't been able to practice as much as I want to or really get anything going," said Voss, who qualified 35th for the event's best-of-seven match play which gives the top eight qualifiers a bye for the first two rounds. "I'm really not thinking about an exemption for next year, I'm just trying to win a Major. There are two left and I want to win one. That's it, very plain and very simple. I'm not thinking about the future, I'm just thinking about the current tournament."
Voss advances to face No. 19 Ritchie Allen (Columbia, S.C.), who knocked off PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. (Ocala, Fla.), 4-3.
Two other bowlers advanced from Thursday's night action via the sweep. No. 13 Norm Duke (Clermont, Fla.), who won last week's 2007 Pepsi Championship, knocked off No. 36 Eddie Graham (Centerville, Ohio), while 2003-04 PBA Rookie of the Year No. 12 Chris Johnson (Garland, Texas) took down No. 37 Jimmy Levendosky (Hudsonville, Mich.).
Duke will face No. 20 Chris Warren (Grants Pass, Ore.) in the Round of 16 while Johnson will take on No. 21 Patrick Healey Jr. (Denton, Texas).
The top two seeds in the Round of 32 were upset as No. 9 Mike Scroggins (Amarillo, Texas) fell to No. 40 Edward Van Daniker Jr. (Essex, Md.), 4-2, while No. 10 Pete Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) was upset by No. 39 Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (North Richland Hills, Texas), 4-1.
Van Daniker matches up with No. 25 Brad Angelo (Lockport, N.Y.) in the Round of 16 and Dorin-Ballard takes on No. 26 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.), who needed seven games to knock off Troy Wollenbecker (Toledo, Ohio).
Doug Kent will look to do something that has only been accomplished five times in Denny's PBA Tour history after finishing qualifying in the top spot in the 2007 Denny's World Championship at Spectrum Lanes.
Kent, who won the season-opening 2006 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Masters for his second career Major title, will look to become the sixth bowler all-time and the first since Walter Ray Williams Jr. in 2002-03 to win two Majors in a season. The eight-time Denny's PBA Tour titlist finished qualifying with a 6,296 27-game pinfall, averaging 233.19 to earn one of eight byes through the first two rounds of match play.
Kent has had past success in the World Championship, winning his first career Major in the 2002 PBA World Championship.
"There's something about the Majors I just get up for and go into a different frame of mind," Kent (Newark, N.Y.) said. "I don't necessarily try harder, I just focus a little more. It's very rewarding. It's hard to win any of the tournaments out here let alone the Majors."
Kent came out of the gates fast on Thursday, starting the day seventh but firing games of 247, 278 and 257 to take the lead. He had a low game of 233 in the nine-game block Thursday, averaging 248.67.
"I just had a look that was unbelievable," Kent said. "If I got it a little right it rolled back and if it got left it laid there. You add a little carry with that and you get a lot of 240s."
Wes Malott (Argyle, Texas), one of several bowlers in the running for 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year award, finished second with 6,191. Tim Criss (Bel Air, Md.) finished third, Jeff Lizzi (Sandusky, Ohio) was fourth and Danny Wiseman (Baltimore) was fifth.
Also earning byes into Friday's Round of Super 16 were Chris Barnes (Double Oak, Texas), Tony Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) and Todd Book (Cantonmemt, Fla.).
Edward VanDaniker Jr., a 21-year-old from Essex, Md., earned the final spot in match play, finishing 40th with 5,729. Just ahead of VanDaniker was Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (N. Richland Hills, Texas), who finished 39th with 5,738 and became the first woman to make match play in a PBA World Championship.
300 Games (1) - Tony Reyes.
Coming into this week, Denny's PBA Tour veteran Tim Criss was staring down the end of his 15-year career. At 39th in the PBA World Point Rankings, he needs a strong performance to regain an exemption for the 2006-07 season.
Criss rose to the occasion Wednesday, taking a big step toward securing a spot on Tour for at least one more season, taking the lead after three rounds of qualifying in the 2007 Denny's World Championship, the third of four Majors on the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour schedule. Criss finished with a 4,154 18-game pinfall, good for a 230.78 average.
The top 39 in the PBA World Point Rankings earn exemptions for next season and Criss came into the week 39th. The five-time titlist was fifth after Tuesday's second round, but averaged 236.83 over his six games on Wednesday, including a 279 in game five.
"My 'A' game matches up really well with what's out there on the lanes this week. I just need to take advantage of this week and continue to play my game," Criss (Bel Air, Md.) said. "With this week's pattern, I'm able to slow my ball down and tilt the ball. I'm able to open up my angles which it seems like you don't get to do too often on the standard PBA oil patterns."
Finishing second was Jeff Lizzi (Sandusky, Ohio) with 4,100 followed by 11-time Denny's PBA Tour titlist Danny Wiseman (Baltimore, Md.) with 4,099. The 2005 Denny's World Championship runner-up Chris Loschetter (Avon, Ohio) and five-time titlist Chris Warren (Grants Pass, Ore.) round out the top five.
The top three candidates for 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year are all in the running to earn one of eight byes into Friday's Round of Super 16. Pete Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) is 10th with 4,041, Wes Malott (Argyle, Texas) is 13th with 4,010 and Norm Duke (Clermont, Fla.) is 18th with 3,960. Malott and Weber sit 1-2 in the PBA World Point Rankings while Duke has won a Tour-high three titles this season, including last week's Pepsi Championship.
Local favorite Jimmy Levendosky (Hudsonville, Mich.) excited the crowd by doubling in the 10th in the final game to finish with 3,778 and earn one of the final two spots in Thursday's fourth round. Levendosky was 51st heading into the final game but fired a 211 to finish 49th. Michael Fagan finished 50th to earn the final spot in the cashers' round.
300 Games (1) - Brad Angelo
Pete Weber has two goals in mind at the 2007 Denny's World Championship at Spectrum Lanes. The first, finish in the top eight of the event's qualifying to gain a bye past the first two rounds of match play. The second, and much larger goal, to win the 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year award.
The 34-time titlist and PBA Hall of Famer is putting himself on track to reach both goals after two days of qualifying at the third of four Majors on the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour. Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) leads the 150-bowler field with a 12-game pinfall of 2,775.
After leading his closest competitor, Troy Wollenbecker (Toledo, Ohio), by 29 pins after Monday's first round of qualifying, Weber's lead was closed by the field, with second place Chris Loschetter (Avon, Ohio) just 10 pins behind.
"Everybody closed the gap. I didn't do anything different. To me, I bowled just as well tonight as I did yesterday morning. I just didn't score as well," said Weber. "I just want to be one of the top eight so I can get a bye out of the first two rounds of match play. Total pins this week mean nothing since it's a best-of-seven format in match play.”
Weber briefly trailed Loschetter entering Tuesday night's final game after throwing a 190 and 214 in games in four and five before rebounding with a 226 in the final game to jump Loschetter who was fourth entering Tuesday and finished with games of 256, 238 and 211 in his final three games.
Ronnie Russell (Indianapolis) is in third with 2,745 while Mike Scroggins (Amarillo, Texas) rounds out the top four with 2,737.
With the first PBA Player of the Year award of his Hall of Fame career in sight, Pete Weber isn't leaving anything on the lanes this week.
Weber took the lead after day one of the 2007 Denny's World Championship at Spectrum Lanes Monday, the third of four Majors on the 2006-07 schedule. He finished with a 1,445 six-game pinfall, good for a 240.83 average to lead the 150-bowler field.
With two titles this season, including the 64th U.S. Open two weeks ago, Weber is one of the front-runners to win the coveted award, which the 34-time Denny's PBA Tour titlist surprisingly has never won in his career. He looked to be the front runner after winning the U.S. Open - the season's second Major - but Norm Duke emerged as a threat by winning his third title of the season in last week's Pepsi Championship.
"I want to be Player of the Year and if I want to do that I have to win another Major," said Weber (St. Ann, Mo.). "I still think I'm the front runner. It's great what Norm has done but since he's missed seven events I think I have a slight edge."
Weber, looking for his record-breakin ninth career Major this week, was referring to Duke having withdrawn from seven events earlier this season due to a broken toe. He has rebounded in his three events since returning with 11th, fifth and first-place finishes.
On Monday, Weber took a couple games to get in a groove before blowing past the field. After averaging 210.33 over the first three games, Weber switched balls and fired a 290 in game four. He closed out the round with games of 256 and 268 to take the lead.
"I made a ball change from a weak ball to a stronger ball and that gave me a little more hook on the back end, and with my side roll that really helped out to where guys were going light, light, light and I was not going light," said Weber. "I just found the strike zone and that is the key, to take advantage of pairs you can get and grind out the ones you can't."
Finishing the first day in second was Troy Wollenbecker with 1,416. Wollenbecker (Toledo, Ohio) is one of several bowlers in the running for an exemption for 2007-08 as the high non-exempt bowler in the PBA World Point Rankings.
A trio of exempt bowlers follow Wollenbecker as Brian LeClair (Athens, N.Y.) is third with 1,400, 2005 Denny's World Championship runner-up Chris Loschetter (Avon, Ohio) is third with 1,397 and PBA Hall of Famer Brian Voss (Alpharetta, Ga.) is fifth with 1,390.
300 games - Chris Johnson.
Norm Duke knows all too well the feeling of firing a 300 game in a national TV semifinal only to lose in the title match. That's why Duke showed no mercy in Sunday's 2007 Pepsi Championship title match.
After third-seeded Ryan Shafer fired the 18th nationally televised 300 game in Denny's PBA Tour history in the semifinals, the top-seeded Duke showed why he dominated the tournament from start to finish, defeating Shafer 235-219 to win his third title of the season and the 26th of his career.
Duke fired a 300 game in the semifinals of the 2003 GEICO Earl Anthony Classic against Walter Ray Williams Jr. only to lose to Mike DeVaney in the title match, who was also in this week's championship round.
Shafer could never get on track in the title match. After striking in the first two frames to run his string of strikes to 18 in a row, he failed to strike again until the 8th frame while Duke struck six consecutive times after an open in the 1st.
It was the fourth time in his career and the second time this season Duke defeated Shafer in a title match, and it pushed Duke's record overall against Shafer on TV to 6-1. Duke also defeated Shafer in the title match of the 2006 Columbia 300 Classic, his second of three titles this season.
The win capped a huge comeback for the 25-year veteran who withdrew from the first seven events of the second half after breaking a toe in January. He finished 11th in the Bayer Classic and fifth in the 64th U.S. Open in his first two events back before putting himself back in the PBA Player of the Year race with his third win.
"What was on my mind was that Tony (Reyes) was playing a line inside of me and it was creating a lot of havoc and I knew I would have to go in cold with something," said Duke. "Then to see Ryan shoot 300 and to start with an open was just abysmal. I went with what I thought would work best and stayed with it. I caught a couple breaks. If I had used that ball for two or three games it would have caused me trouble but with just one game I caught some breaks and did it the hard way.”
After making seven TV appearances in 2005-06 but winning just one title, Duke has taken advantage of his opportunities this season, going 8-0 on television in becoming the first bowler this season to win three times.
As for Shafer, he had a chance to move to the top of the PBA Tournament of Champions roster, but stayed on the bubble for a fourth week with Duke's win.
In the semifinal, Shafer defeated second-seeded Jeff Carter, 300-228. Shafer's perfect game was the second 300 on TV this season, marking the first time since 1999 two televised perfect games have taken place in the same season.
"Of course your legs are wobbling a little. I can't even throw a 300 game in league so it's just an unbelievable experience. I just tried to relax and concentrate on the game," said Shafer of trying to recover in the title match. "I threw a pretty good game but threw one bad shot in the 3rd frame and lost my line just like I did in the World Championship here last year."
Ironically, the other bowler to shoot 300 on TV this season was Tony Reyes, who Shafer defeated in the second stepladder match, 224-207. Shafer struck in his last four frames to force Reyes to strike twice in the 10th, but Reyes left a 10-pin with his first shot.
In the first match, Reyes defeated the fifth-seed DeVaney, 279-248, nearly becoming the first bowler to fire two perfect games on TV in their career. Reyes struck in 11 of 12 frames, the only blemish being a 10-pin in the 6th frame.
Duke (Clermont, Fla.) took home $25,000 for the win, while Shafer (Horseheads, N.Y.) earned $13,000 for second, plus a $10,000 bonus for the 300 game. Carter (Springfield, Ill.) took home $6,500 for third, Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) earned $5,500 for fourth while DeVaney (Temecula, Calif.) earned $5,000 for fifth.The Denny’s PBA Tour heads to Wyoming, Mich., next week for the 2007 Denny’s World Championship at Spectrum Lanes, March 18-25, the third of four Majors of the 2006-07 schedule. The live ESPN televised finals take place at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Mich., Sunday, March 25, at 2 p.m. EST.
You can't say much more about Norm Duke, the proof is in the performance. The 25-year veteran, who already has two titles on the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour, continued his amazing run in the 2007 Pepsi Championship Friday night at Woodland Bowl.
Duke, who has led every round of the Tour’s last standard event of the season, compiled a record of 15-3 in Friday's round-robin match play and concluded action with a 32-game pinfall of 8,346 with 30 bonus pins being awarded for a win in match play and 15 for a tie.
"It keeps getting better. A lot of the guys in the field like the boom ball and keep moving in. They leave me with something I like," said Duke (Clermont, Fla.). "Traffic always creates havoc. I'm able to have something all by myself and that's wonderful for me."
With his finish, Duke is awarded the top seed in Sunday's live ESPN televised stepladder finals.
Duke lost to his closest competitor in the Round of 16's position round, but, it didn't make a difference as Jeff Carter was still 450 pins behind.
Carter (Springfield, Ill.), who is making his second career TV appearance in consecutive tournaments, finished match play 15-2-1 with 7,896.
Ryan Shafer will be the No. 3 seeded bowler on Sunday's show after racking up an 11-7 record. Shafer (Horseheads, N.Y.) finished with a 32-game pinfall of 7,868. Shafer defeated Michael Haugen Jr., 265-257, in the No. 5 vs. No. 6 position round match.
No. 4 seed Tony Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) will open Sunday's finals taking on No. 5 seed Mike DeVaney (Temecula, Calif.).
Reyes finished just 47 pins behind Shafer with 7,821 and a match play record of 10-8, including a 209-199 win over DeVaney in the position round.
DeVaney made the most dramatic entrance to Sunday's final, needing 33 games to qualify after tying Haugen for the fifth and final spot with a 32-game pinfall of 7,780. DeVaney advanced with a 248-218 win over Haugen (Cave Creek, Ariz.) in a one-game roll-off.
Norm Duke continues his dominance in the 2007 Pepsi Championship at Woodland Bowl. The 25-time Denny's PBA Tour titlist compiled an 8-1 record and a 23-game pinfall of 5,872 through the first round of round-robin match play that awards 30 bonus pins for a win and 15 for a tie. Total pinfall from Thursday's Round of 64, which Duke (Clermont, Fla.) led completely, carried over to Friday's action.
Mike DeVaney (Temecula, Calif.), who went 6-3, is the closest competitor behind Duke, 250 pins behind at 5,622.
Jeff Carter (Springfield, Ill.), who finished third in the 64th U.S. Open, is third with 5,597 and a win-loss record of 7-1-1.
Tony Reyes and Tommy Delutz Jr. round out the top five with identical 6-3 records. Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) has the edge in pinfall with 5,586 compared to Delutz's (Flushing, N.Y.) 5,577.
Brian LeClair (Athens, N.Y.) withdrew midway through the Round of 32 due to an illness and was replaced by Marv Sargent (Temecula, Calif.).
Despite withdrawing from seven events this season, Norm Duke is still making a case to be a candidate in a crowded PBA Player of the Year race.
The 25-time Denny's PBA Tour titlist, who suffered a broken toe in January, has rebounded in his last three events since returning, continuing with a dominating performance in Thursday's Round of 64 in the 2007 Pepsi Championship at Woodland Bowl.
Duke averaged 247.43 Thursday and finished with a 3,464 14-game pinfall, finishing more than 100 pins ahead of the next bowler, second-place Mike DeVaney (Temecula, Calif.) who finished with 3,349.
After finishing the first half of the season as the front-runner for PBA Player of the Year by winning two titles, Duke withdrew from the first seven events of the second half after sustaining a broken toe. He rebounded with an 11th-place finish his first event back in the 2007 Bayer Classic, then finished fifth in the 64th U.S. Open two weeks ago.
"If I had been out there bowling all season I could make a lot better case but I'm still in it," Duke (Clermont, Fla.) said of the Player of the Year race. "There are still two Majors left, but they're all important. But since there are only three events left, it just makes it that much more important regardless of whether I'm in the Player of the Year race or not."
Duke led nearly from start to finish Thursday, leading after the first seven games with a 258.00 average. He had four games of 278 or higher in the first seven games, but cooled off in the second block, averaging 236.86 over the final seven games. It was still enough to open up a big lead heading into round robin match play, where all pins from qualifying carry over.
"There were a lot of high scores out there and it was because you could play a number of different lines," said Duke. "It's hard to know which one is best, but I had this intuition that the straighter you'd go the better, even though it didn't look like it."
Ryan Shafer (Horseheads, N.Y.) finished third with 3,322, while non-exempt bowler Dino Castillo (Carrollton, Texas) continued his hot streak and finished fourth with 3,305. Castillo, who qualified through Wednesday's Tour Qualifying Round for a Tour-record ninth time this season, has clinched an exemption for the 2007-08 season.
PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker (King, N.C.) rounds out the top five with 3,262.
Kelly Kulick, the first-ever woman to earn a full-season exemption on the Denny's PBA Tour, finished 14th with 3,220.
300 games (5) - Kelly Kulick, Rick Steelsmith, Eugene McCune, Mike DeVaney, Marv Sargent.
After his flaws were self-admittedly exposed in the 64th U.S. Open, the second of four Majors on the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour, Norm Duke has put together the total package in the perfect time of the season.
Duke (Clermont, Fla.), who remains in the hunt for the 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year race with two previous titles this season, posted a seven-game total pinfall of 1,806 in the first block of qualifying to lead the field of 64 in the 2007 Pepsi Championship at Woodland Bowl.
"I really wasn't sharp in the U.S. Open. I didn't have enough time back from my injury to take inventory of what all I was missing. The U.S. Open definitely exposed my bad traits," said Duke. "Over the break I went home and really worked hard on my flaws. I was able to be alone and address my problems by myself. I told my wife that I was locked in with what was wrong with my game."
Duke ended the first block with a 278, his fourth game of the block over the 278 mark.
Chris Warren (Grants Pass, Ore.) is in second with 1,720 after finishing with a 256, his fourth game over the 250 mark.
Dino Castillo (Carrollton, Texas), who advanced from Wednesday's Tour Qualifying Round for a PBA record ninth time this season, is in third with 1,713.
All-time PBA Tour titles leader and last year's champion in Indianapolis, Walter Ray Williams Jr. (Ocala, Fla.), sits in fourth with 1,677.
Ryan Shafer (Horseheads, N.Y.) rounds out the top five with 1,655.
Kelly Kulick, the first-ever exempt female on the Denny's PBA Tour, is one spot back in sixth. Kulick (Union, N.J.) fired one of the block's two 300 games in her fourth game and finished with a 236 in her seventh game to finish with 1,648.
Like Father, Like Son
There are few things Pete Weber has yet to accomplish in his PBA Hall of Fame career, but surprisingly he has never been named PBA Player of the Year.
With a win in the most grueling tournament of the season Sunday, he's one step closer to that elusive award.
Weber defeated Wes Malott, 210-204, Sunday to win the 64th U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone Carolier, his fourth career U.S. Open crown and record-tying eighth career Major title. The win also put Weber, who has two titles this season, in a tie with Mark Roth for fourth on the all-time titles list with his 34th career Denny's PBA Tour title.
Brunswick Zone Carolier was where Weber found out two years ago that his legendary father, Dick, passed away on February 14, 2005. With his win Sunday, Pete joined his father and Don Carter as the only bowlers to win the U.S. Open or BPAA All-Star - the U.S. Open's predecessor - four times.
"This was one of my dreams, to be one of the guys to win four U.S. Opens. I might not be done, I might have six or seven before my career is over," Weber said. "My dad and Don Carter are the only two to win this event four times so I am joining an elite group. Even though the All-Star was not an official title, to me it is, and it is in dad's book and Don's book. So to me, we have 12 U.S. Open titles among us."
Weber struck in his first five frames in the title match after starting with the first eight in his semifinal win, leaving the 10-pin both times. Malott had a couple chances to get back in the match, particularly after Weber opened in the 8th, but Malott struck and spared in the 10th meaning Weber only needed six pins in the 10th frame for the win.
In the semifinal, Weber came close to the first televised 300 game of his career, with eight straight strikes until leaving the 10-pin. The match was decided early on as Jeff Carter, making his first career TV appearance, struck just once in frames 3-7 as Weber went on to the 267-192 win.
In the first match Carter defeated Dave D'Entremont, 185-183.
Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) took home $100,000 and a three-season Denny's PBA Tour exemption for the win. Malott (Argyle, Texas) earned $50,000 for second, Carter (Springfield, Ill.) took home $25,000 for third while D'Entremont (Middleburg Heights, Ohio) earned $15,000 for fourth.
Only Four Remain
One pin. One pin was all that separated the top two seeds for Sunday's finals of the 64th U.S. Open, the second of four Majors on the 2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour at Brunswick Zone Carolier.
Wes Malott narrowly edged Pete Weber, 246-245, in the position round of the 24-game round-robin match play portion of the event to compile a 51-game pinfall of 11,868 with match play awarding 30 bonus pins for a win and 15 for a tie.
Weber had the chance to win the final game if he struck to open the 10th, but left a 10-pin to give Malott the one-pin win and a 17-7 match play record.
"There was a lot at stake in that game. The Player of the Year race is going on and both Pete and I are involved. You are also guaranteed no worse than second place, which is a $25,000 difference,"said Malott (Argyle, Texas). "Pete is an unbelievable bowler. All you can do is hope to make great shots and hope you get a break every now and then. He's one of the greatest out there."
Malott will await one of three bowlers in either Weber, Jeff Carter or Dave D'Entremont in Sunday's live ESPN televised finals. Weber finished match play with a 19-5 record and a 11,841, 51-game pinfall.
Jeff Carter, who is making his first-ever TV appearance on the Denny's PBA Tour, will look to become just the 18th bowler to win a Major as his first career title. Carter, who led the first eight-game block of match play, ended 15-9 with 11,643.
The No. 3 seed Carter (Springfield, Ill.) will open Sunday's final taking on six-time titlist Dave D'Entremont (Middleburg Heights, Ohio), who ended the round with 11,463 and an 18-6 record to take the fourth seed.
PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber's ascent in the 64th U.S. Open can go no higher. Weber, who entered the match play portion of the event in the 21st position, compiled a record of 15-1 and a 43-game total pinfall of 9,863 in the first two of three eight-game round-robin blocks, which award 30 bonus pins for a win and 15 for a tie.
Weber, who went a perfect 8-0 in Saturday morning's block, took the lead from Jeff Carter (Springfield, Ill.) who sits 42 pins behind Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) with 9,821 and an 11-5 record.
Wes Malott and Dave D'Entremont used the eight-game block to switch places in the standings as Malott (Argyle, Texas) entered Saturday morning in fourth and swapped spots with D'Entremont (Middleberg Heights, Ohio) to sit in third heading to night's the final block.
Mike DeVaney (Temecula, Calif.) is the first competitor outside the cut line at 13-2-1 with a 43-game pinfall of 9,557. DeVaney, who was the last bowler in the 24-bowler match play round, also accumulated a perfect 8-0 record in Saturday's competition.
Carter back in Charge
In a situation that he's not accustomed to being in, Jeff Carter has the perfect aggressive mindset and plans to keep it that way. The Denny's PBA Tour exempt bowler who has never won a title on the sport's highest level regained the lead Friday night in the 64th U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone Carolier.
Carter, who led the 492-bowler qualifying field on Wednesday, accumulated a record of 6-2 and a 35-game pinfall of 7,870 in the PBA Major's first round of match play. Carter outdistanced his closest competitor, Pete Weber, by 86 pins in the round-robin portion of the event which carried all previous pinfall from the tournament over and awarded 30 bonus pins for each win and 15 for a tie.
"Not to sound too cliche, but I'm still taking this thing one round at a time," said Carter (Springfield, Ill.). "There are eight more games tomorrow morning. My game plan is to win as many games as possible and pick up as many pins as possible. Being aggressive and having fun is what got me here so far and I don't plan on changing that."
Carter opened the round dropping his first match to Wes Malott, 236-193, before rebounding with three consecutive wins. Carter's only other game under the 200 mark resulted in a game five loss to Dino Castillo (Carrollton, Texas).
While Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) had a better winning percentage, going 7-1 in the match play, the 33-time titlist could not make up any ground on Carter in the final game despite beating Sean Rash (Wichita, Kan.), 236-209.
It was not all disappointing though for Weber, who finished Friday night with 7,784, as he started the round 21st, 200 pins behind then-second place Carter.
Dave D'Entremont (Middleburg Heights, Ohio) also came from the second half of the 24-man round-robin match play field, moving from 17th to third as the only bowler to go a perfect 8-0 in the round and end the night with 7,664.
Wes Malott, who entered round at the No. 1 position, slipped three spots to fourth, going 5-3 in the round and ending with 7,654.
In one of the most unpredictable PBA Player of the Year races in recent history, Wes Malott is looking to get a leg up with a win in this week's 64th U.S. Open.
Looking for his first career Major title, Malott took the lead Friday heading into round robin match play with a 5,889 27-game pinfall at Brunswick Zone Carolier.
With one title this season, a No. 4 spot in the PBA World Point Rankings and a Tour-high tying five TV appearances, Malott is one of at least a half-dozen bowlers with a chance at the Player of the Year award with four events remaining, three of which are Majors. A win this week could give Malott the edge.
"It's come across my mind a couple times throughout the week when I'm bowling well, but at the same time I have to keep telling myself 'you can't look too far ahead.'" Malott (Argyle, Texas) said. "There are still a lot of games left. I don't want to get ahead of myself and ahead of the game. If I do, I'll get lazy and won't commit and make good shots."
Malott was steady Friday morning, averaging 231.33 over the nine games. He had just one game under 200, and had highs of 258 in game seven and 257 in game nine to take the lead.
Jeff Carter (Springfield, Ill.), who came into this week 42nd in the PBA World Point Rankings with the cut line for an exemption for 2007-08 at 39th, is second with 5,883. Former U.S. Open champion Mika Koivuniemi (Hartland, Mich.) is third with 5,812.
In an exciting final game to decide the 24 bowlers who would advance to match play, Ronnie Russell (Indianapolis) fired a 267 to jump from outside the cut to 18th while Mike DeVaney (Temecula, Calif.) shot 224 in his final game to earn the final spot in match play ahead of Doug Kent (Newark, N.Y.) by just eight pins.
After using the same ball throughout the first two days of competition in this week's 64th U.S. Open, Mika Koivuniemi decided to change things up with a new ball Thursday morning.
The ball change resulted in an opening-game 168.
Going back to the Brunswick Fury he used in the first two rounds, the seven-time Denny's PBA Tour titlist Koivuniemi averaged 225.00 over the final five games to lead the field heading into the final round of qualifying Friday with a 3,924 18-game pinfall and 218.00 average.
Koivuniemi leads 123 bowlers into Friday's nine-game block, after which the top 24 will advance to round robin match play.
"The first game I changed to another ball and missed the pocket one time and shot 160 so I decided I was not going to change balls anymore. The Fury gives me strikes so it's the best ball," Koivuniemi said. "Right now, nothing is going to change. My game plan is still the same: to throw it at the 3-pin and throw it harder. If I make the top 24 I might look at it differently but right now there are still so many people playing different places."
The 2001 U.S. Open champion, Koivuniemi (Hartland, Mich.) will be looking for his third career Major title. He won his seventh career title earlier this season in the Sun City Classic in El Paso, Texas.
Jeff Carter (Springfield, Ill.), who held the lead after Wednesday's second round, is second with 3,885, while 24-year-old phenom Sean Rash (Wichita, Kan.), who has captured two titles this season, is third with 3,853.
Among the other bowlers advancing Thursday was three-time U.S. Open champion Pete Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) who sits eighth with 3,829 and all-time Tour title leader and two-time U.S. Open champion Walter Ray Williams Jr. (Ocala, Fla.) who is 12th with 3,807.
Kelly Kulick (Union, N.J.), the first woman to earn a full-season exemption on the Tour who is fighting to maintain that exemption for next season, advanced past the first cut, finishing 76th with 3,632. Three other women, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (N. Richland Hills, Texas), Liz Johnson (Cheektowaga, N.Y.) and Olivia Sandham (Wichita, Kan.) also made the first cut.
Earning the final spot in tomorrow's round was John Kreyer Jr. (Fridley, Minn.) who finished 123rd with 3,537, just two pins ahead of PBA Hall of Famer Johnny Petraglia (Manalapan, N.J.).