Wolfe Hungry For First Title

by PBA Editor March 17, 2005 19:00
Looking to make his first appearance in the round of 8 since the 2004 PBA Denver Open, Ritchie Wolfe, Vienna, Va., defeated Brian Kretzer four-games-to-none in the round 16 Friday evening in the 2005 PBA Banquet Open at Spectrum Lanes. Wolfe, who is looking to advance to the championship round for the first time since the 1999 Bay City Classic, opened the match with a 216-196 win in game one. In game two, Wolfe struck in all but the first frame to win, 290-203. Wolfe, who is still searching for his first career title, won game three 236-193 and closed out the match with a 205-160 win in game four. “I had good ball reaction tonight. The match could have gone either way and today it went mine,” said Wolfe, who’s only other round of 8 appearance this season came on the Chameleon pattern, the same pattern being used this week. “I can throw it at a crisp speed on this pattern. Tomorrow I’ll need to stay left on the lanes and use soft hands.” Wolfe will face Liz Johnson, who continues to make Tour history by advancing to the round of 8 via a 4-3 win over Mike DeVaney, Escondido, Calif. Despite opening with five consecutive spares in the seventh and decisive game, Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., threw a five-bagger in frames 5-10 and with her only strike in the 10th frame, Johnson sealed the game and match with a 233-214 win. Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., advanced into the round of 8 after Pete Weber withdrew due to a shoulder injury after game three. Williams, who is looking to advance to the TV finals for the sixth time this season, had a 3-0 lead over Weber prior to the withdrawl. Williams will face Wes Malott, Austin, Texas, who advanced by defeating Jim Pratt, 4-2. Match play continues tomorrow with the round of 8 at Noon EST. Match play is a single-elimination, best-of-seven format. The four winners will return for the finals to be televised live on ESPN Sunday, March 20 from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
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More Milestones for Johnson

by PBA Editor March 17, 2005 19:00
Liz Johnson continues to make history on the PBA Tour. A night after Johnson finished 11th in the round of 64 to become the first female to advance to the round of 32 in a standard PBA Tour event, Johnson topped herself again. Johnson defeated Chris Barnes, ranked 2nd in the 2004-05 PBA World Point Rankings, four-games-to-two, to advance to the round of 16 on Friday. She matched the 62nd U.S. Open presented by Odor-Eaters champion shot for shot, keeping up with the high scoring pace. Johnson averaged 242.50 in the six games, including 274.67 in games 3-5. “I’m pretty excited. It’s another step in the books,” said Johnson. “I just have to try and keep it going. I have to focus game to game. I have nothing to lose again. The only way for me to keep going is up. I can’t think too far ahead.” In their best-of-seven match, Barnes jumped out of the gates with a 290-189 win but Johnson evened the match with a 226-218 win in game two. In an exciting game three, both Barnes and Johnson started with the front 10, but Johnson left a 10-pin on her next shot while Barnes struck out for a 300-289 win. Johnson fired back with a 267-237 win and never looked back. She won game five, 268-213, and then made history by winning the sixth game in a roll-off. Johnson could have doubled to win in the 10th, but she left a 7-pin to tie Barnes at 216. Barnes went first in the roll-off, but left a 10-pin. Johnson calmly stepped up and struck, becoming the first female to make the top 16 in a standard PBA Tour event. On Thursday, Johnson finished with a 3,151 14-game pinfall and a 225.21 average to advance to the round of 32. She had a consistent day, shooting under 200 just twice. She started the day with a bang, shooting 254 on her way to finishing 13th in the first seven-game block. She shot in the 220s in four of the last seven games to stay up with the best bowlers in the world. “Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking top 32. I just didn’t want to be at the bottom,” Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., said Thursday night. “I’m not a negative person, but I’ve never been in this position before. I didn’t know what to expect scoring wise, but I had nothing to lose. “I had a good shot Wednesday but you always expect the lanes to be different the next day. I knew if I made good shots and stayed focused, anything could happen,” Johnson continued. “I filled when I had to. I had a few opens, but it wasn’t anything that killed me. That was a big key.” On Thursday, Johnson showed no effects of bowling 23 games in two days: nine games in Wednesday’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round and 14 in the round of 64. “I just had to try and bowl not a lot of big games but be consistent and stay in the pack,” said Johnson. “These guys out here can bowl some big games. When you get out here with them you better put your striking shoes on.” Johnson, who won 11 titles in her Professional Women’s Bowlers Association career, is humbled by her place in history. “It’s pretty awesome to do it once but to keep doing it is amazing. There have been a lot of great female bowlers and to be a part of it is amazing.” Notes Don’t count us out Time is running out for bowlers below the cut line for an exemption for the 2005-06 PBA Tour season. In fact, at this point, winning a title is the only option for some. Of the 32 bowlers who advanced to the round of 32, seven were 49th or lower in the 2004-05 PBA World Point Rankings. Richard Wolfe (49), Jim Pratt (52), Lonnie Waliczek (53), Steve Jaros (54), Brian Kretzer (55), Jason Queen (56) and Bill Rowe (57) all refused to quit Thursday as they advanced to match play to give themselves a chance to earn an exemption. Of those seven, all but Rowe advanced to the round of 16. Queen was on fire in his 4-0 win over Jason Couch. He averaged 275.75 in the four games, including his second 300 game of the season, to advance to his first round of 16 since the 2005 PBA Atlanta Classic and his third this season. Waliczek and Jaros, both proven winners on Tour, are making a late charge. Waliczek made just his second appearance in the round of 32 in his last 12 events while Jaros made the round of 32 for the second time in last 10 events. Both advanced to the round of 16 on Friday, and Jaros’ appearance in the top 16 is his first since the 2004 PBA Denver Open. Though he didn’t advance to the round of 16 Rowe has come on strong lately, finishing in the top 32 in five of the last seven events after finishing in the top 32 just once in the previous 11 events. Dave D’Entremont (36), Tore Torgersen (37) and Tim Criss (39) made key appearances in the round of 32 as they try to hang on to their current spots inside the cut. All three were eliminated in the round of 32. Bryon Smith, meanwhile, 43rd in the Point Rankings, continued his recent string of heartbreak. Smith finished 35th on Thursday, just nine pins shy of the cut. Smith has finished 33rd three times, to go along with his 35th place finish this week, in the second half. Not you again The good thing about the change in the round of 64 format for Rowe is that he didn’t have to see Tommy Jones every week. Rowe had to face Jones four times in round of 64 during the first half of the season, losing all four times. His reward this week for advancing to the round of 32? Another match-up against Jones. Jones beat Rowe again, 4-1. Also meeting again in match play were Jeff Carter and Mika Koivuniemi. They faced off three times in the first half of the season, with Koivuniemi getting the best of Carter two of three times. Koivuniemi won again on Friday, 4-3. Big move for Barnes Chris Barnes seemed pretty much out of the tournament late Thursday, as he was 54th of 64 bowlers after 10 games. Barnes had hovered around 50th all day, averaging just 206 in his first 10 games, including a 177 in game 10. The No. 2 bowler in the world then kicked it into gear, shooting 268, 240 and 258 in games 11-13, moving him into 30th. A 223 in game 14 kept Barnes in the cut, as he finished 31st after averaging 247.25 in the last four games. Barnes went on to shoot 290 in game one against Johnson then shot his Tour-leading sixth 300 of the season in game three, two shy of tying the single-season Tour record.
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St. Patrick Allen's Day

by PBA Editor March 16, 2005 19:00
Patrick Allen averaged 240.29 in the second block of qualifying to take the overall lead in the round of 64 Thursday in the PBA Banquet Open at Spectrum Lanes. Allen, who sat in 7th place after the first seven-game block, opened tonight’s session with a 231, 232 and 254. After a 238 in game six, Allen took the overall lead and held it with a 226 in the 14th and final game of day. “The lanes were a little different,” Allen, who finished with a 3,339 14-game pinfall, said. “I had to make it hook a little more because the lanes got tighter.” Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., finished 2nd with 3,272 while Tom Baker, Buffalo, was 3rd with 3,262. Liz Johnson continued to make history as she became the first female to advance into the round of 32 in a PBA Tour standard event after finishing 11th with 3,151. The 32nd and final spot in tomorrow’s round of 32 was decided by a sudden-death, one-game roll-off as both Patrick Healey Jr., Flower Mound, Texas, and Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla. finished the 14-game block tied with 3,046 each. In the roll-off game, Duke defeated Healey, 220-216. Allen, Tarrytown, N.Y., will be the top seed heading into match play as he has the highest point total of the remaining 32 bowlers over the past 20 PBA Tour events. He’ll take on No. 32 Art Brown, East Lansing, Mich., who finished 27th with 3,067. Match play begins tomorrow at Noon with the round of 32 and continues through Saturday afternoon. Match play is a single-elimination, best-of-seven bracket format. Bowlers will be seeded based on point totals from the last 20 PBA tournaments. The finals will be held live on ESPN Sunday, March 20 beginning at 12:30 p.m. EST.
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Notes from Spectrum Lanes

by PBA Editor March 16, 2005 19:00
Hanging with the boys Wednesday night marked another milestone day for Liz Johnson. Back in November, Johnson became the first woman to qualify for a standard PBA Tour event when she finished as the highest amateur in the PBA Tour Qualifying Round for the 2004 PBA Uniroyal Tire Classic. Last night qualified again, finishing 4th overall, beating out Chris Hayden for the final spot by one pin. Her second appearance in a standard PBA Tour event was only made possible because Johnson became a PBA member in February. Amateurs are allowed to qualify just once per season. Johnson became a member just before the 2005 PBA Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Open in Akron, Ohio. “I wanted to bowl as much as I could either out here or in the Regionals, and the only way I could do that was to join,” Johnson said Wednesday night. “I think it was the best thing for me to do without the women’s Tour.” Johnson was an 11-time winner in the Professional Women’s Bowling Association. She won the 1996 U.S. Open on the way to winning the 1996 Rookie of the Year. But the PWBA ceased operation in the fall of 2003. Johnson was in 9th after seven games Wednesday, but shot 239 in game eight and 237 in game nine to move into the final spot. Johnson nearly qualified two weeks ago in the 2005 PBA Baby Ruth Real Deal Classic in Indianapolis. She was tied for 3rd heading into the final game, but shot 208 to finish 7th. “I figured I needed a big game in game nine (last night). It kind of got away from me last time,” said Johnson. “I just kept plugging away and I tried to make big shots. The biggest thing was that I filled on 88 of 90 frames and that included one pocket 7-10. I just stayed in a comfortable zone out there.” Back in November, Johnson qualifying for the round of 64 meant facing long-time friend and 2003-04 PBA World Point Rankings leader Brad Angelo. Angelo defeated Johnson, 4-2. Now that a new format is in place, Johnson will bowl 14 games of qualifying instead of going straight to match play. “I’ll be a little more at ease (Thursday),” the Cheektowaga, N.Y. resident said. “Right now it’s all about bowling. It’s just another round of games. It will be a different atmosphere because all the guys will be out there but I don’t have to worry about winning matches. I just have to go bowl.” Johnson isn’t concerned about the fatigue factor of bowing 23 games in two days. “I think bowling for years out on the women’s Tour prior to this helped me prepare mentally and physically,” said Johnson. “It’s a different kind of grind, obviously, because 14 games is a lot of games. After nine games your stomach starts to rumble. I got a little fatigued in game six and seven but I just tried to focus on what I had to do.” If Johnson advances the round of 32 Thursday she will become the first woman to do so and will thus add another milestone to her fast-growing list of accomplishments. Hernandez withdraws Peter Hernandez, citing a back injury, withdrew from this week’s event after three games. Hernandez is currently 47th in the 2004-05 PBA World Point Rankings. First for Rowe Bill Rowe reached a milestone Thursday, firing the first 300 game of his PBA Tour career. Rowe had not bowled in a PBA Tour event prior to finishing 9th in the 2004 PBA Tour Trials. Rowe earned an exemption when Tommy Delutz Jr. deferred his exemption one year due to wrist surgery. What a pair Paul Fleming, Tim Criss, Jason Couch and Tom Baker were paired together in the first session of the round of 64 and their success rubbed off on one another. In game two, Fleming and Criss both shot 267. Baker went one better with a 268 but Couch was even better with a 269. Chose your Banquet Walter Ray Williams Jr. had to chose one Banquet over another banquet this week. Williams was recently chosen for induction into the ABC Hall of Fame, but Williams chose to forgo today’s induction ceremony to bowl in this week’s 2005 PBA Banquet Open. Currently 4th in the 2004-05 PBA World Point Rankings, Williams decided he couldn’t risk losing points and missing out on a chance to finish in the top four and earn an automatic spot in the round of Super 16 in the 2005 PBA Denny’s World Championship. Williams recently recorded an acceptance speech which will be played at tonight’s ceremony at River Center in Baton Rouge, La. Also being inducted tonight is PBA and ABC Tournament titlist Bob Chamberlain. Chamberlain won two PBA Tour titles in his career, including the 1984 National Championship. He has also won four titles on the PBA Senior Tour and was named 2003 PBA Senior Player of the Year. Speaking of the top four… Only one spot remains for a bye into the round of Super 16 at the 2005 PBA Denny’s World Championship at Taylor Lanes as Patrick Allen, Chris Barnes and Danny Wiseman have each clinched a spot in the top three of the 2004-05 PBA World Point Rankings. Williams can lock up the fourth and final spot by finishing 6th or better in this week’s 2005 PBA Banquet Open but both Tommy Jones and Mika Koivuniemi have the opportunity to pass Williams on the 2004-05 PBA World Point Rankings. If Williams just misses the cut, Jones would have to finish no lower than 4th this week to bump Williams out of the 4th spot. In order for Koivuniemi to bump Williams out of the 4th spot he would need to advance to the title match of this Sunday’s finals. PBA Tour in Grand Rapids This marks the 13th time the PBA Tour has stopped in greater Grand Rapids area and the fourth season in a row. Spectrum Lanes has been a familiar stop on the Tour, as a PBA event has been held here on six different occasions prior to this week’s event. Last season, Jason Couch won the 2003 PBA Pepsi Open with a 187-177 win over Steve Wilson. In fact, five of the last six winners at Spectrum Lanes are exempt players including Couch (2003 PBA Pepsi Open), Eugene McCune (2002 PBA Banquet Open), Pete Weber (2001 PBA Great Lakes Classic), Danny Wiseman (1995 Great Lakes Classic) and Walter Ray Williams Jr. (1998 Greater Grand Rapids Open).
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Big Morning for Big Wes

by PBA Editor March 16, 2005 19:00
Wes Malott shot 299 on his way to finishing with a 1,760 seven-game pinfall to lead the first session of qualifying in the round of 64 Thursday in the 2005 PBA Banquet Open at Spectrum Lanes. Malott, Austin, Texas, was in 4th after five games when he shot 299 to move into the lead. Malott has four 300 games this season, tied for the second-most on Tour. With a perfect game this week, he will tie a PBA Tour record with 300 games in three consecutive events. The feat has been accomplished five times. “I played right the first three games. Then I moved in and saved game four by striking on my last eight shots to shoot 248,” said Malott, who had another 300 game earlier this season but fouled on his final strike to finish with 290. “In game five I made the turn and discovered I had the wrong ball. I changed balls and shot 299.” Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., who qualified for a standard PBA Tour event for the second time this season, is 13th with 1,613. Johnson is looking to become the first woman ever to advance to the round of 32 in a PBA Tour event. Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., is 2nd with 1,717, while Tim Criss, Bel Air, Md., is 3rd with 1,707. Tom Baker, Buffalo, who won the 2004 PBA World Championship, is 4th with 1,689. The second seven-game session of the round of 64 starts tonight at 6 p.m. EST. The top 32 advance to single elimination, best-of-seven match play on Friday starting at Noon. Bowlers will be placed in a bracket and seeded based on points from the last 20 PBA Tour events. The final four will bowl for the $40,000 top prize and an exemption for the 2005-06 PBA Tour season on Sunday, March 20 with the live ESPN telecast airing at 12:30 p.m. EST.
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