Click here to view this article as a PDFThis Week
The Denny’s PBA Tour heads to Freeway Lanes of Wickliffe in Wickliffe, Ohio, for the 2006 Ace Hardware Championship, Nov. 29-Dec 3. The Tour returns to the 96-lane center – the largest in the country – after a one-year absence.
Walter Ray Williams Jr. is the defending champion for the event, and returns to the center after winning his 40th title in the 2004 Uniroyal Tire Classic a little over two years ago. The win set off a two-year chase to catch and ultimately pass Earl Anthony’s all-time titles record, which Williams finally did in this season’s first event, the Dydo Japan Cup 2006.
PBA Commissioner and CEO Fred Schreyer did not award a Commissioner’s Exemption for this week’s event meaning five spots will be available for PBA members through Wednesday’s Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round.Last Week
It was a trying week for Wes Malott, who spent the Thanksgiving holiday mostly worrying about his three-year-old son, Jordan, who spent time in a Vernon Hills-area hospital with an illness. With Jordan healthy and in the stands Sunday, however, Malott won his second career Denny’s PBA Tour title with a 269-239 win over top-seed Chris Barnes in the Discover® Card Windy City Classic, capping off a wild, high-scoring week at Hawthorn Lanes.
The event saw 12 perfect games, the most since there were 20 in the 2005 El Paso Classic. Barnes led the field in the round robin event, and looked poised to end top seeds’ seven-game losing streak, as he came in as the last top seed to win a title. The third-seeded Malott, however, was coming off wins over Parker Bohn III in the quarterfinal and Mike Scroggins in the semifinal of the stepladder finals, averaging 253.50.
In the title match, Malott started with eight consecutive strikes and looked like he might go one pin better than his 299 in the semifinals of last season’s 2005 Mile High Classic, which he went on to win for his first title. Malott left a 10-pin in the 9th frame to end the run, but he had a big enough cushion after Barnes had spares in the 6th and 8th frames, giving the “Young Guns” their first title of the season. This Week's Schedule
The single elimination match play format returns in this week’s 2006 Ace Hardware Championship at Freeway Lanes of Wickliffe. Action begins with the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round and official PBA practice session on Wednesday, Nov. 29. On Thursday, Nov. 30, the 64-bowler field will bowl two seven-game qualifying sessions, after which the top 32 will advance to match play.
Friday, Dec. 1, features the Rounds of 32, 16 and 8 which will whittle the field down to just four bowlers for Sunday’s finals. Saturday, Dec. 2, is a day for the fans with official Ace Hardware Championship Pro-Ams taking place at Noon, 3 and 6 p.m. EST at Freeway Lanes of Wickliffe.
The live ESPN televised finals will take place Sunday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m. EST. The winner will take home the $25,000 top prize and an exemption for the 2007-08 season.Did You Know?
Freeway Lanes of Wickliffe was the site of Liz Johnson’s historical high-amateur finish in the 2004 Uniroyal Tire Classic Tour Qualifying Round, where she became the first woman to advance to a Denny’s PBA Tour event.
Johnson’s achievement paved the way for not only her appearance in the 2005 Banquet Open title match later in the season, but for a handful of other women to follow in her footsteps. Since that day in November 2004, five more women – Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Cathy Dorin-Lizzi, Kelly Kulick, Michelle Feldman and Jen Petrick – have also qualified through the TQR.Opponents Not Nice to Mr. Nice Guy
Jack Jurek was voted the 2005-06 Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner as the “nice guy” of the Tour, but his opponents aren’t being very nice in return. Jurek came into this week carrying the highest opponents’ average on TV all-time among bowlers with at least five TV appearances.
Four-time Steve Nagy Award winner Parker Bohn III didn’t have much sympathy for Jurek Sunday. Bohn defeated Jurek, 268-225, in the first stepladder match of the Discover® Card Windy City Classic finals, bringing Jurek’s opponents’ average to 249.25 in eight career matches on TV. In his first televised match of the season, Jurek fell to Doug Kent, 277-230.
Regardless of his bad luck on TV — Jurek himself is averaging a very respectable 232 in his career but is 2-6 — the 43-year-old is enjoying the finest season of his 21-year career. He currently sits third in the PBA World Point Rankings, and last weekend he made his second TV appearance of the season, the first time in his career he’s made multiple championship rounds in a season. His season earnings of $63,600 through five events are well past his career high set last season of $53,075, putting himself in the early running for another award – the PBA Player of the Year.Good Karma in the TV Booth
Chris Barnes nearly followed in the footsteps of Norm Duke last week, who went from the ESPN broadcast booth to the winner’s circle.
Duke has been ESPN’s third broadcaster this season, joining play-by-play announcer Dave Ryan and color analyst Randy Pedersen when he does not make the finals. Duke made his first TV appearance in the Lake County Indiana Classic and went on to win his 24th career title.
Filling in for Duke on that telecast was Barnes, who made the show last week and was one win away from winning the title, but he fell to Wes Malott in the Discover® Card Windy City Classic title match, 269-239.Will A Top Seed Win Again?
The hits just keep on coming for top seeds in stepladder finals. Chris Barnes’ loss Sunday to Wes Malott in the Discover® Card Windy City Classic title match made it eight losses in a row for top seeds.
Barnes came in confident he could break the streak as he was the last top seed to win a title, defeating Patrick Allen, 213-212, in the title match of the 62nd U.S. Open. There are four more chances this season for top seeds to end the streak, with the Columbia 300 Classic in West Babylon, N.Y., the Hawkeye State Classic in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the 64th U.S. Open in North Brunswick, N.J., and the Pepsi Championship in Indianapolis featuring stepladder finals.
If no top seed wins this season, it will mark the second consecutive winless season for No. 1s after 37 seasons went by without top seeds going winless.Kiss of Death
Since winning their respective 30th and third career titles, left-handers Parker Bohn III and Mike Scroggins have been cursed on TV.
Since winning the 2005 El Paso Classic, Bohn is 2-6 with a 227.75 average on TV, with his opponents averaging 239, including Tony Reyes’ 300 game in the Motor City Classic.
Scroggins has struggled even more, going 1-7 with a 196.13 average, while his opponents have averaged 230.75.
The good news is that both are giving themselves plenty of chances to win. Bohn made four TV appearances last season and has already made two this season to make it 18 consecutive seasons with multiple TV appearances. Scroggins, meanwhile, made a career-high six championship rounds last season and is proving his career year was no fluke as he’s already made two this season.2007 PBA Tournament of Champions Roster
With Wes Malott winning last week’s 2006 Discover® Card Windy City Classic, Lonnie Waliczek will be on the bubble for the 2007 PBA Tournament of Champions for the fourth consecutive week. Waliczek is still on the roster due to his win in the 2003 Odor-Eaters Open.Denny’s PBA Tour Entrants
PBA Senior Tour Entrants
|1.||Wes Malott||Discover® Card Windy City Classic (11/26/06)|
|2.||Norm Duke||Lake County Indiana Classic (11/19/06)|
|3.||Pete Weber||Etonic Championship (11/12/06)|
|4.||Tony Reyes||Motor City Classic (11/5/06)|
|5.||Doug Kent||USBC Masters (10/29/06)|
|6.||Walter Ray Williams Jr.||Dydo Japan Cup 2006 (9/24/2006)|
|7.||Chris Barnes||Dexter Tournament of Champions (4/9/2006)|
|8.||Patrick Allen||Great Lakes Classic (4/2/2006)|
|9.||Chris Collins||Pepsi Championship (3/5/2006)|
|10.||Tommy Jones||63rd U.S. Open (2/19/2006)|
|11.||Sean Rash||West Virginia Championship (2/12/2006|
|12.||Brian Voss||Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Classic (1/29/2006)|
|13.||Ritchie Allen||Motel 6 Phoenix Classic (1/22/2006)|
|14.||Jason Couch||Dick Weber Open (1/15/2006)|
|15.||Brian Himmler||Earl Anthony Medford Classic (1/8/2006)|
|16.||Mike Wolfe||Empire State Classic (12/18/05)|
|17.||Mike Scroggins||USBC Masters (11/20/05)|
|18.||Mike Machuga||Greater Omaha Classic (11/13/05)|
|19.||Steve Jaros||Dexter Tournament of Champions (4/10/05)|
|20.||Mika Koivuniemi||Baby Ruth Real Deal Classic (3/6/05) |
|21.||Amleto Monacelli||Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Open (2/13/05)|
|22.||Parker Bohn III||El Paso Classic (1/16/05)|
|23.||Jason Hurd||Pepsi Open (11/28/04)|
|24.||Rick Lawrence||BowlersParadise.com Open (11/21/04)|
|25.||Danny Wiseman||Miller High Life Masters (10/31/04)|
|26.||Robert Smith||Odor-Eaters Open (2/15/04)|
|27.||Patrick Healey Jr.||Dexter Tournament of Champions (12/14/03)|
|28.||Ryan Shafer||Empire State Open (11/23/03)|
|29.||Lonnie Waliczek||Odor-Eaters Open (3/2/03)|
PBA Regional Tour Entrants
|30.||Tom Baker||Senior U.S. Open and USBC Senior Masters|
2006-07 Denny’s PBA Tour Statistical Leaders
|31.||D.J. Archer||PBA Regional Players Championship |
|32.||TBA||PBA Regional Players Invitational|
|1.||Pete Weber||St. Ann, Mo.||71,338|
|2.||Doug Kent||Newark, N.Y.||70,191.3|
|3.||Jack Jurek||Lackawanna, N.Y.||67,273|
|4.||Wes Malott||Argyle, Texas||67,159|
|5.||Parker Bohn III||Jackson, N.J.||60,844|
|6.||Mike Scroggins||Amarillo, Texas||58,109|
|7.||Tommy Jones||Simpsonville, S.C.||54,888|
|8.||Chris Barnes||Flower Mound, Texas||53,436|
|9.||Norm Duke||Clermont, Fla.||52,864|
|10.||Mika Koivuniemi||Hartland, Mich.||50,037|
|1.||Doug Kent||Newark, N.Y.||$120,700|
|2.||Walter Ray Williams Jr.||Ocala, Fla.||$66,500|
|3.||Pete Weber||St. Ann, Mo.||$64,400|
|4.||Jack Jurek||Lackawanna, N.Y.||$63,600|
|5.||Wes Malott||Argyle, Texas||$48,100|
|6.||Tony Reyes||San Bruno, Calif.||$43,800|
|7.||Norm Duke||Clermont, Fla.||$36,950|
|8.||Tommy Jones||Simpsonville, S.C.||$27,900|
|9.||Chris Barnes||Flower Mound, Texas||$26,700|
|10.||Mika Koivuniemi||Hartland, Mich.||$23,800|
|1.||Norm Duke||Clermont, Fla.||229.54|
|2.||Wes Malott||Argyle, Texas||227.63|
|3.||Doug Kent||Newark, N.Y.||226.97|
|4.||Mike Scroggins||Amarillo, Texas||226.89|
|5.||Tommy Delutz Jr.||Flushing, N.Y.||226.78|
|6.||Parker Bohn III||Jackson, N.J.||226.50|
|7.||Walter Ray Williams Jr.||Ocala, Fla.||226.28|
|8.||Pete Weber||St. Ann, Mo.||226.15|
|9.||Mika Koivuniemi||Hartland, Mich.||224.99|
|10.||Bill O'Neill||Levittown, Pa.||224.94|