November 9, 2006 19:00
Liz Johnson is making another run at history.
For the fourth time in the last three seasons, Johnson advanced to a Denny’s PBA Tour event through the Wednesday Qualifying Round. And once again, she’s making a run at the finals.
Johnson, who made history when she finished second to Tommy Jones in the 2005 Banquet Open, finished 12th in the Round of 64 Thursday to advance to match play in a standard Tour event for the third time in her career. She then defeated Michelle Feldman in the Round of 32, 4-1, and ensured there would be no “Party at Scroggins’” with another 4-1 win in the Round of 16.
The Cheektowaga, N.Y., native has been on fire in her home center, averaging 231.20 in match play, including a 242.80 in her match against Scroggins. In fact, the only game Johnson lost against Scroggins was when she succumbed to the highest game of the entire block as Scroggins defeated Johnson in game four, 269-248.
Johnson’s reward for advancing to her second career Round of 8 will be a match-up with PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber.
The home town atmosphere is paying off not just for Liz Johnson. Also advancing to the Round of 16 were Lockport, N.Y., native Brad Angelo and Newark, N.Y., native and defending champion Doug Kent, who will battle it out in the Round of 8.
Angelo had to make a serious charge Thursday just to get to match play, using an inspired performance in the second block to make the cut. Angelo was 54th after the first seven games, but averaged 223.43 over the final seven games, including a clutch 248 in the final game to move into the cut.
Another bowler still alive who had to make a huge run Thursday is Weber, who made the biggest move of any bowler in Thursday’s second block.
Weber moved up 40 spots in the standings over the final seven games, going from 53rd to 13th. He averaged 231.14 over those seven games, the second-best block of the day.
The best block of the day Thursday belonged to Steve Jaros, who averaged 236.43 over the final seven games, moving from 48th to 10th. Jaros won his Round of 32 match over Tommy Delutz Jr., then swept Chris Collins to earn a berth in the Round of 8.
There were two sweeps in both the Round of 32 and the Round of 16. Ironically, the two bowlers who swept their matches ended up playing each other in the next round both times. Brad Angelo swept Chris Warren in the Round of 32 while Brian Himmler swept Billy Oatman, and Angelo and Himmler met in the next round. In the Round of 16, Steve Jaros and Michael Fagan swept their matches (Fagan defeated Tim Criss), and now Fagan and Jaros will meet in the Round of 8.
Going the Distance
Pete Weber has always had a flair for the dramatic and that translates into many seven-game matches.
Weber led the Tour last season with an 8-1 record in seven-game matches. He’s already headed down that path again, defeating Tom Baker in his first seven-game match of the season in the Round of 32.
Things weren’t so dramatic in the Round of 16 as Weber knocked off Ryan Shafer, 4-2.
Chris Johnson failed to get discouraged by an 0-3 deficit in the Round of 32, bouncing back to win the next four games to defeat Wes Malott, 4-3.
Johnson averaged 207 the first three games and 232 over the final four games. He was saved in game four, shooting just a 191, but Malott struggled as well shooting just 186. Johnson took advantage of the new life and rebounded to win the next three games, 246-212, 224-210 and 267-187.
Last season there were just four bowlers who came back from 0-3 deficits, and it didn’t happen until the eighth event of the season.
It almost happened twice in the Round of 32, as Patrick Healey Jr. dropped the first three games to Tim Criss, but rallied to win the next three. Criss survived, however, winning game seven, 215-199.
Mike Edwards won his first two matches Friday and is one step away from making back-to-back TV appearances for just the fourth time in his career, and the first time since 1991. In fact, the three previous times he made consecutive shows came in the same stretch, as he made four consecutive TV appearances in the 1991 season.
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