November 1, 2006 19:00
Bill O’Neill is all too familiar with his position after the first round of qualifying. The 2005-06 PBA Rookie of the Year was in first place after qualifying in last week’s USBC Masters and finds himself in the same spot Thursday in the Motor City Classic at Taylor Lanes.
O’Neill maintained his lead throughout the second seven-game block of qualifying, holding off a late charge from Mike Edwards to finish with a 3,413 14-game pinfall, taking the lead into Friday’s round robin match play.
The 25-year-old from Levittown, Pa., led the field after the first seven games with 1,694. Edwards (Tulsa, Okla.) averaged 246 over the final seven games and pulled even with O’Neill after a 257 in game 13. O’Neill finished with a 238, however, to finish the night just ahead of Edwards, who finished with a 220.
“I used a stronger ball (in the second) block because the lanes were a little tighter, and then I switched back to the ball I used the first block the last four games,” said O’Neill who used a Columbia 300 Wrath and Action. “Everything went well today, but I have to keep it going because there’s a long way to go.”
The top 32 advanced to match play, where all pins carry over from qualifying. Bowlers earn 30 bonus pins for each win in match play and 15 for each tie.
Edwards, who is looking for his first title since 1
1994, finished second with 3,395. O’Neill is looking for his first career title.
Also making the cut were 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.), who finished seventh with 3,238. PBA Hall of Famers Pete Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) and Walter Ray Williams Jr. (Ocala, Fla.) also advanced, finishing 11th and 14th, respectively.
Steve Jaros (Yorkville, Ill.) finished with 3,090 to earn the final spot for match play, six pins ahead of Mika Koivuniemi (Hartland, Mich.).
Match play gets underway Friday morning at 11 a.m. EST with the first nine games of round robin match play. The top 16 after nine games will bowl another nine games of match play.
The top five bowlers will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised stepladder finals at 1 p.m. EST at Taylor Lanes. The winner will take home $25,000 and a one-season Denny’s PBA Tour exemption.
Michael Haugen Jr. and Patrick Allen had the day's only 300 games.
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