November 29, 2006 19:00
A simple thumb grip change and motivation from the previous week’s tournament helped Tommy Jones capture the lead after the first seven games of the Round of 64 in the 2006 Ace Hardware Championship at Freeway Lanes of Wickliffe.
Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.), who finished 58th in last week’s Discover® Card Windy City Classic, threw a 279 in his final game for a seven-game total pinfall of 1,731.
“I bowled pretty bad last week, so I had a little motivation coming in this week,” said Jones, who was the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Player of the Year in 2005-06. “I changed up my thumb grip this week. I used one at the Masters and changed to a different one thinking it felt better, but the angle was off, so I switched back today and it worked out for me.”
Jones has had previous success on this week’s Viper oil pattern, winning the 2006 Bayer Atlanta Classic on Feb. 5, 2006.
Jason Couch (Clermont, Fla.), who was jumped by Jones in the final game, finished second with a 1,673, an average score of 239 per game.
Chris Hayden (Orlando, Fla.) ended the first block with games of 232, 234 and 258 to jump up to third with a total pinfall of 1,632.
Three pins back was Bill O’Neill (Levittown, Pa.), who finished with a 277 in his final game for a 1,629.
All 64 bowlers return at 6 p.m. EST for another seven games. The top 32 from today’s rounds advance to Friday’s match play.
The top four bowlers will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at 1 p.m. EST at Freeway Lanes of Wickliffe. The winner will take home $25,000 and a one-season Denny’s PBA Tour exemption.
300 games - Danny Wiseman, Wes Malott.
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