December 13, 2006 19:00
Personalized grips that just arrived this week were the difference for Ryan Shafer Thursday in leading the Round of 64 in the 2006 Columbia 300 Classic.
The Horseheads, N.Y., native averaged 228.86 over his final seven games at AMF Babylon Lanes to maintain his lead after the first seven games, finishing with a 3,245 14-game pinfall.
“What helped was my new grips don’t grab as much,” said Shafer. “They are little more slippery and the ball comes off easier. Vise Grips made these personalized grips just for me. They are clear grips with nubs and they work great.”
Shafer will take a decided advantage into Friday’s round robin match play where all pinfall from Thursday’s qualifying carries over. He has traditionally been successful in the round robin format.
“I think if I start out good, I just really concentrate on keeping it going because every pin matters,” Shafer said. “I think I stay motivated.”
Joe Ciccone (Buffalo, N.Y.) finished second with 3,214 while Michael Fagan (Greenlawn, N.Y.) finished third with 3,200.
Wes Malott (Argyle, Texas), ranked No. 1 in the 2006-07 PBA World Point Rankings, finished fourth with 3,175.
Earning the final spot in match play was Jack Jurek (Lackawanna, N.Y.), who finished 32nd with 2,906. He edged out PBA Hall of Famer Dave Ferraro, who finished three pins behind Jurek. Ferraro came out of retirement to bowl in the event as he was given a Commissioner’s Exemption.
Match play gets underway Friday morning at 11 a.m. EST with the Round of 32 which features nine games of round robin match play. The top 16 will then bowl another nine games before the field is cut to the top five.
The top five will bowl for the $25,000 top prize and an exemption for the 2007-08 season Sunday live on ESPN at 1 p.m. EST at AMF Babylon Lanes.
300 Games - None.
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