December 14, 2006 19:00
Mika Koivuniemi is proving that change is a good thing.
After using 10 different balls on Thursday, Koivuniemi changed balls again Friday and the result was an 8-1 match play record in the Round of 32.
The Finland native went from 48th to 30th Thursday in the second block of the Round of 64 to just make the match play cut. With nine games left, he now sits 13th heading into Friday’s Round of 16 in the 2006 Columbia 300 Classic at AMF Babylon Lanes.
“The first block (Thursday) I used six different balls and didn’t bring any of those in for the second block,” said Koivuniemi (Hartland, Mich.). “Today I bowled with a completely different ball that I didn’t use yesterday.”
The six-time Denny’s PBA Tour titlist used a Brunswick Ultimate Inferno Friday, winning his first eight matches to move up to 10th. His streak finally ended with a 224-192 loss to Brian Himmler (Cincinnati) in the position round.
“I didn’t score very well. I won eight in a row because everyone bowled 180 against me. I can usually beat that score,” Koivuniemi said. “This house is so different pair to pair. That’s why I chose that ball and just tried to stay out of trouble.”
Koivuniemi averaged 210.55 in his nine games while his opponents averaged just 183.56. He had just two games over 200 bowled against him.
Still leading the field is Ryan Shafer (Horseheads, N.Y.), who went 6-3 Friday morning. Moving into second after going 7-2 was Patrick Healey Jr. (Flower Mound, Texas). Pinfall carried over from Thursday’s qualifying, and bowlers receive 30 bonus pins for each win and 15 bonus pins for each tie in the round robin format.
Earning the final spot in tonight’s Round of 16 was Brian Kretzer (Dayton, Ohio). The Round of 16 gets underway at 6 p.m. EST.
The top five bowlers will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN-televised stepladder finals at 1 p.m. EST at AMF Babylon Lanes. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2007-08 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
300 Games(2) - Rudy Kasimakis, John May.
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