December 5, 2006 19:00
Michael Houtz admitted some people gave him a hard time about using a Columbia Blue Dot ball during Wednesday’s Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round, but he got the last laugh.
Houtz used the classic plastic ball – which is in production on a limited basis – to lead the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round with a 1,744 seven-game pinfall to advance to the Round of 64 in the 2006 Beltway Classic at AMF Country Club Lanes.
A PBA member since 2005, Houtz (Myerstown, Pa.) fired a 258 in his final game, finishing just one pin ahead of William Barlow (Edgewood, Md.), who shot 256 his final game and finished second with 1,743.
“I use (the Blue Dot) all the time on three of the PBA Regional Tour patterns, and on the Cheetah pattern I usually use a (Columbia) Shadow or a Blue Dot. I don’t like dealing with the over-under reaction you get on with a reactive ball,” said Houtz, who averaged 249.14 on the high-scoring Cheetah oil pattern Wednesday. “There are a few people who give me a hard time about it, but you have to do what you have to do out there. I was surprised that it carried as well as it did. I’m going to try it again tomorrow and if the lanes play the same I’ll use it.”
Jason Lundquist (Honesdale, Pa.) finished third with 1,696 while D.J. Archer (Mineral Wells, Texas) was fourth with 1,675. Archer was exempt on the Denny’s PBA Tour the last two seasons before missing the cut for the 2006-07 season.
Rounding out the qualifiers for Thursday were Jonathan Van Hees (Providence, R.I.), Justin Warhol (Sound Beach, N.Y.) and Greg Thompson Jr. (Dayton, Ohio). Additionally, Mark Decman (Canada) advanced as the high amateur in the field, finishing tied for sixth overall.
This week, seven PBA members advanced to the Round of 64 as no Commissioner’s Exemption was awarded and exempt bowlers Paul Fleming and Amleto Monacelli withdrew.
Thursday’s Round of 64 features two seven-game qualifying blocks, the first of which gets underway at 11 a.m. EST. The top 32 will advance to single elimination match play on Friday.
The final four advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at 1 p.m. EST. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2007-08 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
300 games (1) – Lee Faulcon.
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