November 21, 2007 19:00
After three consecutive weeks of falling in the Round of 8 in single elimination match play events, Pete Weber is thankful for a switch this week to a round robin format.
Weber averaged 235.71 with a 3,300 14-gWame pinfall on Thanksgiving Thursday to lead the Round of 64 in the Denny’s PBA Tour’s CLR Windy City Classic at Hawthorn Lanes, taking the top spot heading into Friday’s match play, where all pins from qualifying carry over.
In the first three single elimination events this season, Weber has fallen all three times in the best-of-seven games Round of 8, twice to all-time Denny’s PBA Tour title leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. and last week to eight-time champion Chris Barnes. This week, the match play format features a nine-game round robin block Friday morning with the top 16 advancing to bowl another nine-game block Friday evening. Pinfall carries over from qualifying with bowlers earning 30 bonus pins for each win and 15 for each tie on top of their pinfall from each match.
“I’m not at all frustrated with the last three weeks,” Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) said. “In Buffalo, I bowled just as well as Walter Ray did, I just got nine more times than he did. It was the same thing in Merrillville last week. I bowled as well as Barnes except for the first game, and I was in every game. I know what comes around goes around though. I figure if I keep making the top eight, I’m going to get there eventually.”
Last season, Weber got off to what he called the best start of his 27-year career, finishing second in the Dydo Japan Cup, sixth in the 2006 USBC Masters and winning the fourth event, the Etonic Championship. The PBA Hall of Famer and 34-time titlist is off to another great start with three consecutive seventh-place finishes, but has yet to break through with his first championship round appearance.
“Last year was such a great start with Japan and the Masters and this season it’s been the same with the only exception being that I bowled poorly in Japan,” Weber, who won four PBA Regional Tour events this summer, said. “But I still bowled well at the Masters this year and I feel like I’ve carried over from this summer. As long as I feel like I’m throwing the ball well I won’t be taking any weeks off.”
On Thursday, Weber was consistent throughout the 14 games with just two games under 220 and a high of 278 in game 11. He finished strong with a 255 in game 14 to finish an even 500 pins over par (an average of 200 per game).
Finishing second with 3,222 was Danny Wiseman (Baltimore) an 11-time Denny’s PBA Tour champion who won the 2002 Miller High Life Open at Hawthorn Lanes. Steve Jaros, from nearby Yorkville, Ill., finished third with 3,203. The seven-time champion is off to a hot start this season as he finished second in the 2007 USBC Masters, the first of four Majors this season.
In fourth is Chris Warren (Grants Pass, Ore.), a five-time champion looking for his first win since 1992, followed by Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) who will look to make it three consecutive championship round appearances after finishing fourth and third the last two weeks.
The top five will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN-televised championship round at Noon CST. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.
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