December 12, 2007 19:00
Things are going so well for Rhino Page these days, he’s not only the top non-exempt bowler on the Denny’s PBA Tour, he’s starting to make a case for being one of the top bowlers on Tour, period.
Page led the Round of the 64 in the 2007 Spartanburg Classic at Shamrock Lanes Thursday, compiling a 3,422 14-game pinfall for a 244.43 average to take the top spot into Friday’s match play.
The 24-year-old Page qualified through Wednesday’s Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round for the sixth time in seven tries this season, three shy of tying the single-season record with eight standard events remaining. Last week, he became the seventh bowler in history to advance through the TQR and make the championship round the same week when he finished fifth in the Lumber Liquidators Championship.
The Team USA member came into this week 17th in the PBA World Point Rankings and is threatening to become the first non-exempt bowler to finish a season in the top 40 in points.
On Thursday, Page never dipped below the 200 mark, his low game a 219 in game 10. He had seven games of 247 or better, topping out at 299 in game 12. He averaged 251.57 over the final seven games to take the lead away from first-round leader Chris Barnes.
“Each squad we bowl, the lanes are a little different and tonight they were definitely different than this morning,” Page (Topeka, Kan.) said. “I just need to take into consideration what I did today and make the right adjustments tomorrow morning.”
Page will be making his fifth match play appearance of the season on Friday and with all pins from qualifying carrying over, he’s in a good position to become the first qualifier ever to make two championship round appearances.
Finishing right behind Page were twins Mark and Mike Scroggins (Amarillo, Texas), who finished second and fourth, respectively. In the middle of the Scroggins sandwich was Chris Warren (Grants Pass, Ore.), who finished third with 3,347. Warren made last week’s Lumber Liquidators Championship final round, his first TV appearance in over 12 years.
Last week’s champion Patrick Allen will look to make it back-to-back titles as he finished fifth with 3,297.
Three bowlers who hail from South Carolina made the cut to match play, led by two-time Denny’s PBA Tour titlist Ritchie Allen (Columbia, S.C.), who finished 13th with 3,198. Lee Vanderhoef (Greenville, S.C.), who earned the final spot in the Round of 64 through Wednesday’s TQR, finished 17th with 3,155.
The 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year and 10-time titlist Tommy Jones moved up from 38th after the first block to finish the night 19th with 3,140. Jones is looking to bounce back from an early-season slump and make his first championship round appearance of the season.
All pins from qualifying carry over into Friday’s round robin match play where bowlers earn 30 bonus pins for each win and 15 bonus pins for each tie. The top 32 bowl nine games Friday morning starting at 11 a.m. after which the field will be cut to the top 16 for Friday evening’s final nine-game block, which begins at 6 p.m.
The top five will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN-televised finals which take place at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium at 1 p.m. EST. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
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