December 13, 2007 19:00
With each passing week on the Denny’s PBA Tour, Rhino Page racks up another PBA record.
This week, the non-exempt Page earned the No. 1 seed for Sunday’s championship round of the 2007 Spartanburg Classic, becoming the first bowler in history to advance to the finals twice after qualifying through the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round. The 24-year-old led the field with an 8,025 32-game pinfall and a 12-6 match play record, earning an automatic berth in the title match of Sunday’s stepladder finals.
Last week, Page became the seventh non-exempt bowler in history to accomplish the feat and this week he led the event from start to finish, becoming the first bowler to do it twice. On Sunday, he’ll look to become the third ever to win a title after advancing through the Wednesday Qualifying Round.
“It’s overwhelming,” Page (Topeka, Kan.) said. “The history part of it is nice, but it’s great to get back to the show so soon after last week. More importantly, I’m in a really good position to win my first title which is what I’m out here for.”
In last week’s Lumber Liquidators Championship, Page earned the No. 4 seed for the stepladder finals, but fell to Mike DeVaney in his TV debut, 278-215. He bounced back this week by finishing second in Wednesday’s qualifying round, the sixth time in seven weeks he’s advanced through the TQR. He then led the Round of 64 on Thursday, advancing to match play for the fifth time.
Page goes into the finals ranked 12th in the PBA World Point Rankings, ahead of 47 exempt bowlers who don’t have to qualify for each event, like Page does.
With an automatic berth in the title match, Page could face his mentor Patrick Allen, who earned the No. 2 seed with 7,880 and a 10-8 record. Last week, Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) won his 10th career Denny’s PBA Tour title. He’ll look to win back-to-back titles for the second time in his career.
Parker Bohn III fired his PBA record 78th perfect game in the position round to solidify the No. 3 seed Sunday, finishing match play with a 12-6 record. The 30-time titlist and PBA Hall of Famer from Jackson, N.J., will be looking to break a 61-event winless streak, which is the longest of his career.
The all-lefty finals are rounded out by No. 4 Mike Scroggins (Amarillo, Texas), who went 9-9, and No. 5 Billy Oatman (Chicago), who went 10-8. Scroggins is looking for his first title since the 2005 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Masters while Oatman is looking for his first career title. The 42-year-old Oatman last year became the first African-American and oldest bowler to win the PBA’s Rookie of the Year award. He’ll look to become just the second African-American in history to win a Denny’s PBA Tour title, joining George Branham III.
Sunday’s finals mark the first time since the 2001 Tar Heel Open all five bowlers are left-handed.
The live ESPN-televised finals take place Sunday at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.
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