December 4, 2007 19:00
Adding to what has already been a record-setting season, Rhino Page broke the PBA's seven-game scoring record Thursday to lead the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round for the Lumber Liquidators Championship at AMF Country Club Lanes.
Page averaged 269.00 over his seven games with a 1,883 seven-game pinfall, breaking the old record of 1,853 held by Jason Couch and Bobby Stives. He started the day with a 290 and later added back-to-back games of 300 and 289 which included a string of 29 consecutive strikes.
The 24-year-old led the TQR for the second consecutive week and the third time overall, tying Dino Castillo’s record set last season. He has qualified five times in six tries, and has 10 more events left to break the record Castillo set last year of qualifying nine times throughout the season.
“I’m not sure there is a secret but I did come out here prepared,” Page, who has bowled on Team USA the last four years, said. “It’s just making sure I can get every pin I possibly can. The (qualifying rounds) are not fun to go through at all. It’s hard. I dread every Wednesday even though I’ve had some success. It has gotten easier because you know what to expect and the pressure lightens up, but it’s still not fun.”
Page said he struggled in game three, although struggling for him resulted in a 246. He made a slight change which led to his string of 29 straight strikes.
“I had a little hiccup in game three where I made a wrong move and chased it the wrong way, but I threw the last eight strikes to shoot 240 so that was definitely a relief,” Page (Topeka, Kan.) said. “To be able to make the right move and take it off the sheet gave me the confidence the rest of the day. It can be the longest seven games of your life at times out here. You have to make your moves really fast and you have to make the right moves because you can get behind if you’re wrong.”
Finishing second behind Page was Ryan Ciminelli (Cheektowaga, N.Y.) with 1,811 followed by Brian Bennett (Lewes, Del.) with 1,729. Jonathan Van Hees (Providence, R.I.) and P.J. Haggerty (Clovis, Calif.) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Kelly Kulick, who just finished bowling on the new four-event PBA Women’s Series, became the first woman this season to advance through a Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round, finishing sixth with 1,641. Kulick made history last season as the first woman to earn a full-season exemption onto the Denny’s PBA Tour. After she failed to regain her exemption for this season, she qualified for the 16-bowler PBA Women’s Series which concluded last week. Kulick finished the series third in points among the 16 women.
Also qualifying were Rich Ferraro (Webster, N.Y.), Bo Goergen (Midland, Mich.) and Greg Thompson Jr. (Dayton, Ohio), who finished seventh, eighth and 10th, respectively. The top nine PBA members advanced this week as five exempt bowlers withdrew from the event.
Pat McGainey Jr. (Baltimore) finished ninth and earned a berth in the Round of 64 as the top amateur.
Thursday’s Round of 64, which features two seven-game qualifying blocks, gets underway at 10 a.m. EST. The top 32 will advance to match play on Friday.
The top eight after Friday’s match play will advance to Sunday’s championship round which takes place at 1 p.m. EST and will air tape-delayed on ESPN at 8 p.m. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2007-08 season.
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