December 5, 2007 19:00
Despite a comfortable cushion in the standings, Patrick Allen knows he has a lot of work to do in match play Friday.
Allen averaged over 242 in his 14 games Thursday to lead the field with a 3,400 14-game pinfall to take the spot heading into round robin match play in the 2007 Lumber Liquidators Championship at AMF Country Club Lanes.
The nine-time Denny’s PBA Tour titlist has a greater chance of making the finals this week compared to most round robin events when the top five advance to Sunday. This week features a special eight-bowler championship round which will air in primetime on ESPN at 8 p.m. EST. Nevertheless, Allen knows he can’t let up on Friday as a possible 18 games still remain.
“I almost think it’s a disadvantage to lead because now you have to sleep on it all night,” Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) said. “I have to bowl to win and not just try to hang on. I still have to be aggressive instead of thinking about just staying in the top 16 or top eight.”
Allen was consistent on Thursday, particularly in the first seven-game block when five of his seven games were in the 230s and 240s. He opened the second block with back-to-back games of 257 and finished the round with a 268 to take the lead.
“I was working last night in practice on trying to get my hand behind the ball more like I used to a coupe years ago,” Allen, the 2004-05 PBA Player of the Year, said. “I got off to a good start this morning and 230-240-ed them to death and then had a good start to the second block. The lanes were a little tougher (in the second block) but they broke down a lot faster.”
Allen finished just ahead of all-time titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr., who at 48 years old is off to the best start of his career. Last week, Williams captured his 44th career title and his second of the season. Williams (Ocala, Fla.) finished second with 3,366.
Mike DeVaney (Temecula, Calif.), who fired one of five 300 games on the day, finished third with 3,344 while Chris Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) was fourth with 3,311. Rhino Page, who qualified through the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round on Wednesday for the fifth time in six weeks, finished fifth with 3,304.
Twin brothers Mark and Mike Scroggins (Amarillo, Texas) both finished in the top 10 as Mark was sixth with 3,299 and Mike was ninth with 3,268.
Kelly Kulick (Union, N.J.), who proved her 2006-07 season as the first-ever female exempt bowler has paid off, finished 17th with 3,212. Kulick just came off a successful four-week stint on the PBA Women’s Series, a special four-event mini tour sponsored by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) with 16 of the best female bowlers. Kulick finished third in the series point rankings.
Baltimore native and 11-time titlist Danny Wiseman advanced to match play and will look for his second career title in his hometown as he finished 22nd with 3,194.
Match play gets underway Friday at 11 a.m. with the first of two nine-game round robin match play blocks. The top 16 after the first nine games will advance to the second block Friday evening.
The top eight bowlers will advance to Sunday’s championship round which takes place at 1 p.m. EST at AMF Country Club Lanes and will air tape-delayed on ESPN at 8 p.m. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.
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