February 15, 2007 19:00
Jason Couch continued to lead the 2007 Go RVing Classic Friday, while a lesser known lefty is making a run toward his first career TV appearance.
Couch (Clermont, Fla.), who has already won two titles this season and is looking to take control of the 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year race, went 5-4 in round robin match play to maintain the lead he has held throughout this week’s event.
Riga Kalfas, meanwhile, compiled a 7-2 record to solidify his hold on second place. The Florence, Ky., resident is looking to make his first championship round appearance in 56 career Denny’s PBA Tour events. He’s come close this season, posting two top-10 finishes.
Kalfas earned his exemption for this season by finishing first in the 2005-06 PBA Central Region point rankings. He’s looking to become the first bowler to win a title after earning an exemption through the PBA Regional Tour. Last week, John May – who earned his exemption through the PBA South Region – fell short in his bid, falling to Chris Barnes in the title match of the 2007 GEICO Classic.
Danny Wiseman (Baltimore) went 6-3 to move up from ninth to third, while PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) went 7-2 to move up from 14th to fourth. Mike Edwards (Tulsa) was another one of the big movers Friday, also going 7-2 to go from 24th to sixth.
In the position round, Michael Haugen Jr. (Cave Creek, Ariz.), who was 18th going into the final match, defeated Chad Kloss, 232-228, to move into the top 16. Rick Steelsmith (Wichita, Kan.), who was on the cut line in 16th heading into the position round, defeated fellow Wichita resident Sean Rash, 228-201, to finish 13th and send Rash home.
Defending champion Mike Machuga (Erie, Pa.) went 6-3 and sits 12th, while last week’s GEICO Classic champion Barnes (Double Oak, Texas) went 5-4 and is 10th.
Kelly Kulick (Union, N.J.), the first woman to earn a full-season Denny’s PBA Tour exemption, did not make the final 16, but her 22nd-place finish was the best of her career.
The top 16 advance to tonight’s final nine-game block of round robin match play at 6 p.m. CST. The top five will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at 11:30 a.m. CST. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2007-08 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
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