February 7, 2007 19:00
Bill O’Neill is hoping the third time is a charm. The 2005-06 PBA Rookie of the Year led Friday’s first seven-game block in the Round of 64 in the 2007 GEICO Classic at AMF Irving Lanes, marking the third time he has done so this season.
O’Neill, who is still looking for his first championship round appearance this season, began the day with a 215 and 178 before rebounding with games of 236, 232 and 266. The 25-year old ended the block with scores of 202 and 208 to finish with a 1,537 seven-game pinfall.
“It’s nice to not bowl in a score fest. You can bowl a bad game and still rebound,” said O’Neill (Levittown, Pa.). “Since it’s not a round-robin tournament, I don’t think about leading. I just try to bowl my game and pick up as much wood as possible.”
One pin behind O’Neill is last week’s 2007 Sun City Classic winner Mika Koivuniemi (Hartland, Mich.). The Finland native finished with a 234 in his seventh game.
Chris Barnes, who Koivuniemi defeated in last week’s final, is in third. The Double Oak, Texas resident is just three pins behind O’Neill with 1,534.
Brad Angelo (Lockport, N.Y.) rounds out the group who are on the heels of O’Neill’s top spot with 1,530.
Former Major League Baseball star John Burkett (Southlake, Texas) is in 59th with 1,285.
All 64 bowlers return Thursday evening for another seven games at 6 p.m. CST. The top 32 will advance to Friday’s single-elimination match play beginning at 9 a.m.
The top four bowlers will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at 11:30 a.m. CST at AMF Irving Lanes. The winner will take home $25,000 and a one-season Denny’s PBA Tour exemption.
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