February 8, 2007 19:00
Respect Your Elders
It’s been a tough season for 2005-06 PBA Rookie of the Year Bill O’Neill. He’s been one of the most competitive bowlers all season, but the championship round has thus far eluded the 25 year old after he came so close to his first title in his rookie season last year.
O’Neill has taken out his frustration this week on his elders, knocking off two bowlers in match play Friday who are a combined 100 years old and own 34 Denny’s PBA Tour titles.
The second-year pro took down 25-year Tour veteran and 24-time titlist Brian Voss in the Round of 32, taking down the 48-year-old in six games. O’Neill then was taken to seven games by 52-year-old Tom Baker, the owner of 10 Tour titles, before advancing to his second Round of 8 this season with a four-games-to-three win.
O’Neill’s next opponent is no Young Gun as he faces 41-year-old and seven-time titlist Steve Jaros in the Round of 8.
He’s Got His Number
The Round of 32 saw a battle of heavyweights as PBA Hall of Famers Pete Weber and Walter Ray Williams Jr. went toe-to-toe Friday morning.
The last time these two great champions with a combined 75 Denny’s PBA Tour titles faced off, Williams knocked off Weber in the Dydo Japan Cup 2006 title match to capture his record-breaking 42nd career title. Williams has had Weber’s number recently and for the most part has had his number throughout their entire careers. On TV, Williams owns an 8-2 record against Weber including a perfect 5-0 mark in title matches, two of which have come in the last year.
The two didn’t disappoint on Friday. Weber jumped out to the 3-1 lead before Williams slowly crawled back. After taking the match to a seventh game, Williams blitzed past Weber in game seven, missing just once in a 279-235 win.
The loss for Weber was just his second in his last 13 seven-game matches. Weber went 8-1 in seven-game matches last season and was 3-0 coming into this week. The loss was his first in seven games since falling to Wes Malott, 4-3, in the 2005 Greater Omaha Classic Round of 8. Since then he had won 10 consecutive seven-game matches until being stopped by his old nemesis again.
Barnes Blazes By Kent
Looking to make his second consecutive TV appearance, Chris Barnes had a pretty unpleasant birthday present for Doug Kent, who celebrated his 40th birthday Friday. Barnes saw that Kent’s birthday got off to a rough start, sending the Newark, N.Y., native packing with a 4-0 win, averaging 265.25 in the four games. Barnes started out on fire, winning games one and two by scores of 300-202 and 276-167, striking in 21 of 23 frames.
Steve Jaros’ performance Thursday should be a lesson to any bowler to not give up after the first seven games of qualifying.
Jaros sat 55th after the first seven-game block Thursday after averaging just 192.14. He roared back in the second block, however, averaging a block-best 229.00 to move up 48 spots to seventh after 14 games.
The 48-place jump marks the highest this season from the end of the first block to the end of the second block. A good omen for Jaros is that the second-highest jump was made by Pete Weber, who jumped 40 spots in the 2006 Etonic Championship Round of 64, an event he went on to win.
Mother May I?
If John May reaches his first TV finals since 2001, no one can say it was easy.
May had to defeat two of the game’s biggest stars to get to the Round of 8, taking down Wes Malott and Tommy Jones in the Rounds of 32 and 16. Malott and Jones came into this week ranked second and fourth, respectively, in the PBA World Point Rankings while May was ranked just 46th. He’ll next face five-time titlist Chris Warren in the Round of 8.
May is used to having a difficult path to winning. In his first career TV appearance in the 2000 Chattanooga Open he had to face PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III, who made his first TV match an unpleasant one, 238-203. In his next TV appearance in the 2001 Orleans Casino Open, May faced none other than Walter Ray Williams Jr., who May overcame, 216-214, before falling to Michael Haugen Jr., 228-193.
Castillo continues hot streak
Non-exempt bowler Dino Castillo continued to keep pace with most of the exempt bowlers, as he not only qualified for the Round of 64 for the fourth consecutive week but he also made match play for the fourth time in a row.
Castillo this week became the second bowler ever to qualify in four consecutive weeks, joining Troy Wollenbecker who set the record last week. He also joined Tom Daugherty (2004-05) and Bo Goergen (2005-06) as the only bowlers to lead the TQR in two consecutive weeks.
By qualifying for the seventh time overall, Castillo is now one shy of tying the mark for most TQR qualifications in a season. Tim Mack and Jeff Carter each qualified eight times in 2004-05, but what was more impressive about Mack and Carter’s feat is that they had fewer opportunities to make the Round of 64.
In 2004-05, no event awarded more than five spots for the Round of 64 through the TQR. This season, there have not been any events where less than six spots were taken from the TQR, and there have been four weeks in which at least eight spots were taken. That’s not to take away from Castillo’s accomplishment, however, as Castillo has been in the top five or better six of the seven times he’s qualified.
Castillo had to make quite a run to make match play Thursday, improving 30 spots from the end of the first block to the end of the second block, going from 47th to 17th.
Same guys, different week
More from the TQR: this week all six bowlers who qualified – Castillo, Greg Thompson Jr., Chad Kloss, Edward VanDaniker Jr., D.J. Archer and Steve Weber – also qualified through last week’s TQR. That marks the first time in the three seasons of the TQR every qualifier advanced two consecutive weeks.
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