March 14, 2007 19:00
After his flaws were self-admittedly exposed in the 64th U.S. Open, the second of four Majors on the 2006-07 Denny’s PBA Tour, Norm Duke has put together the total package in the perfect time of the season.
Duke (Clermont, Fla.), who remains in the hunt for the 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year race with two previous titles this season, posted a seven-game total pinfall of 1,806 in the first block of qualifying to lead the field of 64 in the 2007 Pepsi Championship at Woodland Bowl.
“I really wasn’t sharp in the U.S. Open. I didn’t have enough time back from my injury to take inventory of what all I was missing. The U.S. Open definitely exposed my bad traits,” said Duke. “Over the break I went home and really worked hard on my flaws. I was able to be alone and address my problems by myself. I told my wife that I was locked in with what was wrong with my game.”
Duke ended the first block with a 278, his fourth game of the block over the 278 mark.
Chris Warren (Grants Pass, Ore.) is in second with 1,720 after finishing with a 256, his fourth game over the 250 mark.
Dino Castillo (Carrollton, Texas), who advanced from Wednesday’s Tour Qualifying Round for a PBA record ninth time this season, is in third with 1,713.
All-time PBA Tour titles leader and last year’s champion in Indianapolis, Walter Ray Williams Jr. (Ocala, Fla.), sits in fourth with 1,677.
Ryan Shafer (Horseheads, N.Y.) rounds out the top five with 1,655.
Kelly Kulick, the first-ever exempt female on the Denny’s PBA Tour, is one spot back in sixth. Kulick (Union, N.J.) fired one of the block’s two 300 games in her fourth game and finished with a 236 in her seventh game to finish with 1,648.
All 64 bowlers return Thursday evening for another seven games at 6 p.m. EST. The top 32 will advance to Friday’s round-robin match play beginning at 11 a.m.
The top five bowlers will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at 12:30 p.m. EST at Woodland Bowl. The winner will take home $25,000 and a one-season Denny’s PBA Tour exemption.
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