March Madness

by PBA Editor March 20, 2007 19:00
As they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going and in the 2007 Denny’s World Championship the going is about as tough as it can get. Several exempt bowlers trying to hang on to their exemptions for 2007-08 are showing their toughness this week.

Just four bowlers between 33rd and 45th in the PBA World Point Rankings coming into this week have been eliminated, three of which still have a chance to stay in the top 40. The 34th, 35th and 36th-ranked bowlers coming into this week – Billy Oatman, Dino Castillo and Mike Machuga, respectively – will all hold their breath as eight bowlers directly behind them in the standings advanced to Thursday’s fourth round of qualifying while they were eliminated. One of those eight, Tom Baker, holds the cut number in his hands. Should he drop below 39th in points, the cut line would move from 39th to 38th.

Castillo is in no jeopardy of losing his exemption, but four bowlers still in the non-exempt points race are hoping he stays in the top 39. Ronnie Russell, Edward Van Daniker, Chad Kloss and Troy Wollenbecker all advanced to Thursday’s fourth round.

Other bowlers around the cut line advancing to Thursday were Chris Warren (37th heading into this week), Baker (38th), Tim Criss (39), Patrick Healey Jr. (40), Brian Voss (41), Rick Steelsmith (44) and Dale Traber (45). At 42nd, John May was eliminated from contention as well as 43rd-ranked Chris Hayden, who did not bowl this week.

By making the fourth round, Brian Himmler (31), Danny Wiseman (32) and Eugene McCune (33) all but wrapped up exemptions for 2007-08.

With so many bowlers still in the tournament, anything can happen as the 2006-07 Denny’s PBA Tour season comes to down to an exciting finish.

The drama won’t completely end this week, however, as next week’s PBA Tournament of Champions could potentially have some bearing on the point rankings. Should one of the non-exempt bowlers participating in next week’s event win the title, the cut number would move up one spot.
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