March 20, 2007 19:00
Coming into this week, Denny’s PBA Tour veteran Tim Criss was staring down the end of his 15-year career. At 39th in the PBA World Point Rankings, he needs a strong performance to regain an exemption for the 2006-07 season.
Criss rose to the occasion Wednesday, taking a big step toward securing a spot on Tour for at least one more season, taking the lead after three rounds of qualifying in the 2007 Denny’s World Championship, the third of four Majors on the 2006-07 Denny’s PBA Tour schedule. Criss finished with a 4,154 18-game pinfall, good for a 230.78 average.
The top 39 in the PBA World Point Rankings earn exemptions for next season and Criss came into the week 39th. The five-time titlist was fifth after Tuesday’s second round, but averaged 236.83 over his six games on Wednesday, including a 279 in game five.
“My ‘A’ game matches up really well with what’s out there on the lanes this week. I just need to take advantage of this week and continue to play my game,” Criss (Bel Air, Md.) said. “With this week’s pattern, I’m able to slow my ball down and tilt the ball. I’m able to open up my angles which it seems like you don’t get to do too often on the standard PBA oil patterns.”
Finishing second was Jeff Lizzi (Sandusky, Ohio) with 4,100 followed by 11-time Denny’s PBA Tour titlist Danny Wiseman (Baltimore, Md.) with 4,099. The 2005 Denny’s World Championship runner-up Chris Loschetter (Avon, Ohio) and five-time titlist Chris Warren (Grants Pass, Ore.) round out the top five.
The top three candidates for 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year are all in the running to earn one of eight byes into Friday’s Round of Super 16. Pete Weber (St. Ann, Mo.) is 10th with 4,041, Wes Malott (Argyle, Texas) is 13th with 4,010 and Norm Duke (Clermont, Fla.) is 18th with 3,960. Malott and Weber sit 1-2 in the PBA World Point Rankings while Duke has won a Tour-high three titles this season, including last week’s Pepsi Championship.
Local favorite Jimmy Levendosky (Hudsonville, Mich.) excited the crowd by doubling in the 10th in the final game to finish with 3,778 and earn one of the final two spots in Thursday’s fourth round. Levendosky was 51st heading into the final game but fired a 211 to finish 49th. Michael Fagan finished 50th to earn the final spot in the cashers’ round.
The top 50 advance to Thursday’s final round of qualifying, after which the field will be cut to the top 40 for single elimination match which starts Thursday night. The top eight after qualifying earn a bye into Friday’s Round of Super 16.
The final four advance to Sunday’s live ESPN televised finals at 2 p.m. EST at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Mich. The winner will take home $50,000 and a four-season exemption through the 2010-11 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
300 Games (1) - Brad Angelo
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