January 19, 2008 19:00
Though he still has a long way to go before catching Rhino Page in the PBA Rookie of the Year race, Ryan Ciminelli is still making quite a name for himself.
Ciminelli became just the fourth bowler to lead the Denny’s Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour Qualifying Round in consecutive events, shooting a 299 in his final game to overtake Page with a 1,772 seven-game pinfall and earn a spot in the PBA Exempt Doubles Classic at Red Rock Lanes.
The 21-year-old led the TQR field in the 2007 Lumber Liquidators Earl Anthony Medford Classic a little over a week ago and finished 10th overall in the event, falling to eventual champion Wes Malott in the Round of 16. He’s advanced to match play every time he’s qualified through the TQR in his career including last season as an amateur.
Ciminelli trailed Page heading into the final two games and it looked like Page might tie a PBA record by the leading the TQR field for the third time this season. Instead, Ciminelli shot 279 in game six and 299 in game seven to pass Page by six pins.
“The second game of the day I shot 300 so I got really comfortable but then I turned around and shot 180 and that got me a little on edge. It turned out to just be a bad pair and I got back on track,” Ciminelli (Cheektowaga, N.Y.) said. “Later in the block I was able to move in a little further and let the ball hook further down lane which I’m more comfortable doing. If it wasn’t for a couple ringing 7-pins I would’ve had back-to-back 300s.”
Page finished second with 1,766 to qualify for the eighth time in 10 tries this season, one shy of tying another record. He’s made three championship rounds this season out of the TQRs, making him the first rookie to make three TV appearances since 1967. Page had the only other 300 game of the day, which came in game one.
Two-time PBA Senior Tour champion Roger Kossert (Brandon, Fla.) continued to defy age as the 54-year old advanced to the Round of 64 for the fourth time this season, finishing third with 1,683. Kossert is coming off a week in which he finished 20th in the Motel 6 Dick Weber Open. Kossert and Ciminelli are among a handful of bowlers battling it out for the exemption which goes to the top non-exempt bowler in the PBA World Point Rankings at season’s end. Page currently leads that race as he is ninth in points, but the exemption would go to the next non-exempt bowler down the list should he stay in the top 40.
Vayle Floria (Cerritos, Calif.) finished fourth with 1,672, while four-time Denny’s PBA Tour titlist Dennis Horan Jr. (Temecula, Calif.) finished fifth with 1,669.
Edward VanDaniker Jr. (Essex, Md.), who is currently second in the non-exempt race behind Page, finished sixth with 1,660. He qualified for the sixth time this season, second only to Page.
Also earning spots in Monday’s Round of 64 were five-time Denny’s PBA Tour champion Eric Forkel (Las Vegas) in seventh, PBA Hall of Famer Wayne Webb (Sacramento, Calif.) in eighth, Tom Daugherty (Tampa) in ninth and Humberto Vazquez (San Pedro, Mexico) who was 10th. The top 10 PBA members and top amateur advanced as exempt bowler Ryan Shafer withdrew from the event.
Earning the final spot as the top amateur was Rick Benard (Henderson, Nev.) who finished 15th.
The Round of 64 gets underway Monday at 8 a.m. PST with two seven-game qualifying blocks. The top 32 will advance to the doubles portion of the event on Tuesday, where bowlers will be teamed up based on their qualifying position for round robin match play.
The top four teams will advance to Sunday’s championship round, which will air tape delayed on ESPN Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. EST.
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