January 21, 2008 19:00
Danny Wiseman and Michael Fagan are at opposite ends of the spectrum in their careers but they’ve joined forces in this week’s PBA Exempt Doubles Classic and are one win away from a Denny’s PBA Tour title.
Wiseman, who owns 11 career Denny’s PBA Tour titles, and Fagan, who is looking for his first, teamed up to go 9-6-1 in match play to earn the top seed for Sunday’s stepladder finals at Red Rock Lanes.
The 40-year-old Wiseman, who went 7-9 in his matches, and the 27-year-old Fagan, who went 12-4, will look to win the first doubles event on the Denny’s PBA Tour since 2001.
“I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be doing this,” Wiseman (Baltimore, Md.) said of bowling on Tour. “It would be nice to help Michael win that first title. I’ve seen him grow as a player over the years and I know how talented he is. It would be really nice to help him get the first one and get him started to many more.”
Wiseman pointed to their similar styles as the key to their success.
“We played the lanes similar down the lane at the break point. His rev rate is much higher than mine and his motion is much stronger so he was deeper at the lay down area but the angles to the pocket were similar,” Wiseman said. “It varied throughout the day as the lanes transitioned but we were able to follow each other all day and it was just a matter of making good shots and making spares.”
Fagan, who is making his fifth career TV appearance compared to 44 by Wiseman, has no qualms about winning his first career title in a doubles event.
“I’d love to bowl the Tournament of Champions and I’ll take it however I can get it,” Fagan (Patchogue, N.Y.) said. “Once you get the monkey off your back and get the first one hopefully the others come easier.”
Earning the No. 2 seed was the 14th-seeded team heading into match play of Mike Scroggins and Bill O’Neill, who went a tournament best 12-4 to make the finals. Scroggins knows all about making big comebacks as he won four matches as the No. 5 seed to win last week’s Motel 6 Dick Weber Open for his fourth career Denny’s PBA Tour title.
The first match is between the No. 3 seed Chris Barnes and Wes Malott, who went 9-7, and the No. 4 seed Joe Ciccone and Ronnie Russell, who went 11-5. The teams are a stark contrast to each other as Barnes and Malott own a combined 11 Denny’s PBA Tour titles while Ciccone and Russell will each be looking for their first title. Ciccone has made just five career championship round appearance while Russell will be making his first.
Teams earned 30 bonus pins for each team win and also were rewarded 10 points for individual wins. Each match was split into two singles matches on top of a double match.
The four teams advance to Sunday’s stepladder final round, which takes place immediately following the live ESPN-televised final round of the 2008 H&R Block Tournament of Champions, which begins tomorrow at Red Rock Lanes. The finals will air tape-delayed on ESPN Sunday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. EST.
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