In Harman-y

by PBA Editor January 2, 2008 19:00
Steve Harman’s rookie season on the Denny’s PBA Tour has been up-and-down so far, but with his performance Thursday, he may be ready for a break out second half.

Harman led the Round of 64 in the 2008 Championship at the National Bowling Stadium with a 3,085 14-game pinfall to earn the top seed for Friday’s match play.

The 33-year-old finished third in the 2007 Lake County Indiana Denny’s PBA Tour Trials last summer to earn his first career exemption, but he was inconsistent the first half of this season and came into the week 48th in the PBA World Point Rankings. He made match play just three times in the first eight events, but did have a confidence-building ninth-place finish in the Lumber Liquidators Championship, the second-to-last event of the first half.

“The first half was trying, exhausting and up-and-down, more than anything. I just haven’t been able to put two weeks together,” Harman (Indianapolis) said. “I just needed a couple weeks to refresh my mind. This is the first time I’ve been away from my family.”

On Thursday, Harman got off to a slow start in the first seven-game block, averaging just 197.40 over the first five games, but he made a ball change and finished the block with games of 278 and 255. He used a completely different ball for the entire second block and averaged 223.57 over the final seven games to take the lead.

“The last two games (the first block) I grabbed a ball I hadn’t thrown all day and moved to a completely different part of lane to see what would happen and I just kept striking,” Harman said. “I didn’t throw that ball all night tonight though. The lanes played a lot tighter for me than they did this morning.”

Harman is confident he can improve on his first half performance with at least one event on each of the PBA’s five different patterns under his belt.

“The second time I’m seeing the patterns, I’m bowling better on them,” Harman said. “When you bowl in the regionals the lanes break down totally different. As well as I bowled today, that gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.”

Harman will face No. 32 Roger Kossert (Brandon, Fla.), a PBA Senior Tour bowler who earned the final spot in match play by just two pins over Jack Jurek.

Three players who enjoyed a lot of success in the first half of the season follow Harman. Chris Barnes (Double Oak, Texas), who is second in the PBA World Point Rankings, finished second with 3,050. PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III (Jackson, N.J.), who won the final event of the first half for his 31st career title, finished third with 3,006 while all-time Denny’s PBA Tour titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. finished fourth with 3,004. Williams (Ocala, Fla.) dominated the first half of the season, winning two titles and making five championship round appearances.

Barnes will face No. 31 Ryan Shafer (Horseheads, N.Y.), Bohn will face No. 30 Michael Fagan (Patchogue, N.Y.) while Williams will face No. 29 Curtis Woods Jr. (Santa Rosa, Calif.) in Friday’s single elimination match play Round of 32.

Defending champion Patrick Allen (Wesley Chapel, Fla.), who has already won one title this season, finished eighth with 2,943 and will face No. 25 Riga Kalfas. Last season, Allen tied a PBA record by going 14-0 in match play en route to the title.

The top 32 advanced to match play Friday which gets underway at Noon PST. The Rounds of 32 and 16 take place Friday with the Round of 8 taking place Saturday morning.
The final four will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN-televised finals which take place at the National Bowling Stadium at 10 a.m. PST. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 Denny’s PBA Tour season.
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