Jason Poli decided it was time for “out with the old and in with the new.” Going into this week he got rid of all his previous equipment and started anew and that proved a to be smart game plan as he led Wednesday’s Tournament Qualifying Round of the CLR Carmen Salvino Scorpion Championship at Brunswick Zone Hawthorn.
Poli finished with 1,761 pins over the seven game block, averaging 251.57 and bested the field by at least 84 pins.
“I just got rid of the first 14 balls I was using over the summer and decided to start fresh because it wasn’t working for me anymore,” Poli said. “I practiced for three hours yesterday and worked with Rick Benoit. Today I just had the right ball, hit the right part of the lane, I made adjustments when I needed to and it worked. It feels really good. Everything has come together the last few months. I won two of the last four regional tournaments in the Midwest.”
The 29-year-old from West Des Moines, Iowa said the Scorpion lane pattern has been especially good to him.
“I actually won my first regional title on the Scorpion pattern and it was in my hometown (Pleasant Hill, Iowa on August 24, 2008),” he said. “You couldn’t have written a better script. But to see how much different it is out here (on the national tour) … the guys and the rev rates, I had to make some adjustments. There’s so much to learn out here.”
This is Poli’s second time advancing out of a TQR and his first time leading the field. His best career finish in a PBA national tournament was at the PBA World Championship earlier this year in Wichita, Kansas in 52nd place.
“I’m just going to come in with an open mind tomorrow and do whatever the lane’s telling me and just take it one shot at a time,” Poli said.
Also earning spots in Thursday’s Round of 64 were international star Tim Mack of Indianapolis, Ind. with 1,677 pins, Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y. with a score of 1,669, former exempt player Brian LeClair of Athens, N.Y. with 1,662, Robert Spigner of Vernon Hills, Ill. with 1,659 and amateur Peter Spreadbury of Oak Forest, Ill. at 1,619.
Local favorite Spigner and Ed Carter of Akron, Ohio actually tied for the fifth and final PBA member spot, forcing a one-game roll-off, with Spigner defeating Carter, 243-220 to advance.
Thursday’s men’s competition continues with the qualifying Round of 64, cutting down the field to the top 32 players. The women’s field will begin play on Thursday with its qualifying Round of 16, cutting the field down to 10.
CLR Carmen Salvino Scorpion Championship Format:
The field of 64 players will bowl two, 7-game qualifying rounds for a total of 14 games on Thursday, Nov. 27 in which the top 32 players advance to match play. Bowlers making the cut return on Friday morning, Nov. 28 for the first nine games of an 18 game round robin match play schedule. The field will then be cut to the top 16 players who will return on Friday evening for the second round of match play competition. At the conclusion of match play, the top four finalists will advance to stepladder competition, i.e. No. 5 vs. No. 4, winner vs. No. 3, winner vs. No. 2, en route to championship match, aired live on ESPN on Sunday, Nov. 30 at Noon CT/1 p.m. ET.
PBA Women’s Series Format
The field of 16 players will bowl two, 7-game qualifying rounds for a total of 14 games on Thursday, Nov. 27 in which the top 10 players advance to match play. Bowlers making the cut return on Friday evening, Nov. 28 for nine games of round robin match play competition. At the conclusion of match play, the top two finalists will compete in the championship match on Sunday, Nov. 30, aired live on ESPN at Noon CT/1 p.m. ET.