Thunder Struck

by PBA Editor February 12, 2008 19:00
Rick Miller really knows how to bring the thunder.

Miller became the first amateur to lead the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round field as an amateur twice in his career, averaging 252.71 with a 1,769 seven-game pinfall to earn a spot in the Round of 64 in the 2008 Pepsi Championship at Thunder-Alley.

Three years ago at Thunderbowl in nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa, Miller led the field in the 2005 Greater Omaha Classic TQR with a nearly identical score of 1,760. He finished 25th overall in the event, falling to then-exempt bowler Chris Collins, 4-2, in the best-of-seven-game Round of 32.

“I must like the “Thunder” name,” Miller (Lincoln, Neb.) said. “I started out well and I was pretty relaxed. I had a good reaction and somehow struck a lot. After I made the move to the other side of the bowling center, the lanes started to break down a lot. I wasn’t making crisp shots and my ball wasn’t reacting the same way. I made a move to another ball and then had my worst game, but my reaction was good, I just didn’t throw it well. I stuck with that ball and shot 270.”

Miller jumped out to a huge lead with games of 289, 279 and 279 in the opening three games. He then shot 241 and 228 before switching balls and managing just a 175, but his ball change eventually paid off as he shot 278 the final game to take back the lead.

Tom Daugherty shot one of the three perfect games on the day and finished second with 1,754. Daugherty (Tampa, Fla.) has qualified six times through the TQR this season, including four of the last five weeks.

Tyler Jensen (Keller, Texas) finished third with 1,742 while Edward VanDaniker Jr. (Essex, Md.) set a Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round record by qualifying for the fifth consecutive week, finishing fifth with 1,719. VanDaniker has qualified eight times overall and is the favorite to earn an exemption as the top non-exempt bowler in the PBA World Point Rankings. VanDaniker is actually second in points among non-exempt bowlers but Rhino Page is currently ninth overall and should stay in the top 40 in points which would give VanDaniker the spot. Currently 49th in points, VanDaniker is also threatening to finish in the top 40.

Speaking of Page, he, too, broke a PBA record by qualifying for the 10th time this season, breaking Dino Castillo’s record of nine set last season. Page has missed the cut just twice in 12 attempts. On Wednesday, he finished eighth among PBA members and 11th overall with 1,624.

Liz Johnson (Cheektowaga, N.Y.) finished eighth overall and fifth among PBA members to earn a spot in the Round of 64 for the seventh time in her career. She was the first woman to advance through the TQR back in the 2004-05 season and since then is the only woman who has qualified at least once in each of the last four seasons. A total of six women have advanced through the TQR in the four seasons since the PBA opened its doors to women.

Also qualifying were Micah Gibbons (Springfield, Mo.), Walter Schaub II (Schaumburg, Ill.), Steve Rogers (Bourbonnais, Ill.) and P.J. Haggerty (Clovis, Calif.) who shot a 248 the final game to earn the final spot in the Rd. of 64 by just four pins.

Thursday’s Round of 64 gets underway at 10 a.m. CST and features two seven-game qualifying blocks. The top 32 will advance to round robin match play on Friday.

The top five after Friday’s match play will advance to Sunday’s championship round live on ESPN at 11:30 a.m. CST. The winner will take home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.

300 games - Dennis Horan Jr., Tom Daugherty, Tom Sorce.
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