February 18, 2008 19:00
Tom Daugherty and Michael Fagan teamed up for a nice 1-2 punch on Tuesday.
Bowling on the same pair throughout the day, Daugherty led day one of qualifying in the 2008 Denny’s World Championship at Woodland Bowl, finishing with a 2,058 nine-game pinfall for a 228.67 average while Fagan finished fourth with 2,049. The Denny’s World Championship is the third of four Majors on the Denny’s PBA Tour.
Daugherty, a former exempt bowler looking to make his way back on Tour, bowled alongside Fagan, who earlier this season teamed up with Danny Wiseman to win the PBA Exempt Doubles Classic for his first career Denny’s PBA Tour title.
“It was nice bowling with Fagan. Having someone on your pair who is also bowling well, you feed off each other’s momentum,” Daugherty (Tampa, Fla.) said. “I got lucky to bowl with him, I think.”
Daugherty had a steady day, never falling below 200 in any of his games. He had a high game of 268 in game eight which propelled him to the lead.
The 32-year-old has bowled well this season through the weekly Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Rounds which take place in standard events, qualifying in four of the last five events. With this week being a Major and open field, Daugherty did not have to qualify, but he needs a strong performance to move up in the non-exempt points race. The top non-exempt bowler in the PBA World Point Rankings at season’s end earns a one-season exemption, and Daugherty is currently fourth in that race.
“I still have a long way to go to catch VanDaniker,” Daugherty said of non-exempt leader Edward VanDaniker Jr. “I have to have a big week. This is my first Major of the season so if I can have a big week and get myself back in the race with a couple tournaments to go, that would be nice.”
Daugherty has always bowled well in the Denny’s World Championship, finishing 35th two years ago, when the event was also held at Woodland Bowl, and 29th in 2005. He will look to earn one of the important byes through the first two rounds of match play given to the top eight bowlers after qualifying.
Chris Barnes (Double Oak, Texas), who is second in the PBA Player of the Year race behind PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr., fired a 290 in the final game of the night to move into second with 2,053. Behind Barnes in third is Sean Rash with 2,050. Rash (Wichita, Kan.) won the season’s first major, the 2007 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Masters.
Brian LeClair (Athens, N.Y.) finished fifth with 2,048 followed by Zulmazran Zulkifli of Malaysia with 2,046. The Denny’s World Championship features bowlers from five different continents.
All 228 competitors will bowl another nine games Wednesday after which the field will be cut to the top 57. Those bowlers will roll an additional nine games Thursday before the field is cut to the top 40 for match play.
The final four bowlers will advance to the live ESPN-televised finals on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 12:30 p.m. EST. The winner will take home $50,000 and two-season exemption 2009-10 season.
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