May 27, 2008 19:00
With his worst of the five PBA oil patterns out of the way, Chad Kloss is feeling good about his chances of earning his second career Denny’s PBA Tour exemption.
Kloss averaged 244.33 over his nine games Wednesday to tie Lonnie Waliczek for the lead after the first of five days of qualifying in the 2008 Lake County Indiana Denny’s PBA Tour Trials at Stardust Bowl II.
The top seven bowlers based on 45-game pinfall after the five days will receive exemptions for the 2008-09 PBA Tour.
Kloss and Waliczek are coming off opposite seasons in their bowling careers. The 31-year-old Kloss finished sixth in last year’s Tour Trials to earn his first career PBA Tour exemption. It was a sharp learning curve, however, and he finished just 49th in the PBA World Point Rankings forcing him back to Tour Trials.
Waliczek, meanwhile, owns two PBA Tour titles but has been unable to get back on Tour full-time since losing his exemption after the 2004-05 season. He took some time off from bowling recently to refresh and get his game back on track.
Both finished with a 2,199 nine-game pinfall on the Viper oil pattern. Each of the five days of competition takes place on one of the five standard PBA oil patterns. Thursday’s nine games will be held on Shark pattern.
“This is my worst pattern, or it used to by my worst pattern,” Kloss (Greenfield, Wis.) said. “I drilled a Storm ball yesterday and it was exactly what I needed. Everything just fell into place today.”
Kloss was confident coming into this week’s event due to his success last summer but anxious to repeat that success.
“Honestly, I was more nervous coming into this year’s event. I don’t know if it was being out on Tour for a year and wanting to be back out there again but game one I missed a spare in the 10th frame and I was really upset with myself,” Kloss said. “From there, I just tried to focus harder.”
Kloss, who had a high game of 287 in game six, was just 39th after the first day of Tour Trials in 2007 but slowly climbed up the standings throughout the week on his way to a sixth-place finish. He’ll look to stay atop the standings on his favorite pattern on Thursday.
Waliczek (Wichita, Kan.), whose last title came in 2003, had the lone 300 game of the day. He was perfect in the second of nine games and never looked back.
Christopher Blackmore (Alexandria, Va.) and Jeff Fehr (Cincinnati), who are each shooting for their first career exemptions, finished third and fourth respectively. Brian LeClair (Athens, N.Y.), who finished fourth in last year’s Tour Trials, is fifth.
Don Stephenson (Palm Bay, Fla.) finished sixth while Craig Tuholski (Washougal, Wash.) finished seventh. Both bowlers are also looking for their first exemptions.
Thursday’s nine-game block gets underway at 9 a.m. CT.
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