May 28, 2008 19:00
Craig Tuholski took a big step Thursday toward securing his first career Denny’s PBA Tour exemption.
Tuholski posted the third-best score of the day by averaging 229.11 on the difficult Shark oil pattern to take the lead after two days in the 2008 Lake County Indiana Denny’s PBA Tour Trials at Stardust Bowl II.
The competition features nearly 100 competitors bowling nine games a day over five days with the top seven bowlers after 45 games earning exemptions for the 2008-09 PBA Tour season.
The 33-year-old Tuholski just missed out on an exemption recently by finishing second in the PBA Northwest Region by just 3,000 points. He put himself in a good position to gain redemption Thursday as he sits atop the standings with a 4,144 18-game pinfall.
“The first two patterns used this week have actually been ones I’ve struggled on the last few years. It must be the wood surface helping me plays these lanes better,” Tuholski (Washougal, Wash.) said. “Normally you have to throw the ball soft on these patterns but on the wood I’m able to throw it a little harder which is my game.”
Tuholski, a six-time PBA Regional Tour champion, was seventh after the first day, but he used an opening game Thursday of 257 to get off to a good start and had a high game of 275 in game 13 overall to propel him to the lead.
Troy Wollenbecker, who finished fifth in last summer’s Tour Trials to earn an exemption but was unable to maintain his exempt status, had the day’s second-best score to move into second overall.
“I had my opportunities last year to stay exempt but I didn’t make shots when I needed to,” Wollenbecker (Miami, Fla.) said. “When you don’t make shots when you need to against those guys out there you end up back here. That’s reality. When you bowl against Tommy Jones and Chris Barnes you have to bring your “A” game every time.”
Wednesday’s leader Chad Kloss (Greenfield, Wis.) fell to third overall with 4,094 while Jason Lundquist (Delaware Water Gap, Pa.) moved up to fourth. Jeff Fehr (Cincinnati) stayed in the top seven but went from fourth to fifth while Lonnie Waliczek (Wichita), who shared the lead with Kloss after Wednesday’s nine games, is sixth.
Brian LeClair (Athens, N.Y.), another 2007 Tour Trials alum who is looking to regain his exemption, is seventh with 4,010.
Thursday’s nine-game block, which takes place on the Scorpion pattern, gets underway at 9 a.m. CT.
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