May 29, 2008 19:00
The excitement of leading the Denny’s PBA Tour Trials nearly cost Craig Tuholski on Friday, but he got it together soon enough to maintain his lead heading into the final two days at Stardust Bowl II.
Tuholski averaged 222.78 over his nine games on the Scorpion oil pattern to keep his spot atop the standings with a 6,149 27-game pinfall.
Nearly 100 bowlers are competing in the event which features five days of competition, each on a different PBA oil pattern. The top seven bowlers after Sunday’s final nine-game block will earn one-season exemptions for the 2008-09 Denny’s PBA Tour.
Tuholski, who is looking for his first career exemption, admitted to letting some nerves get to him to start the third day of competition.
“I normally really like the Scorpion but this morning I came in and was tentative to start and a little nervous, to be honest,” Tuholski (Washougal, Wash.) said. “It took me a while to loosen up but then I started getting aggressive and pulled it back out of the cellar.”
Tuholski started with a 173 before improving his score in each of the next four games, peaking at a 258 in the fifth game of the day. After games of 237 and 246 he dipped back down with a 196 in game eight but he closed out the day with a 210 to keep his lead.
“I tried to be a little too perfect this morning,” Tuholski said. “In the middle of game three I got relaxed and let things go a little bit and switched to a Hammer Black Widow and that gave me a lot of room.”
After just missing an exemption via the PBA Northwest Region a couple months ago, Tuholski has come out with extra motivation this week.
“I had plenty of chances this year on the Regional Tour. I wasn’t bowling well early on so I skipped some events and that didn’t help but I also had my chances near the end,” Tuholski said. “There are a lot of games left this week but I’m in the best possible position I can imagine. But I can’t take anything for granted at this point.”
Five of the next six bowlers behind Tuholski were exempt in 2007-08 including Chad Kloss (Greenfield, Wis.) in second with 6,149, Troy Wollenbecker (Miami) in third with 6,058, Dave D’Entremont (Middleburg Heights, Ohio) in fifth with 6,025, Jason Wojnar (Chicago) in sixth with 5,995 and David Leverage (Peoria, Ariz.) in seventh with 5,976. D’Entremont had the best score of the day among all the competitors, averaging 241.56 on the Scorpion pattern.
Joe Bailey (Pittsburgh, Pa.), looking for his first career exemption, is fourth with 6,056.
Saturday’s nine-game block, which takes place on the Chameleon pattern, gets underway at 9 a.m. CT. The final nine-game block takes place Sunday on the Cheetah pattern from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s competition will air live on the PBA’s online video service, Xtra Frame, the first time the competition can be seen live. For details, go to www.pba.com/xtraframe.
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