Rookie Cassidy Schaub of Polk, Ohio, slowed his record scoring pace, but retained his lead as the top 24 qualifiers in the Pepsi Red, White and Blue Open presented by the United States Bowling Congress headed into match play Thursday night at Northrock Lanes.
Schaub finished the qualifying portion of the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour event with a 24-game total of 5,991 pins – shy of the PBA 24-game record of 6,109 by Pete Weber in Las Vegas in 1996 – but held onto a 25-pin lead over Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla., after eight games Thursday morning on the USBC’s Blue lane conditioning pattern.
Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, who momentarily took the lead after rolling one of the event’s 19 perfect games, sat in third place with 5,957 pins. Billy Oatman of Chicago was fourth with a 5,952 total and Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y., was fifth at 5,926 pins.
The happiest player in the building, however, was 23-year-old Jack Ness of Gastonia, N.C., who finished 25th, missing the cut to match play by six pins in his very first PBA Tour event.
Disappointed, yes, but the fact that Ness was even bowling in Wichita is something of a miracle.
On June 26, two days before he was scheduled to bowl in a PBA South Regional tournament, Ness woke up and was virtually blind in his left eye.
“I was diagnosed with a tumor on the pituitary gland on my brain,” he said. “I started losing my vision; the tumor had gotten so big it was pinching my optic nerve. They put me on some medication to shrink it because it was too big to take out surgically. The medicine didn’t work, so now I’m on a different medicine. I’ll be on it three months and do another MRI and then we’ll consider possible surgery.”
Ness said he went to his eye doctor after waking up with his vision gone. His eye doctor referred him to a retina specialist, who ordered an MRI “and that’s when they found the tumor.”
The tumor is non-malignant, Ness said, and if it can be controlled by medication, maybe he can avoid surgery. If not? He has had the experience of a lifetime.
“It’s disappointing to look at the leader board and see my name in 25th place, but I’m going to hang around as alternate (in case anyone gets ill or injured),” he said. “There was a lot of pressure, but I had a lot of fun. For my first national tournament, the experience I got here was amazing.”
Ness works at a bowling center back home. He has bowled since his father introduced him to the game at age 4. “I’ve been gung-ho ever since,” he said. “I joined the PBA about a year ago and I’ve bowled some regionals, but I decided to come to Wichita kind of on a whim. I just decided to come out and have some fun, and see if I could compete.”
If it’s any consolation to Ness, he got knocked out of the match play field by reigning PBA Player of the Year Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, who slipped past the North Carolina rookie in the final game.
The Pepsi Red, White and Blue Open presented by the USBC is being conducted on three different lane conditioning patterns the USBC plans to introduce on an optional basis to American league bowlers in cooperation with the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America for the 2010-11 winter league season. Similar in concept to golf’s tee system, the USBC Red condition is the most forgiving pattern, the White condition is a medium challenge and the Blue pattern is the most challenging.
The top 24 will bowl three eight-game rounds of round-robin match play on the Red, White and Blue patterns, respectively, Thursday night and Friday. The top six will then advance to the championship round which will be taped Sunday to air on ESPN on Sunday, Jan. 10.
It took a 236.38 average on the three lane conditioning patterns to advance to match play. With six more 300 games on the Blue pattern Thursday morning, the tournament total is now 19. The PBA record for most 300s in a single tournament is 24, set in Peoria, Ill., in 1995.
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA TOUR
PESPI RED, WHITE AND BLUE OPEN PRESENTED BY USBC
Northrock Lanes, Wichita, Kan., Dec. 10
THIRD ROUND QUALIFYING (after 24 games)
1, Cassidy Schaub, Polk, Ohio, 5,991
2, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 5,966
3, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 5,957
4, Billy Oatman, Chicago, 5,952
5, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 5,926
6, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 5,919
7, Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 5,892
8, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 5,869
9, Todd Book, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 5,858
10, Wayne Garber, Modesto, Calif., 5,853
11, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 5,828
12, Cory Simmons, Wichita, Kan., 5,826
13, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 5,810
14, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 5,794
15, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 5,782
16, Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., 5,768
17, David Ruder, Edmond, Okla., 5,757
18, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 5,738
19, Gilbert Sanchez, Milvane, Kan., 5,709
20, Mitch Beasley, Puyallup, Wash., 5,696
20, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 5,696
22, Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 5,684
23, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 5,679
24, Andrew Mortensen, Tulsa, Okla., 5,673
Did not advance:
25, Jack Ness, Gastonia, N.C., 5,668, $1,900
26, Andrew Cain, Scottsdale, Ariz., 5,660, $1,850
27, (tie) Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., and Matt McFayden, Derby, Kan., 5,659, $1,775
29, Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan., 5,654, $1,700
30, Rhino Page, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 5,637, $1,750
31, Dave D'Entremont, Middleburg Heights, Ohio, 5,614, $1,600
32, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 5,606, $1,550
33, Steve Harman, Indianapolis, 5,578, $1,500
34, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 5,561, $1,450
35, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 5,553, $1,440
36, Rick Lawrence, Waxahachie, Texas, 5,550, $1,430
37, G. Brett Cunningham, Clay, N.Y., 5,496, $1,420
38, Timothy Banks, Gulfport, Miss., 5,456, $1,410
39, Brett Cooper, Aurora, Colo., 5,448, $1,400
300 Games (19) – Mitch Beasley, Tommy Jones, Todd Book, Leroy Willis Jr., Billy Oatman, Scott Newell, Michael Machuga, Cassidy Schaub (2), Liz Johnson, Derek Hartnell, Cory Simmons, Gilbert Sanchez, Ritchie Allen, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Brad Angelo, Mike Scroggins, Jason Sterner, Rhino Page.