Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour Player of the Year Wes Malott likes what he sees on the lanes in the DYDO Japan Cup 2009.
After shooting 219 in the first game, Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, turned up the heat and never looked back qualifying with a 3,060 12-game pinfall Friday at the Shinagawa Prince Bowling Center to earn the top seed for Saturday’s match play.
Malott, who opened the second qualifying block with an 837-series, credits the DYDO Japan Cup 2009 oil pattern for his success. This year’s pattern measures 42 feet in length and most closely resembles the PBA’s Scorpion pattern.
“After I saw the similarities between the two patterns yesterday in practice, I had a lot of confidence coming into today,” Malott, who won both the Carmen Salvino Scorpion Championship and Etonic Marathon Championship on the Scorpion pattern this season, said. “It was a little tighter today compared to what I saw in practice which forced me to stay slow and get my hand around it. I made good adjustments and got a lot of good breaks which allowed me to keep my arm swing loose and continue to make good shots.”
Patrick Allen, who made the Japan Cup championship round in 2005, is in second with 2,907 while defending champion Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., who won his eighth Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title and a tournament championship in 11 different countries at the Dydo Japan Cup 2008, finished third with 2,851.
First time participant Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., is fourth with 2,843 and Chris Barnes, Flower Mound, Texas is fifth with 2,838.
Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., and Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., tied for the 48th position with 2,679. By Japanese Professional Bowlers Association (JPBA) rules, Williams earns the final spot due to bowling the most consistent set of four, three-game blocks. The player with the smallest difference between the low three-game set and the high three-game set determines who makes the cut.
Two-time Japan Cup champion Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C. and PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., who finished 61st and 91st, respectively, join Angelo as the only Tour players who missed the cut.
The 144-person Japan Cup field, consisting of 90 combined JPBA and Korean Professional Bowlers Association (KPBA) entries, 20 PBA entries and 34 Japanese amateurs, was cut to the top 48 after Friday’s qualifying round. Players who finished in positions #17 - #48 will bowl match play tomorrow morning. The winners will then face players ranked #1 – 16 in the round of 32. The round of 16 will be held Friday evening with the eight winners advancing to the TV finals on Sunday, April 26 at the Tokyo Metro Gymnasium. All match play features best-of-five-games match play.
For more updates from Japan, follow the PBA on Twitter.