It happens on occasion.
A bowler competes in a tournament and doesn’t think his or her score is good enough to make the cut for the next round and is nowhere near the bowling center. But, it turns out the score’s good enough and there’s a tie for the cut. The bowler then has to scramble to get back to the center. Sometimes they make it and sometimes they don’t.
Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open competitor Ron Dixon of Boynton Beach, Fla., experienced this scenario Thursday after third round qualifying at Brunswick Zone Carolier, but under some remarkable circumstances.
Here’s the scene…PBA Tour Tournament Director Corey Kistner announces there is a three-way tie for the final two cut positions. Two of the three bowlers, Jeffrey Voght and Tom Smallwood, are at the center ready to go. The highest two of the three scorers in the roll-off will advance to Friday’s final qualifying round.
The third bowler—Dixon—is nowhere to be found. According to PBA rules, a player has 30 minutes from the time the cut score is announced to be present for any roll-offs.
Here’s a timeline of how Dixon makes it to the center on time.
Thursday morning – Dixon, a PBA member, pro shop owner, motorsports enthusiast and amateur motorcycle racer, finishes his third round posting a 3,545 score for 18 games. His racing skills would later come in handy.
Thursday afternoon – Dixon and his girlfriend, USBC Junior Team USA member Dayna Galganski make arrangements with PBA Hall of Famer and good friend Amleto Monacelli to take the train into in New York City for dinner.
Thursday evening – All three are enjoying dinner in New York City when Dixon starts getting phone calls and messages from friends at the center and in Florida following the tournament on pba.com, saying that his score is actually starting to look pretty good to make the cut.
Dixon is starting to get nervous and Monacelli dryly suggests that they probably shouldn’t have had dinner in the city this evening.
Later that evening – Final third round qualifying block ends and cut score is announced at 10:15 p.m. Dixon and company areon their way back from New York and arrive at the train station in New Jersey when Dixon gets a call from friend Chuck Gardner confirming that he qualifies for the roll-off and has until 10:45 to make it to the center.
After arriving at the station, Dixon and company have to first take a taxi to the hotel to get changed into his bowling apparel. He runs up to his hotel room changes and then dashes out of the hotel while Galganski gets the rental car.
Dixon drives, putting his racing skills to good use. The ball he wants to use is in the car and Galganski has to make some minor preparations on the ball while Dixon literally races to get back to the center.
Meanwhile, at the center Voght and Smallwood are preparing for the rolloff but time is running out for Dixon.
As Kistner made the announcement that one minute remained before the roll-off, Dixon and Galganski make it to the center parking lot but they pull up to the wrong entrance and Dixon has to run most of the length of one of the longest bowling center concourses on Tour to get to lanes 35-36 for the roll-off. Out of breath, he makes it to the lanes with less than 30 seconds to spare.
The end result—Dixon and Smallwood advance to Friday morning’s qualifying round with Dixon rolling a 239 and Smallwood, 183. Voght fails to advance by being the lowest scorer with 147.
“When I got all the calls I started getting worried,” Dixon said. “From the moment I got the call from Chuck it was all adrenalin.”
“It isn’t like me to be late or not show up for something like this—I like to think I’m pretty responsible,” he added. “I thought my chances of making it were pretty slim after all that. Normally I’m early for squads because I like to be deliberate about my preparation and make sure everything is just right.
“It all worked out in spite of it all.”