INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Robert Smith of Columbus, Ohio, rolled into the early first round lead in the 67th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Woodland Bowl Tuesday, averaging 235.3 for his first six games to take a 44-pin lead over defending champion Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas.
With one-third of the field of 352 yet to bowl Tuesday, Smith led with a 1,396 pinfall total. Scroggins was second with 1,352 followed by three players who are looking for their first PBA Tour titles: Chad Kloss of West Allis, Wis., with a 1,348 total, Ryan Abel of Bel Aire, Kan., and Ken Simard of Greenville, S.C., tied at 1,346.Smith, a 36-year-old 13-year PBA Tour veteran, has won seven PBA Tour titles, including the 2000 U.S. Open.
“This is by far my favorite tournament,” Smith said. “You go into this event knowing you can’t give away the headpin. You’re going to have your good games and your bad games, but you can’t give anything away. It calls for a different mindset.
“I fell into something today, and I basically had two pockets – the 1-3 and the Brooklyn side. It was a good day.”
Smith, one of the strongest players ever to compete on the PBA Tour, has admittedly had an up-and-down career, partly due to injuries caused by his power game. After 13 years of wear-and-tear, he is forcing himself to adapt.
“I feel healthy for the first time in awhile,” he said, “but my game has changed. I’m not the gorilla I thought I was once upon a time. Mentally, I still am, but physically, no. I can’t do what I used to do. I’m learning to deal with it.”
All players in the U.S. Open will bowl 18 qualifying games before the field is cut to the top 87 for an additional qualifying round Friday morning. The top 24 will then advance to eight-game match play rounds Friday night and Saturday to determine the four finalists for Sunday’s live ESPN telecast at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. At stake in the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour’s final major championship of the 2009-10 season is a $60,000 first prize and a three-year PBA Tour exemption.
EARLY FIRST ROUND (top 50 after 6 games, 2/3 of field only)
1, Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, 1,396.
2, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 1,352.
3, Chad Kloss, West Allis, Wis., 1,348.
4, (tie) Ryan Abel, Bel Aire, Kan., and Ken Simard, Greenville, S.C., 1,346.
6, Dave D'Entremont, Middleburg Heights, Ohio, 1,342.
7, Tim Mack, Indianapolis, 1,320.
8, Todd Book, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 1,318.
9, Chris Tomlinson, Franklin, Tenn., 1,315.
10, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 1,308.
11, Troy Wollenbecker, Miami, 1,306.
12, Matthew Zasowski, Buffalo, N.Y., 1,304.
13, Peter Spreadbury, Oak Forest, Ill., 1,303.
14, Joel Carlson, Omaha, Neb., 1,298.
15, Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 1,293.
16, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,291.
17, (tie) Eddie Graham, Centerville, Ohio, and Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 1,289.
19, (tie) Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., and Jason Wojnar, Chicago, 1,288.
21, David Beres, Waukesha, Wis., 1,287.
22, (tie) Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., and Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 1,285.
24, (tie) Ronnie Russell, Camby, Ind.; PJ Haggerty, Clovis, Calif., and Patrick Kendall, Greentown, Ind., 1,283.
27, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 1,282.
28, Stevie Weber, Chalmette, La., 1,281.
29, Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., 1,278.
30, Eddie VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., 1,271.
31, Patrick Girard, Canada, 1,267.
32, Scott Lavy, Troy Mo, 1,265.
33, Fero Williams, Fairfield, Ohio, 1,263.
34, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 1,258.
35, Jeff Clark, Indianapolis, 1,256.
36, Scott Gilmore, Lafayette, Ind., 1,253.
37, Mike Ragon, Marion, Ind., 1,251.
38, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 1,250.
39, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,245.
40, Tim Pfeifer, Cranberry Twp., Pa., 1,243.
41, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1,238.
42, (tie) Luis Rodriguez, Puerto Rico; J.R. Raymond, Belleville, Ill., 1,237, and Luke Matthys, Lafayette, Ind., 1,237.
45, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 1,234.
46, Antonio Medina, Davenport, Iowa, 1,231.
47, Jeffrey Roche, Dearborn, Mich., 1,230.
48, (tie) Jerry Gentry Jr., Topeka, Kan.; Rudy Kasimakis, Baldwyn, Miss., and Timothy Behrendt, St Louis, 1,226.