COLUMBUS, Ohio – Michael Haugen Jr. of Carefree, Ariz., after battling injuries the past three seasons, charged into the first round lead in the Etonic Don Johnson Eliminator Thursday at Sequoia Pro Bowl, averaging 247.43 for seven games to take a four-pin lead over 2010 U.S. Open champion Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa.
Haugen, a 43-year-old two-time Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title winner, posted a seven-game total of 1,732 pins in his bid for his first title since winning the 2008 PBA Tournament of Champions. O’Neill, who won the U.S. Open Sunday in Indianapolis for his second career and 2009-10 title, finished with 1,728 pins.
“I’ve been struggling a little this year,” Haugen said, “but I was really looking forward to bowling here in Columbus. I bowled straight across the center today, from the low end to the high end, and the lanes hooked a little more as I moved. I was able to throw the ball hard and let it hook, and that was nice for me.
“I’ve been bowling pretty well. I bowled well at USBC Masters and at the U.S. Open, but this week the pins are falling,” Haugen added. “I don’t know why. Some weeks the pins fall, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it’s just a matter of waiting to catch a lane condition that works for you.”
In third place was Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., with a 1,634 total followed by Ken Simard of Greenville, S.C., at 1,629 and Rhino Page of Dade City, Fla., at 1,619. Simard made it into the field of 64 when Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., withdrew after hurting his back during a practice session on Tuesday.
Following an additional seven-game qualifying round Thursday night, the top 30 will advance to two more seven-game rounds on Friday. Those 30 will then be trimmed to the top 16 who will be seeded into four groups of four for Saturday’s Eliminator Rounds.
In the Eliminator rounds, the bowler with the lowest three-game, total pinfall score will be eliminated. After three rounds, the surviving player in each of the four groups will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN finals starting at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. In three televised rounds Sunday, the player with the lowest game bowled will be eliminated until the champion is decided.
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA TOUR
ETONIC DON JOHNSON ELIMINATOR
Sequoia Pro Bowl, Columbus, Ohio, Thursday
FIRST ROUND (after 7 games)
1, Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 1,732.
2, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 1,728.
3, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 1,634.
4, Ken Simard, Greenville, S.C., 1,629.
5, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 1,619.
6, (tie) Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan.; Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y., and Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 1,615.
9, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 1,610.
10, (tie) Chad Kloss, West Allis, Wis., and Andres Gomez, Colombia, 1,604.
12, Tim Mack, Indianapolis, 1,598.
13, Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 1,593.
14, Steve Harman, Indianapolis, 1,588.
15, Brian Waliczek, Birch Run, Mich., 1,560.
16, Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 1,557.
17, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 1,553.
18, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 1,550.
19, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,547.
20, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 1,546.
21, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,542.
22, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 1,541.
23, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,539.
24, Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, 1,532.
25, (tie) George Lambert IV, Canada; Derek Sapp, Keokuk, Iowa, and Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 1,525.
28, Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 1,524.
29, Stuart Williams, England, 1,521.
30, Wayne Garber, Modesto, Calif., 1,519.
31, Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 1,516.
32, (tie) Osku Palermaa, Finland, and Joe Bailey, Doylestown, Ohio, 1,515.
34, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 1,514.
35, (tie) Troy Wollenbecker, Miami; Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., and Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 1,506.
38, (tie) Eddie VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., and Cassidy Schaub, Ashland, Ohio, 1,500.
40, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 1,498.
41, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 1,493.
42, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,485.
43, Ronnie Russell, Camby, Ind., 1,480.
44, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,479.
45, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 1,475.
46, Mitch Beasley, Puyallup, Wash., 1,469.
47, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 1,468.
48, Brian Voss, Alpharetta, Ga., 1,466.
49, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 1,460.
50, Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill., 1,452.
51, Jimmy Johnson, Pataskala, Ohio, 1,451.
52, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 1,449.
53, Todd Book, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 1,437.
54, Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., 1,436.
55, Stevie Weber, Chalmette, La., 1,432.
56, PJ Haggerty, Clovis, Calif., 1,413.
57, John May, Lincolnton, N.C., 1,405.
58, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 1,404.
59, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 1,399.
60, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 1,397.
61, Eddie Graham, Centerville, Ohio, 1,389.
62, (tie) Billy Oatman, Chicago, and Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,352.
64, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., withdrew (knee injury)