COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sean Rash of Wichita, Kan., charged out of sixth place to earn the top seeding position for Eliminator Rounds in the Professional Bowlers Association’s Etonic Don Johnson Eliminator at Sequoia Pro Bowl Friday, averaging 229.5 over 28 qualifying games including a 300 game.
Rash topped the field of 30 with a total of 6,426 pins, holding off Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., for the top qualifying position by 14 pins. Jones had a 6,412 total. Rash and Jones will be top seeds in two of the four Eliminator brackets; also earning top seeds were first round qualifying leader Michael Haugen Jr. of Carefree, Ariz., and U.S. Open champion Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa.
Two-time defending Eliminator champion Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, dropped to 22nd place and missed the cut for Saturday’s Eliminator Rounds.
Rash, a four-time PBA Tour winner who hasn’t won a title since 2007, said he went home last weekend after finishing 115th in the U.S. Open and worked with his former Wichita State University coach, Mark Lewis, to try to break out of a recent slump.
“We figured out some things I did when I was successful out here and worked on some bad habits I had developed,” Rash said. “After my lessons, I got in some good practice and came into the tournament confident in what I wanted to do, and I threw a bunch of strikes.
“At this level, there are 64 guys who can win on any one day, so for me, the mental aspect was just to make a cut. I’m very pleased today with where I’m at, but tomorrow all of the pinfall is wiped out and we start over. In a three-game match, anything can happen. You can’t take anything for granted, but I like this format. I used to bowl in survival events like this when I was an amateur. So tomorrow I’ll stay aggressive and take it from there.”
The surviving field to the 16 players will be seeded into groups of four for Saturday’s Eliminator Rounds. In each of three Eliminator rounds, the bowler with the lowest three-game, total pinfall score will be eliminated, and the winner of each group will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN finals starting at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. In Sunday’s finals, the player with the lowest game bowled each round will be eliminated until the champion is decided.
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA TOUR
ETONIC DON JOHNSON ELIMINATOR
Sequoia Pro Bowl, Columbus, Ohio, Friday
FOURTH ROUND (after 28 games)
1, Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan., 6,426, $100.
2, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 6,412.
3, Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 6,385.
4, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 6,367.
5, Joe Bailey, Doylestown, Ohio, 6,325.
6, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 6,311.
7, Steve Harman, Indianapolis, 6,266.
8, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 6,247.
9, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 6,207.
10, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 6,198.
11, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 6,188.
12, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 6,174.
13, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 6,171.
14, Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 6,165.
15, (tie) Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, and Osku Palermaa, Finland, 6,162.
DID NOT ADVANCE:
17, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 6,154, $2,500.
18, Ken Simard, Greenville, S.C., 6,090, $2,500.
19, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 6,080, $2,600.
20, Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 6,070, $2,500.
21, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 6,055, $2,500.
22, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 6,054, $2,500.
23, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 6,022, $2,600.
24, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 6,020, $2,600.
25, Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 6,004, $2,500.
26, George Lambert IV, Canada, 5,996, $2,500.
27, Todd Book, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 5,995, $2,500.
28, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 5,966, $2,500.
29, Tim Mack, Indianapolis, 5,964, $2,500.
30, Eddie VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., 5,920, $2,500.
300 Games (4): Eugene McCune, Rhino Page, Norm Duke, Sean Rash.
SATURDAY’S ELIMINATOR ROUND PAIRINGS
Group A: Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan.; Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y.; Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., and Osku Palermaa, Finland.
Group B: Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C.; Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y.; Steve Harman, Indianapolis, and Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas.
Group C: Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz.; Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich.; Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, and Mike DeVaney, San Diego.
Group D: Bill O’Neill, Southampton, Pa.; Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas; Joe Bailey, Doylestown, Ohio, and Andres Gomez, Colombia.