LAS VEGAS – Tom Daugherty of Wesley Chapel, Fla., who set one of the most infamous records in Professional Bowlers Association history during the nationally-televised finals of the 2011 PBA Tournament of Champions, led the advance from the Champions Field to the Elite Field of the Tournament of Champions Monday at Red Rock Lanes.
Daugherty, who bowled the lowest televised game in PBA history – a 100 game in a 299-100 loss to eventual champion Mika Koivuniemi in the 2011 semifinal match – averaged 244.07 for 14 games Monday finishing with a total of 3,417 pins to lead the 21 players who advanced to the start of Elite Field qualifying Tuesday. Daugherty, who throws the ball without using his thumb, won the Champions Field round by 179 pins over fellow “thumbless” player Jim Pratt of Glendale, Ariz.
The Champions Field consisted of players who have won a PBA Regional, Senior Tour or Women’s Series title. Players in the Elite Field include PBA Tour title winners and 2011-12 PBA Tour exempt players.
Still ahead of Daugherty if he hopes to return to the championship round are 20 games of Elite Field qualifying and the “Round of 36” games which will decide the four players who will compete for $80,000 and the PBA Tour’s most prestigious title live on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
“I’m doing fine as long as there are no TV lights,” Daugherty said with a smile.
In order to return to Sunday’s television stage, Daugherty will have to duplicate a similar path he took last year when he worked his way through a 74-game gauntlet to reach the television stage for the first time in his career. This year, he’ll have to battle through 70 games.
“This center has nothing to do with the way I’m bowling,” Daugherty said. “It’s the lane condition. My ball reads this pattern right. I bowled on the same pattern back home and won two regionals.
“The number of games catches up as the week goes by,” he continued. “I finished third last year – that’s pretty good. I’d take third again this year.”
Daugherty said the last thing he thinks about is the 100 game he bowled in last year’s finals.
“That 100 game was the best thing that ever happened to me. I have no problem with it,” he said. “No one would remember me if I hadn’t bowled that game. No one remembers Tom Smallwood and he finished second last year.”
The 21-player Champions Field survivors will be joined by 56 PBA Tour title winners and exempt players for the start of Elite Field qualifying Tuesday. All Elite Field players will bowl two five-game qualifying rounds Tuesday and another pair of five-game rounds Wednesday, with the top 25 advancing to the Round of 36 along with 11 current season title winners.
PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Red Rock Lanes, Las Vegas, Monday
CHAMPIONS FIELD STANDINGS (after 14 games; top 21 advance to Elite Field):
1, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 3,417.
2, Jim Pratt, Glendale, Ariz., 3,238.
3, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 3,219.
4, Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 3,202.
5, Todd Book, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 3,106.
6, PJ Haggerty, Roseville, Calif., 3,102.
7, D.J. Archer, Port Arthur, Texas, 3,091.
8, Lee Vanderhoef, Greenville, S.C., 3,086.
9, Michael Steil, Wheeling, Ill., 3,084.
10, Brian LeClair, Athens, N.Y., 3,057.
11, Mike Bailey, Frisco, Texas, 3,049.
12, Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., 3,042.
13, Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, 3,041.
14, David Haynes, Las Vegas, 3,031.
15, Eddie VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., 3,021.
16, Missy Parkin, Lake Forest, Calif., 3,018.
17, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 3,007.
18, Jason Poli, West Des Moines, Iowa, 2,966.
19, Mike Dias, Lafayette, Colo., 2,963.
20, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 2,946.
21, Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, 2,919.
Did not advance:
22, Tony Rodriguez Jr., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., 2,914.
23, Gregory Thompson Jr., Dublin, Calif., 2,909.
24, David O'Sullivan, Sanford, Fla., 2,905.
25, John Furey, East Windsor, N.J., 2,894.
26, Kevin Gallagher, Torrance, Calif., 2,878.
27, J.T. Jackson, Sherman Oaks, Calif., 2,835.
28, Mark London, Gonzales, Texas, 2,769.
29, Frank Gallo Jr., Jacksonville, Fla., 2,768.
30, Corey Husted, Milwaukie, Ore., 2,763.
31, Thomas Patton Jr., Olathe, Kan., 2,730.
32, Joseph Greco, Jacksonville Beach, Fla., 2,693.
300 Game: Mike Bailey.