News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Kegler's Korner

March 3, 2007

Kegler's Korner: Professionals, top amateurs grinding it out in second of four PBA Majors

TERRE HAUTE — The second of four Majors on the Denny’s PBA Tour will wrap up today with the televised final round of the 64th U.S. Open being competed in North Brunswick, N.J.

Today’s stepladder finals begin earlier than usual, starting at noon (EST) on ESPN television. At stake for this week’s winner is $100,000 and a three-season exemption through the 2009-10 season.

A capacity field of 492 bowlers — the field was filled a week early — have been grinding it out in the most rigorous of the PBA Tour’s events.

The large number of competitors in the field — most of the PBA events features only the 64 exempt players — was split into three squads for the first three days of qualifying. Each day, the first and third squads bowled on freshly oiled lanes, while the second squad bowled on lanes already broken down which typically results in higher scores.

I know what you’re thinking, to level the playing field each squad bowled at the three different times throughout qualifying on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“This is old school bowling. The U.S. Open starts [Wednesday] for me,” first-day qualifying-round leader Tommy Delutz Jr. said on Tuesday. “If you are an exempt bowler or a top amateur, this is where you get your pins. You stock up your pins here and then try to survive the fresh oil tomorrow.”

After three days of qualifying (six games each day), the top fourth of the field (123 bowlers) rolled nine more qualifying games during the day on Friday.

In an exciting final game to decide the 24 bowlers who would advance to match play, Ronnie Russell of Indianapolis, fired a 267 to jump from outside the cut to 18th while Mike DeVaney shot 224 in his final game to earn the final spot in match play ahead of Doug Kent (Newark, N.Y.) by just eight pins.

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