Ryan Shafer retains lead heading into final day of match play in U.S. Open


    2011-12 PBA Tour #12

    Two-handers Belmonte, Palermaa move into third and sixth place; Saturday's final two eight-game rounds of match play will trim the field to


    2011BWCJasonBelmonte3.jpgRyan Shafer (pictured left) of Horseheads, N.Y., posted a conservative 4-4 match play record Friday night to take an 85-pin lead over Mike Fagan of Dallas into Saturday's final 16 games of match play in the 69th U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J. Including 30 bonus pins for each match won, the four-time champion had a 34-game total of 7,592 pins.

    Australian two-handed player Jason Belmonte (right) won his first six matches to advance from 14th place to third with 7,491 pins. 2005 U.S. Open winner Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, was 90 pins behind Belmonte in fourth place. with 2010 U.S. Open winner Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., in fifth place with 7,386.

    201112PBA05OskuPalermaa3.jpg201112PBANormDuke.jpgOsku Palermaa (left), the two-hander from Finland, who has won the PBA World Championships earlier this season, jumped from 22nd to six place with 7,290. Defending champion Norm Duke (right) of Clermont, Fla., struggled to a 3-5 match play record and fell to 18th place with 7,100.

    Shafer, a four-time PBA Tour titlist, wants to qualify first for Sunday's live ESPN stepladder finals at 3 p.m. Eastern, where he would only have to bowl one match in his bid to end his PBA-record streak of 13 television appearances in major championships without winning a title.

    201269thUSOpenLogo.jpgThe top four players after Saturday's final two eight-game rounds of match play will bowl for the $60,000 first prize and an automatic berth in the Round of 36 for the end-of-season PBA Tournament of Champions.

    "Hopefully things will keep going the way they have been going," Shafer said. "It's hard not to think ahead. I look at the leader board. I knew I was ahead, but I just want to keep adding pins. You can never have too many.<
    "I just have to avoid having bad games," he added. "I had one tonight. I made some bad decisions. I have to avoid that tomorrow."

    Saturday's final two rounds of match play will be webcast live on the PBA's exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame, at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern.


    69th U.S. Open - Fifth Round Results

    Players with position, hometown and 34-game total including match play bonus pins. * indicates non PBA members