Jones targets to become the second bowler to successfully defend a U.S. Open crown


    PBA Spare Shots #17

    This Week

    DPBATourLogo118.jpg The second of four Majors on the Denny's PBA Tour is underway as the 64th U.S. Open takes place this week at Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J. This marks the third consecutive season the U.S. Open has been held at Brunswick Zone Carolier. This week's winner will take home $100,000 and a three-season exemption through the 2009-10 season.

    2006PBA06TommyJones2.jpg Tommy Jones (right) will look to become just the second bowler in Denny's PBA Tour history to successfully defend a U.S. Open crown (Don Carter, Andy Varipapa and Dick Weber each won back-to-back BPAA All-Stars, the U.S. Open's predecessor which does not count as a Tour title).

    Jones captured last season's 63rd U.S. Open for his fourth title of the season which propelled him to the 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year award. He'll look to join Dave Husted in winning back-to-back Opens, as Husted won in 1995 and '96 after winning his first U.S. Open in 1982. Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Del Ballard Jr. will look to join Husted as three-time winners, while Pete Weber – also with three – will look to become the first four-time winner.

    A full field of 492 bowlers has already begun qualifying. The live ESPN televised finals take place Sunday, March 4 at Noon EST.

    Last Week

    2007PBA16MikeMineman.jpg The chances of a bowler winning a Denny's PBA Tour title after advancing from the Denny's PBA Tour Qualifying Round are slim. The chances of it happening two straight seasons in the same building are even slimmer. But last week in Parkersburg, W.Va., the unthinkable happened.

    Mike Mineman (left) repeated Sean Rash's incredible feat in the 2006 West Virginia Championship, advancing from the Tour Qualifying Round and running the table to win the 2007 Bayer Classic, becoming just the second non-exempt bowler ever to win a Tour title.

    Perhaps the non-exempt bowlers sensed the magic at Emerson Lanes after watching Rash's incredible run last season. A record 114 bowlers competed in Wednesday's Tour Qualifying Round as seven PBA member spots were awarded. One of those seven was Mineman, a 48-year-old veteran who had advanced to the Round of 64 through the TQR on six occasions over the past three seasons but never went as far as the Round of 16.

    Magic was in the air again as Mineman finished fifth in the TQR then finished 12th in the Round of 64 before knocking off Tommy Jones, Mike Scroggins and Eugene McCune in match play to advance to the finals. His semifinal match got off to an ominous start as Mineman's first-ever shot on television resulted in the dreaded 7-10 split. After nearly picking up the split with a lucky bounce, Mineman recovered to defeat Dale Traber, 217-178. In an exciting title match, Mineman struck out in the 10th frame to force Mike Machuga to strike out to tie, but Machuga left a 10-pin on his first shot and history repeated itself at Emerson Lanes.

    This Week's Schedule

    This week's 64th U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone Carolier is underway. A full field of 492 bowlers has been split into three squads, each of which will bowl six games a day for three days. After the 18 games, the field will be cut to the top 25 percent (123) who will bowl nine more games on Friday, March 2. The top 24 will then advance to round robin match play beginning Friday evening and running all day Saturday.

    The top four bowlers after the 51 games will advance to Sunday's live ESPN televised stepladder finals at Noon EST. The winner will take home $100,000 and a three-season Denny's PBA Tour exemption.

    Did You Know?

    The last three bowlers to win a title in their TV debut did so in the month of February.

    Ritchie Allen.jpg 2006EBT15SeanRash_small.jpg Mike Mineman became the 76th bowler to win in his debut last week, capturing the 2007 Bayer Classic on Feb. 25. Last season, Sean Rash (l.) won the 2006 West Virginia Championship in his first TV appearance on Feb. 12, 2006, while Ritchie Allen (r.) won the 2002 Dallas Open on Feb. 3, 2002 in his TV debut.

    Mineman Strikes Gold

    2007PBA16MikeMineman2.jpg Coming into last week's 2007 Bayer Classic, the best Mike Mineman had ever done in a Denny's PBA Tour event was a Round of 16 appearance in the 2003 Odor-Eaters Open, while his career PBA Tour earnings stood at $23,380. In one glorious week, Mineman earned $25,000, an exemption for the 2007-08 season and a spot on top of the PBA Tournament of Champions roster.

    At 48 years-old, Mineman became the fourth-oldest bowler to capture his first Denny's PBA Tour title, following 57-year-old John Handegard, who captured his first and only title in the 1995 Northwest Classic, and Buzz Fazio and Lou Campi, who were 56 and 54, respectively, when they captured their first titles.

    Parkersburg = Exempt Players' Worst Nightmare

    Prior to last season, the Denny's PBA Tour had not returned to Parkersburg, W.Va., in 41 years. With all the bad luck they've faced the last two seasons, exempt players are probably happy to be in a more exempt-friendly building this week.

    Both the 2006 and 2007 events at Emerson Lanes have ended in eerily similar fashion for exempt players. Last season, non-exempt bowler Sean Rash faced exempt bowler Mike Scroggins in the semifinals, who struggled against the rookie, falling 246-194. Rash then faced another exempt star – Mike DeVaney – in the title match. DeVaney had a chance to win with a double in the 10th frame after Rash had doubled in his 10th. Instead, DeVaney left a 10-pin to give Rash the historic win.

    In this season's Bayer Classic, non-exempt bowler Mike Mineman followed in Rash's footsteps in advancing to the finals where he met exempt bowler Dale Traber, who like Scroggins against Rash, struggled mightily in a 217-178 loss. Mineman then took on exempt bowler Mike Machuga who like DeVaney had a chance to win in the 10th by striking out. Instead, Machuga also left the 10-pin with his first shot, and like Rash, Mineman celebrated an historic win.

    Cut Above

    With Mike Mineman's win last week, the cut line for an exemption through the PBA World Point Rankings dropped to 39th. The top 40 in points each season earn exemptions for the next season unless a bowler outside the top 40 wins a title, or if a bowler with a multi-year exemption finishes below 40th. At 66th in the PBA World Point Rankings, Mineman would have to make a miracle run to get into the top 40 and avoid pushing the number to 39th.

    The only bowler with a multi-year exemption who could potentially push the number to 38th is Tom Baker, who sits 35th with three point-bearing events remaining. Those three events, including this week's U.S. Open, will award more points than standard events which could result in plenty of drama in the final weeks. If the season ended today, John May would be the final bowler exempt via the point rankings. But with this week's event and the Denny's World Championship offering more points, anything can happen.

    Below is a look at the bowlers around the cut line:

    36. Tim Criss 85,262.5
    37. Chris Warren 84,477
    38. Michael Haugen Jr. 81,815.67
    39. John May 81,361
    -----------------------------------------Cut Line
    40. Chris Hayden 81,174
    41. Rick Steelsmith 75,807.5
    42. Jeff Carter 73,712
    43. David Tessman 73,611.16
    44. Dino Castillo 72,979
    45. Dale Traber 72,526

    Denny's World Championship Looming

    With this week's 64th U.S. Open reaching capacity a week before the event, bowlers are encouraged to enter the 2007 Denny's World Championship early as spots will fill up fast. The Denny's World Championship is the only event open exclusively to PBA members on the schedule and is the third of four Majors.

    The Denny's World Championship runs March 18-25 at Spectrum Lanes in Wyoming, Mich., with the live ESPN televised finals taking place Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. EST at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Mich. The event will offer a $50,000 top prize and a two-season Denny's PBA Tour exemption.

    This season, byes will no longer be given to the top four bowlers in the PBA World Point Rankings. Instead, the eight byes into the Round of Super 16 will come from the top eight in qualifying.

    Bowlers should sign up now before the field fills up so they won't miss their chance to compete against the best bowlers in the world in one of the most prestigious events on the Denny's PBA Tour.

    Denny's World Championship Tickets On-Sale

    Speaking of the 2007 Denny's World Championship, tickets to the live ESPN televised finals are now available for purchase. Tickets for the event, which will be held Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. EST at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Mich., are available online at and, by phone at 616-456-3333 and in person at DeVos Place and Spectrum Lanes in Wyoming, Mich. All seats are reserved with tickets ranging from $10-$70.

    Fans can also purchase PBA Pro-Am packages for the March 24 Pro-Am at Spectrum Lanes in Wyoming, Mich. Exempt Pro-Am packages – which are priced at $175 for juniors/seniors, $200 for adults and include a Brunswick PBA Inferno bowling ball – will also include a $30 ticket or $30 toward a ticket upgrade. Full Pro-Am packages will receive a $10 ticket or $10 upgrade and are priced at $50 for juniors/seniors and $75 for adults.

    Pro-Ams will be held on Saturday, March 24 at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Exempt and full Pro-Am packages can be purchased in-person at Spectrum Lanes or over the phone at 616-530-2400.

    PBA Mourns Loss

    The PBA is mourning the loss of two-time PBA Tour titlist Vern L. Downing, who passed away on February 20.

    Downing began his pro bowling career in 1958 and remained a PBA member until 1974, capturing the 1961 Northern California Open and the 1963 Alton PBA Open. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Frances, and his children, Diana, Kim, Cheryl and Chris. He is also survived by seven grand children and three great grand children.

    The PBA sends its deepest sympathies to the Downing family.

    Hovering Around the Bubble

    2006PBA13DinoCastillo.jpg Dino Castillo got back to his winning ways last week, leading the Denny's PBA Tour Qualifying Round for a record third time in a single season. He also advanced for the eighth time overall this season, tying a record set by Jeff Carter and Tim Mack in 2004-05. Castillo holds a sizeable lead heading into the final three events, and is currently 44th in the PBA World Point Rankings, which still puts him in position to earn an exemption via the top 39. Should he finish in the top 39, the second-highest non-exempt bowler would earn an exemption. That spot belongs to Edward VanDaniker Jr.:

    44. Dino Castillo 72,979
    56. Edward VanDaniker Jr. 47,214
    57. Chad Kloss 46,400.16
    58. Troy Wollenbecker 44,288.5
    59. Andrew Cain 43,958

    PBA Sponsor Competition

    2005PBA21ChrisBarnes2.jpg Chris Barnes (Pepsi) continues to lead in the 2006-07 PBA Sponsor Competition. His win three weeks ago helped the Pepsi team, which carries Barnes, Parker Bohn III and Sean Rash, maintain its lead in the team standings. Team standings are based on average point rankings for their respective team members since Denny's carries six players and all other teams carry three.

    Complete Sponsor Competition Standings:
    Players with team name and points:
    1. Chris Barnes/Pepsi 171,625
    2. Parker Bohn III/Pepsi 165,529
    3. Wes Malott/Ace Hardware 159,821
    4. Patrick Allen/Discover® Card 159,523
    5. Walter Ray Williams Jr./Denny's 147,842.5
    6. Tommy Jones/Denny's 146,397.5
    7. Mike Scroggins/Denny's 144,312.33
    8. Pete Weber/Etonic 136,064
    9. Jack Jurek/Discover® Card 133,247
    10. Ryan Shafer/GEICO 132,913
    11. Bill O'Neill/Ace Hardware 124,343
    12. Mika Koivuniemi/GEICO 123,849
    13. Tommy Delutz Jr./USBC 123,836
    14. Steve Jaros/GEICO 122,761.5
    15. Mike DeVaney/Bayer 117,846
    16. Norm Duke/Motel 6 115,501
    17. Sean Rash/Pepsi 114,848
    18. Joe Ciccone/USBC 112,507
    19. Mike Wolfe/Motel 6 111,822
    20. Chris Loschetter/Ace Hardware 104,685
    21. Brad Angelo/USBC 101,996.83
    22. Tony Reyes/Denny's 100,771.83
    23. Michael Fagan/Bayer 94,157
    24. Danny Wiseman/Motel 6 93,846
    25. Patrick Healey Jr./H&R Block 87,480
    26. Mike Machuga/Etonic 87,379
    27. Brian Himmler/Etonic 87,095
    28. Tim Criss/Bayer 85,262.5
    29. Brian Voss/H&R Block 64,265.5
    30. Chris Johnson/Discover® Card 63,988
    31. Chris Collins/H&R Block 63,177.5
    32. Jason Hurd/Denny's 41,380.5
    33. Amleto Monacelli/Denny's 27,452

    Sponsor Competition by Team:
    Team with Average Points per player
    1. Pepsi (Barnes, Bohn, Rash) 150,667.33
    2. Ace Hardware (Loschetter, Malott, O'Neill) 129,616.33
    3. GEICO (Jaros, Koivuniemi, Shafer) 126,507.83
    4. Discover® Card (Allen, Johnson, Jurek) 118,919.33
    5. USBC (Angelo, Ciccone, Delutz) 112,779.94
    6. Motel 6 (Duke, Wiseman, M. Wolfe) 107,056.33
    7. Etonic (Himmler, Machuga, Weber) 103,512.67
    8. Denny's (Jones, Hurd, Monacelli, Reyes, Scroggins, Williams) 101,359.44*
    9. Bayer (Criss, DeVaney, Fagan) 99,088.50
    10. H&R Block (Collins, Healey, Voss) 71,641.00
    *Denny's carries six players while other teams carry three

    2007 PBA Tournament of Champions Roster

    2006RyanShafer_small.jpg The amazing run of Lonnie Waliczek has finally come to an end.

    After what is believed to be a record 14 consecutive weeks on the Tournament of Champions bubble, Waliczek was finally bumped last weekend when Mike Mineman captured the 2007 Bayer Classic. With Mineman's win, Ryan Shafer (pictured left) now moves onto the bubble, still on the roster from his win in the 2003 Empire State Open.

    With three events left before the season-ending PBA Tournament of Champions, Danny Wiseman is officially locked for the event.

    Denny's PBA Tour Entrants
    1. Mike Mineman - Bayer Classic (2/25/07)
    2. Patrick Allen - Go RVing Classic (2/18/07)
    3. Chris Barnes - GEICO Classic (2/11/07)
    4. Mika Koivuniemi - Sun City Classic (2/4/07)
    5. Jason Couch - Motel 6 Classic (1/28/07)
    6. Sean Rash - Earl Anthony Medford Classic (1/14/07)
    7. Norm Duke - Columbia 300 Classic (12/17/06)
    8. Tommy Jones - Ace Hardware Championship (12/3/06)
    9. Wes Malott - Discover® Card Windy City Classic (11/26/06)
    10. Pete Weber - Etonic Championship (11/12/06)
    11. Tony Reyes - Motor City Classic (11/5/06)
    12. Doug Kent - USBC Masters (10/29/06)
    13. Walter Ray Williams Jr. - Dydo Japan Cup 2006 (9/24/06)
    14. Chris Collins - Pepsi Championship (3/5/06)
    15. Brian Voss - Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Classic (1/29/06)
    16. Ritchie Allen - Motel 6 Phoenix Classic (1/22/06)
    17. Brian Himmler - Earl Anthony Medford Classic (1/8/06)
    18. Mike Wolfe - Empire State Classic (12/18/05)
    19. Mike Scroggins - USBC Masters (11/20/05)
    20. Mike Machuga - Greater Omaha Classic (11/13/05)
    21. Steve Jaros - Dexter Tournament of Champions (4/10/05)
    22. Amleto Monacelli - Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Open (2/13/05)
    23. Parker Bohn III - El Paso Classic (1/16/05)
    24. Jason Hurd - Pepsi Open (11/28/04)
    25. Rick Lawrence - Open (11/21/04)
    26. Danny Wiseman - Miller High Life Masters (10/31/04)
    27. Robert Smith - Odor-Eaters Open (2/15/04)
    28. Patrick Healey Jr. - Dexter Tournament of Champions (12/14/03)
    29. Ryan Shafer - Empire State Open (11/23/03)

    PBA Senior Tour Entrants
    30. Tom Baker - Senior U.S. Open and USBC Senior Masters

    PBA Regional Tour Entrants
    31. D.J. Archer - PBA Regional Players Championship
    32. Mitch Beasley - PBA Regional Players Invitational

    2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour Statistical Leaders

    2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour Point Leaders
    1. Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 174,92
    2. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 171,625
    3. Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 165,529
    4. Wes Malott, Argyle, Texas, 159,821
    5. Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 159,523
    6. Walter Ray Williams Jr. Ocala, Fla., 147,842.5
    7. Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 146,397.5
    8. Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 144,312.33
    9. Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 136,064
    10. Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 133,420.84

    2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour Earnings Leaders
    1. Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y. $143,030
    2. Walter Ray Williams Jr. Ocala, Fla. $109,600
    3. Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla. $97,660
    4. Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla. $96,000
    5. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, $89,012
    6. Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo. $88,450
    7. Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y. $87,550
    8. Wes Malott, Argyle, Texas, $85,900
    9. Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla. $78,850
    10. Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan, $78,100

    2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour Average Leaders
    1. Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 230.18
    2. Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 228.20
    3. Walter Ray Williams Jr. Ocala, Fla., 227.70
    4. Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 227.29
    5. Wes Malott, Argyle, Texas, 227.22
    6. Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 226.27
    7. Tommy Delutz Jr. Flushing, N.Y., 226.22
    8. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 225.61
    9. Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 225.24
    10. Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 223.35

    Match Play Statistics (Single Elimination only, minimum two appearances)

    2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour Strike Percentage Leaders
    with Strikes/Frames and Percentage
    1. Parker Bohn III, 504/725, 69.52
    2. Patrick Allen, 610/889, 68.62
    3. Walter Ray Williams Jr. 660/980, 67.35
    4. Sean Rash, 457/685, 66.72
    5. Wes Malott, 673/1021, 65.92

    2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour Spare Percentage Leaders
    with Spares/Attempts and Percentage (including splits)
    1. Walter Ray Williams Jr., 271/307, 88.27
    2. Chris Hayden, 135/156, 86.54
    3. Chris Barnes, 356/412, 86.41
    4. Tommy Delutz Jr., 250/294, 85.03
    5. Doug Kent, 200/236, 84.75

    2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour Match Play Games Win Percentage Leaders
    with Wins/Losses and Percentage
    1. Patrick Allen, 49/26, .653
    2. Sean Rash, 38/22, .633
    3. Walter Ray Williams Jr. 49/34, .590
    4. Pete Weber, 49/35, .583
    5. Chris Barnes, 62/46, .574

    2006-07 Denny's PBA Tour Match Play Average leaders
    with games played, pins and average
    1. Parker Bohn III, 55, 13,159, 239.25
    2. Walter Ray Williams Jr. 83, 19,706, 237.42
    3. Sean Rash, 60, 14,226, 237.10
    4. Patrick Allen, 75, 17,639, 235.19
    5. Chris Barnes, 108, 25,137, 232.75