O'Neill, Ellis, Zambrano set the pace in Panama Invitational Tournament



    El Dorado Bowling Center in Panama City (October 3-8, 2007)

    2007PITBillONeill.jpgDenny's PBA Tour exempt player Bill O'Neill (pictured left) got off to a sizzling start with games of 279, 300 and 260 (839) as he took the lead in the open division at the 2007 Panama Invitational Tournament after the first round of qualifying Thursday.

    2007WRMStuartWilliams.jpg O'Neill closed with games of 228 and 232 to lead the opening squad by a wide margin with a five-game total of 1,299. As the only bowler to shoot a perfect game, O'Neill earned a bonus of $3,000, an amount split by all men who shoot 300 or women who shoot 290 or better (no women qualified for the prize).

    World Ranking Masters champion Stuart Williams (right) of England sits in second place with a total of 1,182. American Leo DiBenedetto is third with 1,180 and close behind in fourth is R.D. Miller with 1,179.

    2007PITJasonBelmonte.jpg Defending champion Brian Himmler sits in 37th place after opening with 1,056 on the third (and lowest scoring) shift of the day.

    2007PITMathieuBerges.jpg 3-time European Ranking champion Paul Moor, England sits in 8th place with 1,140, while his compatriot Dominic Barrett is tied for 31st place with 1,076.

    The fourth European in the field, Mathieu Berges (right), Switzerland, started his series with back-to-back 150s to land in 85th place with 896.

    The sole players from the Asian Bowling Federation in the field, Jason Walsh and Jason Belmonte (above left) from Australia, felled 1,088 and 976 pins, good for 22nd and 68th place, respectively.

    2007PITAprilEllis.jpg 2007PITCatieBoroff.jpg American April Ellis (left) set the pace on the women's side with a total of 1,149. She leads fellow U.S. player Catie Boroff (right), who is second at 1,111 after shooting a 168 final game.

    Felicia Wong of Canada is third with 1,094 while 2007 USBC Queens champion Kelly Kulick is fourth at 1,069.

    In the senior division, Panama's Manuel Zambrano held the lead despite closing with a 187 game. Zambrano totaled 1,152 and leads American Gordon Vadakin by 13 pins.

    2007PITGordonVadakin.jpg Vadakin (left) is followed by a host of American players with Mike Dias in third, Roger LeClair fourth, Vince Mazzani Jr. fifth and Mark Lewis sixth.

    2007PITMichaelFagan.jpg All players return for the second five-game qualifying block on Friday while the final five-game block will be held Saturday.

    The field will then be cut to the top 24 in the Open Division and the top 12 in the Women's and Senior Divisions for six games Sunday morning before the stepladder finals.

    After the first round Thursday, two players were tied for 24th place in the Open Division as Americans Michael Fagan (right) and Eddie Graham each shot 1,087.

    2007PITRocioRestrepo.jpgFor the women, Colombia's Rocio Restrepo (left) is 12th with 1,033 and in 12th place for the seniors is American Roger Blad with 1,046.

    Open Division - Standings after the first of three 5-game blocks

    Women's Division - Standings after the first of three 5-game blocks

    Senior's Division - Standings after the first of three 5-game blocks