Duke goes 8-0 to storm into the lead in 65th Denny's U.S. Open

    03/29/08

    2007-08 Denny's PBA Tour #21

    Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, NJ (March 23-30, 2008)

    2008PBA17NormDuke2.jpg Norm Duke has had one of the most interesting seasons of his 26-year career. He's now put himself in position to make it one of the most memorable.

    Duke, who just a month ago was in danger of losing his Denny's Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour exemption, is now looking poised to capture his second Major of the season, going 8-0 Friday evening to move into the lead in the 65th Denny's U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone Carolier.

    The 27-time titlist has battled injuries throughout the season and had fallen as low as 51st in the PBA World Point Rankings heading into the Denny's World Championship just four events ago. Despite battling the flu that week, Duke made an incredible run to the finals where he beat Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Ryan Shafer to capture his third career Major and secure his place on Tour for two seasons.

    "This has been a lot like the last two years where I've been extremely opportunistic when I'm on the floor but I just can't make my way to the approach enough," Duke (Clermont, Fla.) said of the injuries that have kept him off the lanes.

    "But I'm really enjoying bowling now because of the fact that I'm healthy again. It hurt so badly before that it took the fun out of it. Now, I feel like I'm in the heat of battle and capable again."

    Duke was more than capable on Friday. After quietly hovering in the top 20 all week, he swept through his matches Friday night to jump into the lead heading into the final 16 games of round robin on Saturday. After finishing fifth in last season's U.S. Open to miss the finals by one spot, Duke will get another shot at the coveted U.S. Open crown, the only one of the Triple Crown events he is missing.

    "The U.S. Open is everything to me," Duke said. "At the beginning of every season I look at the four Majors but I look at this one first. It just bugs me. It's difficult to get this tournament and how important it is to me out of my mind when I'm bowling. I can't think about winning, I just have to get it done."

    Duke's first two matches Friday came against two of the top players on the Denny's PBA Tour as he dispatched of Wes Malott and Tommy Jones by scores of 215-196 and 243-214, respectively. He then faced just two other exempt bowlers over his final six wins, capping the perfect night with a 213-200 win over amateur Mark Clark.

    With 16 games left, Duke is nowhere near feeling like he's in the driver's seat.

    "I cannot even count the times I've missed the show by one spot in this event. It's at least three. And I've finished second once by one pin. I still throw that shot a thousand times and I still miss," Duke said. "You can't win this tournament on Friday though. I'd love it if they'd just start the show tomorrow but I can still finish 24th. The task at hand is to come in here and play my very best. That's the only thing that's acceptable. And I know I have it in me."

    2007PBAMikaKoivuniemi_small.jpg Mika Koivuniemi (left; Hartland, Mich.), who is looking to get back his "Major Mika" moniker after winning the Masters and U.S. Open for the first two of his eight titles, also made a big run Friday going 7-1 to move up to second.

    2007PBAEugeneMcCune_small.jpg Shannon Buchan (Waterloo, Iowa) went 5-3 and sits third while Eugene McCune (right; Munster, Ind.) went 4-3-1 and is fourth. Qualifying leader Brad Angelo (Lockport, N.Y.) went 5-3 to drop to fifth.

    2007PITJasonBelmonte_small.jpg Jason Belmonte (left; Orange, NSW, Australia), the sole international bowler who made the cut to the top 24 went 4-4 to sit in 16th place with 7,363, 223 pins off the top four.

    Englishmen Dominic Barrett and Stuart Williams missed the cut by 16 and 43 pins to finish in 27th and 33rd place, respectively.

    2007PBAMikeScroggins_small.jpg Mike Scroggins (right; Amarillo, Texas), who is still in the race for the PBA Player of the year award, hit the cutoff number for 24th place and leaped one spot after going 1-7 in the first match play round to sit in 23rd with 7,224, 362 pins off the top four. Scroggins must win the U.S. Open to win the award by one point.

    All pinfall from the four rounds of qualifying carried over into match play where bowlers earn 30 bonus pins for each win and 15 for each tie.

    The top four after Saturday's match play will advance to Sunday's championship round live on ESPN at 2 p.m. ET. The winner will take home $100,000 and a three-year Denny's PBA Tour exemption.


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    Match Play Round 1 (fifth round overall)


    1, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 8-0-0, 7,749
    2, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 7-1-0, 7,687
    3, Shannon Buchan, Waterloo, Iowa, 5-3-0, 7,600
    4, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 4-3-1, 7,586
    5, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 5-3-0, 7,577
    6, Wes Malott, Argyle, Texas, 4-4-0, 7,548
    7, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 5-3-0, 7,526
    8, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 5-3-0, 7,524
    9, Bill O'Neill, Levittown, Pa., 5-3-0, 7,504
    10, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 5-3-0, 7,466
    11, Mike Rose Jr., Rochester, N.Y., 5-3-0, 7,445
    12, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3-5-0, 7,419
    13, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 4-4-0, 7,418
    14, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 5-3-0, 7,381
    15, David O'Sullivan, Orlando, Fla., 1-7-0, 7,379
    16, Jason Belmonte, Orange, NSW, Australia, 4-4-0, 7,363
    17, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 3-5-0, 7,337
    18, Jeff Lizzi, Sandusky, Ohio, 4-4-0, 7,327
    19, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 2-5-1, 7,312
    20, Todd Book, Cantonment, Fla., 2-6-0, 7,307
    21, Tom Baker, King, N.C., 3-5-0, 7,302
    22, Mark Clark *, Naperville, Ill., 3-5-0, 7,290
    23, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 1-7-0, 7,224
    24, John Nolen, Waterford, Mich., 2-6-0, 7,201

    300 games – None.


    Round Four Qualifying


    Players with position, hometown and 27-game pinfall. Top 24 advance to match play. Positions 25-122 cash.

    1, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 5,869
    2, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 5,850
    3, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 5,798
    4, David O'Sullivan, Orlando, Fla., 5,794
    5, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 5,793
    6, Wes Malott, Argyle, Texas, 5,778
    7, Shannon Buchan, Waterloo, Iowa, 5,758
    8, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 5,752
    9, Todd Book, Cantonment, Fla., 5,732
    10, Bill O'Neill, Levittown, Pa., 5,729
    11, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 5,722
    12, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 5,715
    13, Mark Clark, Naperville, Ill., 5,710
    14, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 5,709
    15, Jason Belmonte, Orange, NSW, Australia, 5,674
    16, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 5,670
    16, Mike Rose Jr., Rochester, N.Y., 5,670
    18, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 5,657
    19, Tom Baker, King, N.C., 5,644
    20, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 5,642
    21, John Nolen, Waterford, Mich., 5,632
    22, Jeff Lizzi, Sandusky, Ohio, 5,623
    23, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 5,622
    24, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 5,608

    Missed Cut:
    25, Andrew Koff, Miami, 5,607, $1,900
    26, Jim Wolcott, Hendersonville, Tenn., 5,594, $1,850
    27, Dominic Barrett, Walton On The Naze, England, 5,592, $1,800
    28, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 5,583, $1,750
    29, Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan, 5,582, $1,700
    30, Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., 5,581, $1,650
    31, Ron Nelson Jr., Bridgeview, Ill., 5,572, $1,600
    32, Brian Himmler, Cincinnati, 5,570, $1,560
    33, Tony Reyes, San Bruno, Calif., 5,565, $1,520
    33, Stuart Williams, Cheshire, England, 5,565, $1,520
    33, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 5,565, $1,520
    36, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 5,564, $1,480
    37, Robert Smith, Captain Cook, Hawaii, 5,555, $1,460
    38, Brian Voss, Alpharetta, Ga., 5,551, $1,440
    39, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 5,535, $1,420
    40, Dale Aivaz Jr., Yonkers, N.Y., 5,529, $1,410
    41, Isao Yamamoto, Kanagawa, Japan, 5,528, $1,395
    41, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, N. Richland Hills, Texas, 5,528, $1,395
    43, Peter Spreadbury, Oak Forest, Ill., 5,518, $1,380
    44, Craig Tuholski, Washougal, Wash., 5,513, $1,365
    44, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 5,513, $1,365
    46, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 5,509, $1,350
    47, Jeff Roche, Dearborn, Mich., 5,508, $1,340
    48, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 5,505, $1,330
    49, Chris Klerk, Chandler, Ariz., 5,495, $1,320
    50, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 5,494, $1,310
    51, Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 5,493, $1,295
    51, John Furey, Freehold, N.J., 5,493, $1,295
    53, Ron Mohr, Eagle River, Alaska, 5,488, $1,280
    54, Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill., 5,487, $1,270
    55, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore, 5,480, $1,255
    55, Ron Dixon, Boynton Beach, Fla., 5,480, $1,255
    57, Clint Dacy, Keller, Texas, 5,463, $1,245
    58, Shawn Slocum, Ewing, N.J., 5,460, $1,235
    58, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 5,460, $1,235
    58, Rhino Page, Topeka, Kan, 5,460, $1,235
    61, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 5,458, $1,225
    62, PJ Haggerty, Clovis, Calif., 5,450, $1,220
    63, Edward VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., 5,445, $1,215
    64, Matthew O'Grady, South Amboy, N.J., 5,443, $1,210
    65, Thomas Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 5,438, $1,205
    66, Alex Aguiar, North Dartmouth, Mass., 5,424, $1,200
    67, Stevie Weber, Chalmette, La, 5,420, $1,195
    68, Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, 5,415, $1,190
    69, Rusty Thomsen, Morgan, N.J., 5,412, $1,185
    70, Mike Mineman, Belleville, Ill., 5,403, $1,180
    71, Frank Calca, Elmont, NY, 5,401, $1,175
    72, Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y., 5,400, $1,170
    73, Riga Kalfas, Florence, Ky., 5,386, $1,165
    74, Brian LeClair, Athens, N.Y., 5,383, $1,160
    75, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 5,376, $1,155
    76, Christopher Blackmore, Alexandria, Va., 5,372, $1,150
    77, Jimmy Cook, Indianapolis, 5,371, $1,145
    78, Patrick Girard, Jonquiere, Quebec, 5,367, $1,140
    79, Mark Taylor, Schenectady, N.Y., 5,365, $1,135
    80, George Gohagan III, Dayton, Ohio, 5,363, $1,130
    81, Ken Simard, Greenville, S.C., 5,359, $1,125
    82, Kenneth Jessee, Huber Heights, Ohio, 5,358, $1,120
    83, Aaron Buss, Freeport, Ill, 5,356, $1,115
    84, James Wallace, Hicksville, N.Y., 5,355, $1,110
    85, Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., 5,349, $1,103
    85, Kevin Cartier, Beverly, N.J., 5,349, $1,103
    87, Wade Gayhart, Lockport, Ill., 5,346, $1,095
    88, John Santalucia, North Brunswick, N.J., 5,342, $1,090
    89, Jacqui Reese, Nazareth, Pa., 5,335, $1,085
    90, Mitch Beasley, Arlington, Texas, 5,334, $1,078
    90, Steve Harman, Indianapolis, 5,334, $1,078
    92, Sean Riccardi, Piscataway, N.J., 5,332, $1,070
    93, Shawn McKee, Concord, N.C., 5,328, $1,063
    93, Michael Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 5,328, $1,063
    95, Tom Sorce, Blasdell, N.Y., 5,326, $1,055
    96, Scott Santos, Ledyard, Conn., 5,319, $1,050
    97, Del Ballard Jr., N. Richland Hills, Texas, 5,318, $1,045
    98, Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, 5,308, $1,040
    99, Tim Mack, Indianapolis, Ind., 5,301, $1,035
    100, Jason Lundquist, Hawley, Pa, 5,300, $1,030
    101, Vinny D'Ambrosio III, Staten Island, N.Y., 5,298, $1,025
    102, Jonathan Van Hees, Newport, R.I., 5,297, $1,020
    103, Walter Schaub II, Schaumburg, Ill., 5,285, $1,015
    104, Troy Wollenbecker, Miami, 5,281, $1,010
    105, Billy Oatman, Chicago, 5,277, $1,003
    105, Michael Marsico, Chesapeake Beach, Md., 5,277, $1,003
    107, Jason Sterner, Roswell, Ga., 5,274, $1,000
    108, Thomas Brown, Winston-Salem, N.C., 5,270, $1,000
    109, Steve Rogers, Bourbonnais, Ill., 5,264, $1,000
    110, Charles Anderson, Sloatsburg, N.Y., 5,256, $1,000
    111, Timothy Banks, Spartanburg, S.C., 5,255, $1,000
    112, Jack Kurent, Luzerne, Pa., 5,253, $1,000
    113, Mark Decman, Canada, 5,252, $1,000
    114, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 5,251, $1,000
    115, Tyrel Rose, Canada, 5,225, $1,000
    116, Andrew Horodecki, Jackson, Mich., 5,221, $1,000
    116, Fero Williams, West Carrollton, Ohio, 5,221, $1,000
    118, Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 5,194, $1,000
    119, Ernie Schlegel, Vancouver, Wash., 5,188, $1,000
    120, Hernan Ramirez, Venezuela, 5,178, $1,000
    121, Christopher Wood, North Haven, Conn., 4,540, $1,000, WD
    122, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 4,182, $1,000, WD

    300 games (1) – Nathan Bohr