Tommy Jones limps into U.S. Open lead after Match Play Round Two


    2010-11 PBA Tour #10

    Two-hander Valenta is third heading into final round

    201011PBA08TommyJones.jpg201011PBA01NormDuke.jpgHeading into Saturday afternoon’s final eight games of match play in the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier, 2006 champion Tommy Jones (pictured left) of Simpsonville, S.C., limped into a 46-pin lead over 33-time PBA Tour titlist Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla.

    Jones, who is suffering from a painful bone spur in his left hip that will require post-season surgery, finished the second round of match play Saturday morning with a 9-7 record and 42-game total of 9,359 pins, including match play bonus pins. Duke, after a 4-4 match play round, was second at 9,313.

    American two-handed player Brian Valenta, a former Junior Team USA member and collegiate star at Lindenwood University in St. Louis, advanced from 24th place to third with 9,186 pins. The Lockport, Ill., resident has a 13-3 record for his first 16 matches in his bid for become the third player in U.S. Open history to win the title after qualifying in 24th place. Valenta has never made a Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour TV final, nor has he won a PBA Tour title.

    200910PBA03SteveJaros.jpg2011CPIJasonBelmonte.jpgThe only two players to win U.S. Open titles after qualifying 24th were Mike Aulby in Edmond, Okla., in 1989 and Pete Weber in Indianapolis in 1991. No PBA player has won any PBA Tour event from the 24th qualifying position since Walter Ray Williams Jr.’s 1995 victory in Rochester, N.Y.

    In the hotly-contested battle for six spots in the stepladder finals, defending champion Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa., was in fourth place with 9,184 followed by Steve Jaros (left) of Yorkville, Ill., who advanced from 15th to fifth, and Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y. Shafer, who had a 9,133 pinfall total, was only 17 pins ahead of Australia’s Jason Belmonte (right).

    Five others including Tournament of Champions winner Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, Mich. and PBA World Champion Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, were within 130 pins, an attainable margin on the demanding U.S. Open lane condition.

    2011PBAUSOpenLogo.jpgAfter Saturday afternoon’s final eight-game match play round, the top six will advance to the stepladder finals which will get underway with the first two matches airing live on ESPN2 Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern. The No. 5 qualifier will bowl against the No. 6 qualifier, with the winner taking on the No. 4 player.

    Saturday night’s winner will meet the No. 3 qualifier in the first of three matches in Sunday’s championship round starting at 3 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. First prize in the final major championship of the 2010-11 PBA Tour season is $80,000.


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    68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open - Match play Round Two (sixth round overall)

    Players with position, hometown and 42-game total including match play records and bonus pins.

    1, Tommy Jones, Greenville, S.C., 9-7, 9,359
    2, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 10-6, 9,313
    3, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 13-3, 9,186
    4, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 7-9, 9,184
    5, Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill., 10-6, 9,183
    6, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 9-7, 9,133
    7, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 9-7, 9,116
    8, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 9-7, 9,090
    9, Dan MacLelland, Saginaw, Mich., 8-8, 9,073
    10, a-Marcus Berndt, Sweden, 10-6, 9,033
    11, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 7-8-1, 9,021
    12, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 6-9-1, 9,003
    13, Scott Norton, Costa Mesa, Calif., 7-8-1, 8,925
    14, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 8-8, 8,898
    15, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 9-7, 8,896
    16, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 6-10, 8,874
    17, a-Mark Clark, Naperville, Ill., 9-7, 8,862
    18, John Szczerbinski, North Tonawanda, N.Y., 6-9-1, 8,834
    19, a-E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 4-11-1, 8,820
    20, John Furey, East Windsor, N.J., 7-9, 8,805, $100
    21, a-Matthew O'Grady, South Amboy, N.J., 7-9, 8,799
    22, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 6-9-1, 8,767
    23, a-Fero Williams, Fairfield, Ohio, 6-10, 8,755
    24, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 7-9, 8,733