The 26-year-old right-hander (featured photo) posted an eight-game block of 1,823 (227.88 average) at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kansas, to lead the 144-player field.
Greg Ostrander of Freehold, New Jersey, sits in second with 1,808, while Wichita’s AJ Chapman (1,770), Brent Boho of Colgate, Wisconsin (1,766), and 2006 U.S. Open champion Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, South Carolina (1,761), round out the top five.
Defending champion Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida, sits in 23rd place with a 1,690 total.
Prather put together an impressive performance last week at the Professional Bowlers Association Fall Swing in Owasso, Oklahoma, advancing to the championship round in each of the three events held at The Lanes at Coffee Creek.
He collected a pair of third-place finishes at the PBA Wolf Open and PBA Bear Open and concluded the week by finishing fifth at the PBA Tulsa Open.
Prather was able to parlay that success on Friday’s challenging 37-foot oil pattern, which he thought would be the toughest of the four lane conditions being used this week.
Competitors in the field will compete on three different lane conditions during the first three rounds of qualifying. A fourth oil pattern will be introduced for Monday’s cashers’ round and be used for the remainder of the tournament.
“I thought we were going to stay right and control the pocket,” Prather said. “I didn’t think scores would be this high, but the little bit of urethane that went down the lane helped a lot. I thought this was going to be the most difficult pattern, so this definitely loosens up the swing even more.”
Prather has advanced to the match-play portion of the U.S. Open in its last two editions, finishing in 17th place in 2016 and 14th in 2017.
He made his way back from a slow start last year in Liverpool, New York, so the quick strike Friday at Northrock Lanes has him excited to attack Saturday’s 40-foot lane condition.
“It’s huge,” said Prather, who was in 32nd place after the opening round last year at Flamingo Bowl. “This has been the best I’ve bowled on the first day at the U.S. Open, so I’m really looking forward to getting back on the lanes tomorrow morning and knocking down as many pins as I can. I think I’ll need to put on my striking shoes, but I’m ready to go.”
After 24 games, the field will be cut to the top 36 players for the cashers’ round, which will include an additional eight games to determine the 24 players for round-robin match play.
Match play will begin Monday at 6 p.m. Eastern with the first of three eight-game rounds. Match play resumes Tuesday at 11 a.m. Eastern with the final two blocks, including a position round. The five finalists will be determined by total pinfall, including bonus pins, for 56 games.
The stepladder finals will take place Oct. 31 and air live on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. Eastern, awarding the champion the $30,000 top prize and coveted green jacket.
The U.S. Open is the fourth and final major championship on the 2018 PBA Tour schedule and is conducted jointly by the United States Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America.
Each round of the 2018 U.S. Open leading up to the stepladder finals will be broadcast live on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame on FloBowling.
For more information on the U.S. Open, click here.
Pre-Tournament Qualifier solidifies field at 2018 U.S. Open
Rhino Page excited to defend title at U.S. Open
2018 U.S. Open to feature several lane patterns, fresh oil for each squad
2018 PBA Tour Schedule & Champions
Players with position, hometown and 8-game total; w-woman, n-non-PBA member.
1, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 1,823. 2, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 1,808. 3, AJ Chapman, Wichita, Kan., 1,770. 4, n-Brent Boho, Colgate, Wis., 1,766. 5, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 1,761. 6, Patrick Hanrahan, Wichita, Kan., 1,759.
7, n-Dallas Leong, Las Vegas, 1,757. 8(tie), Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, and n-Tom Adcock, Decatur, Ill., 1,756. 10, Dom Barrett, England, 1,741. 11, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 1,735. 12, David Beres, Waukesha, Wis., 1,732.
13, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 1,727. 14, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 1,725. 15, Yannaphon Larp-apharat, Thailand, 1,723. 16, Stuart Williams, England, 1,704. 17, Charlie Brown Jr., Grandville, Mich., 1,701. 18, Pontus Andersson, Sweden, 1,695.
19(tie), Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., and Rafiq Ismail, Malaysia, 1,693. 21(tie), Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., and Graham Fach, Canada, 1,692. 23, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 1,690. 24, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 1,687.
25, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 1,684. 26, n-Jacob Kersten, Wichita, Kan., 1,683. 27, Zeke Bayt, Westerville, Ohio, 1,681. 28, Matt O’Grady, Rahway, N.J., 1,679. 29, Mitch Hupe, Canada, 1,676. 30, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 1,670.
31, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,667. 32, n-David Simard, Canada, 1,659. 33, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 1,655. 34(tie), Daniel Fransson, Sweden, and Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,654. 36, Austin Boulds, Creal Springs, Ill., 1,653.
37, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,646. 38(tie), Mike Coffey, Melbourne, Fla., and Joe Bailey, Wooster, Ohio, 1,645. 40, n-Brandon Biondo, Carpentersville, Ill., 1,644. 41, Matthew Ogle, Louisville, Ky., 1,643. 42, Chris Polizzi, Spring Hill, Fla., 1,641.
43, Nicholas Pate, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., 1,639. 44, Richie Teece, England, 1,638. 45(tie), Cristian Azcona, Puerto Rico, and AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 1,636. 47, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 1,635. 48, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 1,634.
49(tie), n-Cotie Holbek, Burlington, Wis., and Alex George, Wichita, Kan., 1,633. 51(tie), Shawn Maldonado, Houston, and Nick Kruml, Downers Grove, Ill., 1,632. 53, Nathan Bohr, Austin, Texas, 1,629. 54, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 1,627.
55, Gregory Thompson Jr., Tempe, Ariz., 1,626. 56, Brad Miller, Lee’s Summit, Mo., 1,625. 57, Tim Foy Jr., Seaford, Del., 1,623. 58, Matt Kuba, Chicago Ridge, Ill., 1,622. 59, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 1,621. 60, Craig Tuholski, Troutdale, Ore., 1,620.
61, Darren Tang, San Francisco, 1,619. 62, Brandon Curtis, Manson, N.C., 1,617. 63, Roger Petrin, Taylor, Mich., 1,615. 64, n-Michael Mak, Hong Kong, 1,613. 65(tie), Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, and Nathan Michalowski, Burlington, Wis., 1,612. 67(tie), Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., and Jakob Butturff, Chandler, Ariz., 1,611.
69, James Hall, Daphne, Ala., 1,610. 70, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,609. 71, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,607. 72(tie), Andrew Cain, Phoenix, and n-Daniel Hanson, Tacoma, Wash., 1,600. 74, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,599.
75, n-Joshua Schneider, Fond du Lac, Wis., 1,598. 76, Jari Ratia, Finland, 1,597. 77, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 1,595. 78, BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 1,594. 79, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 1,592. 80, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,589.
81, Brett Cooper, Denver, 1,583. 82, David Haynes, Las Vegas, 1,577. 83, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,575. 84, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 1,573. 85, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 1,572. 86(tie), Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., n-Spencer Robarge, Springfield, Mo., and Aaron Lorincz, Center Line, Mich., 1,571.
89, n-Chris Szczepaniak, Wyandotte, Mich., 1,566. 90(tie), Michael Tang, San Francisco, and n-Wesley Low, Palmdale, Calif., 1,563. 92, n-Kennon McFalls, Gastonia, N.C., 1,561. 93, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 1,557. 94, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 1,553.
95, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 1,548. 96, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 1,547. 97, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 1,546. 98, Chris Gibbons, Madison, Wis., 1,541. 99, n-Briley Haugh, Faribault, Minn., 1,540. 100(tie), Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, and Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 1,538.
102(tie), Curt Dupre IV, Destrehan, La., and n-Justin Hromek, Towanda, Kan., 1,531. 104(tie), Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, and w-Daria Pajak, Poland, 1,527. 106, Kamron Doyle, Brentwood, Tenn., 1,526. 107, n-Adrian Anderson, Roseburg, Ore., 1,523.
108(tie), n-Alex Hoskins, Pocatello, Idaho, and w-Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 1,522. 110, n-Frank Guccione, Castle Rock, Colo., 1,520. 111, Francois Louw, South Africa, 1,516. 112(tie), n-Duane Kilts, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, n-Nicholas Scelfo, Millstone, N.J., and Zach Wilkins, Canada, 1,514.
115, Sam Cooley, Australia, 1,513. 116, n-Thomas McNeal, Seattle, 1,511. 117, Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., 1,508. 118, Kim Bolleby, Thailand, 1,507. 119, n-Cortez Schenck, Phoenix, 1,506. 120, Daria Kovalova, Wichita, Kan., 1,501.
121, Charles Clifford Jr., Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., 1,499. 122, Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., 1,495. 123, Humberto Vazquez, Mexico, 1,494. 124, Kenneth Ryan, Morganville, N.J., 1,484. 125, Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., 1,480. 126, n-Jacob Boresch, Kenosha, Wis., 1,476.
127, n-Greg Young, Viera, Fla., 1,465. 128, n-Joshua Link, Billings, Mont., 1,463. 129, Kyle Mayberry, Mechanicsburg, Ohio, 1,460. 130(tie), Kevin Fanter, Maize, Kan., and n-Joseph Grondin, San Pedro, Calif., 1,458. 132, n-Jared Armstrong, Louisville, Ky., 1,447.
133, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1,437. 134, Robert Lawrence, Austin, Texas, 1,433. 135, Trey Ford III, Bartlesville, Okla., 1,429. 136, Joshua Roca, Wichita, Kan., 1,422. 137, n-Bryan Hahlen, Greenwood, S.C., 1,417. 138, n-Bryan Dragotta, Selden, N.Y., 1,413.
139, John Furey, Howell, N.J., 1,352. 140, n-Scott Hill, Belleville, Ill., 1,304. 141, n-Richard Paul, Winton, Calif., 1,300. 142, Matt Sanders, Indianapolis, 885. 143, Kyle King, Glendale, Ariz., 685. 144, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 178.