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Zulkifli, Kent first-round leaders in PBA Oklahoma Open

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Three-time PBA Tour winner Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., and long-time Malaysian national team member Zulmazran Zulkifli, a relatively recent convert to the two-handed bowling style, averaged 234.8 to tie for the first round lead in the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Oklahoma Open Tuesday at FireLake Bowling Center.

Kent (above) and Zulfkifli both bowled a 1,879 eight-game pinfall total to lead the 91-player field on the PBA’s 32-foot Wolf pattern lane condition.

Kent recovered from games of 166 and 172 to start the round but caught fire with games of 239, 279, 237, 237, 260 and 289. Zulkifli (right), or ZZ as he is more commonly called, bowled games of 211, 203, 213, 258 287, 266, 226 and 215.

“I tried to make a urethane ball work to start the round but that wasn’t going to work,” said Kent, who won the PBA Xtra Frame Lubbock Sports Open earlier this month for his third career title. “I changed to a reactive ball in the third game and started striking.

“Past experience on this pattern told me that urethane would be a good choice but there seemed to be too much oil (on the lanes) for what I was trying to do,” he added. “I really wasn’t comfortable using reactive either but it turned out to be the right change to make.”

At a point in his career when he was ready to give up the sport, Zulkifli, a 13-time winner in Asia, decided to make the change to a two-handed delivery about 18 months ago because he felt he was no longer competitive using the normal one-handed delivery.

“I was about to quit the game because it just wasn’t fun anymore,” said the 34-year-old Zulkifli. “I just couldn’t get the power I needed using one hand so I thought what do I have to lose, I’ll give it a try.

“I tried it once for about 15 minutes and felt I could make it work,” he continued. “For me, I need to make the ball hook and using the two-handed delivery was the answer.”

Since he started using the two-handed delivery, it’s been a lot of practice – up to six hours a day and watching a lot of video of players like other two-handed stars Jason Belmonte and Osku Palermaa.

“I still look at myself as a beginner using this style because it still doesn’t feel natural to me,” Zulkifli said. “I really have to concentrate hard on every shot. At this point in my career I can’t stay home and practice until I’m ready. I have to learn while I’m bowling at the highest level of competition because I’m getting older.”

Another two-hander, six-time Tour winner Jesper Svensson (left) of Sweden finished the round in third just nine pins back with a 1,870 pinfall.

Rounding out the top five were 16-year-old PBA member Trey Ford III of Bartlesville, Okla., who finished fourth with a 1,834 pinfall and two-time Tour winner Thomas Larsen (right) of Denmark who finished the round in fifth with 1,826.

Oklahoma Open competition continues with eight-game qualifying rounds Wednesday and Thursday on the PBA’s Bear and Badger lane conditioning patterns.

The top 33 players based on 24-game pinfall totals will advance to another eight-game qualifying round on the Oklahoma Open lane condition Friday which will determine nine players who will compete in the live ESPN stepladder finals Saturday and Sunday at noon CDT (1 p.m. ET) at the Grand Casino Hotel Event Center.

All qualifying rounds are streamed live on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame. For subscription and schedule information click here.

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PBA Oklahoma Open – First Round Standings

Players with position, hometown and 8-game total

1, (tie) Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., and
Zulmazran Zulkifli, Malaysia, 1,879
3, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 1,870
4, Trey Ford III, Bartlesville, Okla., 1,834
5, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,826
6, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 1,811
7, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1,794
8, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 1,788
9, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,786
10, Kyle Sherman, O’Fallon, Mo., 1,785
11, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,782
12, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 1,763
13, Jason Sterner, Rockledge, Fla., 1,756
14, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 1,753
15, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 1,749
16, Ahmed Alawadhi, Bahrain, 1,742
17, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 1,739
18, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1,733
19, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla., 1,731
20, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 1,728
21, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 1,720
22, Sam Cooley, Australia, 1,719
23, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 1,715
24, (tie) AJ Chapman, Wichita, Kan.,
Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., and
Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 1,708
27, Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., 1,701
28, Dom Barrett, England, 1,700
29, Francois Louw, South Africa, 1,697
30, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 1,687
31, Richie Teece, England, 1,674
32, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 1,672
33, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 1,671
34, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 1,661
35, (tie) Nick Kruml, Downers Grove, Ill., and
Francois Lavoie, Canada, 1,654
37, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 1,651
38, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 1,646
39, James Cantere, Oklahoma City, 1,645
40, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 1,644
41, Brian LeClair, Athens, N.Y., 1,638
42, Omar Rashid, Bahrain, 1,637
43, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 1,632
44, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 1,628
45, Zeke Bayt, Westerville, Ohio, 1,625
46, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,624
47, Dylan Burns, Lawrence, Kan., 1,623
48, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,622
49, J.R. Raymond, Clinton Twp., Mich., 1,619
50, Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 1,611
51, Isaac Russell, Malaysia, 1,610
52, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,609
53, Stuart Williams, England, 1,608
54, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 1,607
55, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 1,603
56, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 1,602
57, Tom Sorce, Blasdell, N.Y., 1,592
58, John Szczerbinski, N. Tonawanda, N.Y., 1,589
59, (tie) Gabriel Garcia, Port St. Lucie, Fla., and
Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 1,588
61, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 1,585
62, Dylan Macon, Lubbock, Texas, 1,582
63, (tie) Osama Hassan, Bahrain, and
Matthew Sanders, Evansville, Ind., 1,574
65, (tie) Isaac Kim, Lebanon, Pa., and
Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 1,563
67, Graham Fach, Canada, 1,558
68, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,556
69, Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 1,551
70, Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, 1,550
71, Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill., 1,543
72, Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas, 1,540
73, (tie) Patrick Allen, Elmwood Park, N.J., and
Christopher Sloan, Ireland, 1,534
75, Michael Houtz, Myerstown, Pa., 1,532
76, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights, Mo., 1,528
77, Jeff Hatt, Oklahoma City, 1,499
78, Kim Bolleby, Thailand, 1,498
79, Darren Tang, San Francisco, 1,497
80, Pontus Andersson, Sweden, 1,488
81, Ramon Hilferink, Netherlands, 1,461
82, Armando Santacruz, Ecuador, 1,440
83, Kenneth Bland Jr., Jacksonville, Texas, 1,433
84, Paul Brewbaker, Midwest City, Okla., 1,427
85, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 1,408
86, Tyson Branagan, Fort Worth, Texas, 1,374
87, William Tarpein, McDonough, Ga., 1,350
88, Cody Shoemaker, Hanover, Pa., 1,331
89, Jose Rosero, Ecuador, 1,243
90, Yebgueni Velez, Ecuador, 1,156
91, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 531, withdrew

300 games (2) – Ronnie Russell, Thomas Larsen.

Herbert Bickel

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