Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shafer Knocking on The Door of a PBA Major AGAIN

Ryan Shafer, the ultimate bridesmaid in professional bowling major championship tournaments, is once again poised to grasp the title he covets most.

Shafer, a 45-year-old 25-year veteran of Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) competition, is the early second round leader in the 69th U.S. Open Wednesday after averaging 225.17 through the first 12 qualifying games at Brunswick Zone-Carolier.

On the freshly-oiled lane condition Wednesday morning, the Horseheads, NY, resident rolled games of 236, 188, 250, 255, 255 and 229 to finish with 2,702 pins and a 37-pin cushion over co-runners-up Mike Fagan of Dallas and Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio. Amateur Ron Nelson Jr. of Bridgeview, IL, was fourth with 2,654 pins. First round leader Dan MacLelland of Canada, who led Shafer by 140 pins going into Wednesday’s round, dropped to fifth place with a 2,651 total.

Defending champion Norm Duke of Clermont, FL, was in 33rd place among the early finishers with 2,478 pins.

The final one-third of the field of 394 players completed their second round Wednesday evening.

Shafer’s goal is to end a PBA-record string of 13 television finals in major championships without a title. He has finished second in majors five times, including the PBA World Championship earlier this season, and he has three additional top five finishes in majors when fewer than five players advanced to the TV finals.

In the U.S. Open alone, he has six top five finishes.

While Shafer has made at least one television appearance for 15 consecutive years, and has won four standard PBA Tour titles, he has never won a major.
He also realizes the only way he can end the streak is to continue putting himself into position to win one.

“This tournament is too long to worry about Sunday,” Shafer said. “You can’t think ahead.”

“Ahead” is the four-player stepladder finals which will be contested live on ESPN Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern. There also is a $60,000 carrot dangling in front of the winner, but there are still 14 qualifying games plus another 24 games of match play on the sport’s most demanding bowling conditions to get through. Shafer just hopes to be one of the final four.

“I love this tournament,” he said. “It can be frustrating at time, but house knowledge helps a lot. We’ve bowled a lot of tournaments here (at Brunswick Zone-Carolier) and I remember characteristics of the center that help. There are certain sections of the house where I know I can’t use the same ball on both lanes. You’re taking a chance when you do that, but I know I’ll shoot 160 if I don’t do it.

“You don’t expect to bowl that well on the fresh condition,” he said. “But I got a good night’s sleep and came in feeling good. I had one bad game, but for the most part, everything went as planned and I carried the pocket. That was the big thing.”

The entire field will bowl six more qualifying games Thursday. The top 98 players after 18 games will then advance to the eight-game cashers’ round Friday morning. After a total of 27 games, the top 24 will advance to three eight-game round robin match play rounds Friday evening and Saturday to decide the four stepladder finalists. 

All preliminary rounds leading up to Sunday’s ESPN finals are being webcast live on the PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, click on the logo on the home page of

Brunswick Zone-Carolier, North Brunswick, NJ, Wednesday
EARLY SECOND ROUND (top 64 after 12 games; one-third of the field had yet to complete the second round)
1, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 2,702.
2 (tie), Mike Fagan, Dallas, and Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 2,665.
4, Ron Nelson Jr., Bridgeview, Ill., 2,654.
5, Dan MacLelland, Canada, 2,651.
6, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 2,620.
7, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 2,607.
8, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 2,591.
9, Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 2,589.
10, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 2,580.
11, Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y., 2,566.
12 (tie), Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, and John Janawicz, Winter Haven, Fla., 2,560.
14, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 2,555.
15, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 2,554.
16, Shannon Buchan, Waterloo, Iowa, 2,553.
17, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 2,541.
18, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 2,537.
19, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 2,529.
20, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 2,527.
21, Rusty Thomsen, Morgan, N.J., 2,526.
22 (tie), Daniel Farish, Louisville, Ky., and Missy Parkin, Lake Forest, Calif., 2,518.
24, Adam Chase, Seaford, N.Y., 2,510.
25, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 2,498.
26 (tie), Brian LeClair, Athens, N.Y., and John Szczerbinski, North Tonawanda, N.Y., 2,494.
28, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 2,489.
29, Matthew O'Grady, South Amboy, N.J., 2,486.
30, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 2,482.
31, David Stouffer, Fort Myers, Fla., 2,480.
32, Stephen Haas, Enola, Pa., 2,479.
33, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 2,478.
34, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 2,477.
35, Michael Steil, Wheeling, Ill., 2,470.
36, Brandon Tarabek, Cleveland Hts., Ohio, 2,459.
37, Jake Peters, Decatur, Ill., 2,458.
38 (tie), Rob Gotterbarn, Garden City South, N.Y., and Carleton Chambers, Detroit, 2,457.
40, Dom Barrett, England, 2,456.
41, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 2,455.
42, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 2,450.
43, T.J. Schmidt, Osceola, Ind., 2,449.
44, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2,446.
45, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 2,445.
46, Stephen Pavlinko, Sewell, N.J., 2,441.
47, Lee Vanderhoef, Greenville, S.C., 2,433.
48, Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 2,431.
49, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 2,428.
50 (tie), Andrew Burke, St. Clair Shores, Mich., and Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 2,427.
52, Anthony Colosimo, Pembroke Pines, Fla., 2,417.
53, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 2,412.
54 (tie), Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn.; Eddie Graham, Centerville, Ohio; Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, and Paul Gibson, Brunswick, Ohio, 2,411.
58, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 2,408.
59 (tie), Alex Aguiar, N. Dartmouth, Mass., and Kenneth Lane, Rosedale, Md., 2,406.
61, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 2,401.
62, Kimmo Lehtonen, Finland, 2,400.
63, Brian Himmler, Cincinnati, 2,396.
64, John Briggs, Warwick, N.Y., 2,395.

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