Monday, May 26, 2014

Tommy Jones Top Qualifier at PBA Bear Open

One day after missing the stepladder finals of the PBA Wolf Open by four pins, 15-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, SC, raced away with the top qualifying berth for the finals of the PBA Bear Open at Fire Lake Bowling Center Tuesday.

Jones, who hasn’t won a PBA Tour title on American soil since the 2008 GEICO Championship in West Babylon, NY, averaged 220.5 for 12 games on the most difficult of the Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort PBA Summer Swing lane conditioning patterns, a flat 40-foot condition that is almost identical to the U.S. Open lane oiling pattern. Jones finished with a 2,646 pinfall total to top No. 2 qualifier Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, PA, by 24 pins.

Also advancing to the Bear Open stepladder finals Saturday will be No. 3 Ronnie Russell of Marion, IN, with 2,620 pins; Rhino Page of Dad City, FL, with 2,608 pins and No. 5 Dick Allen of Columbia, SC, with a 2,606 total. The Bear Open finals will be contested at 2:30 p.m. CT on the special lane installation at the Grand Event Center. The finals will air on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday, June 10, at 7 p.m. ET.

Pacing the Bear field was a bit of redemption for Jones after Monday’s disappointment.

“It wasn’t the finish that bothered me as much as I threw a couple of shots into the gutter and missed the TV show by four pins,” he said. “Leaving those pins out there is what leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.”

Jones also is aware it’s been six years since he has won a title in the U.S. He has won three PBA International Tour events since then, but overcoming hip and neck injuries over the past five-or-so years has been frustrating.

“To win in the U.S. is definitely a goal, and to go in feeling healthy is a good thing,” he added. “Some of my problems have been bad bowling and some of it has been being overly cautious about my health issues. But so far this week, everything’s been good.”

The Bear Open is the second of five events that compose Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort PBA Summer Swing. All five events will be televised on CBS Sports Network on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. ET, beginning with the Wolf Open on June 3.

The Bear Open also was the second of three qualifying legs in determining the field of 18 who will advance to the round-robin match play segment of the Oklahoma Open. After 12 of 18 qualifying games, the top five were Dom Barrett, England, 2,744; Jones, 2,741; Mike Fagan, Ft. Worth, Texas, 2,737; Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, PA, 2,722, and Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 2,721. The first six games in Wednesday’s Badger Open will determine the Oklahoma Open match play finalists.

The Badger Open, which features a 52-foot lane conditioning pattern, gets
underway Wednesday when Squad A bowls six qualifying games at 8 a.m. followed by Squad B at 2 p.m. The top 18 after six games advance to an additional six-game qualifying round at 7:30 p.m. to determine the five Badger Open stepladder finalists.

FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., May 20

Final Qualifying Standings (after 12 games; top five advance to stepladder finals at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Grand Event Center in Shawnee)
1, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 2,646.
2, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 2,622.
3, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 2,620.
4, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 2,608.
5, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 2,606.
6, Dom Barrett, England, 2,553, $2,000.
7, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 2,551, $1,800.
8, Mike DeVaney, Winchester, Calif., 2,543, $1,600.
9, Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 2,529, $1,400.
10, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 2,528, $1,300.
11, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2,527, $1,200.
12, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 2,525, $1,100.
13, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 2,487, $1,000.
14, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 2,483, $900.
15, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 2,469, $800.
16, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 2,468, $700.
17, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 2,456, $600.
18, John Ferraro, Kingston, N.Y., 2,420, $500.

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