PBA South Region Matthews Open

Here is my report of the PBA regional tournament held at Carolina Lanes in Matthews, North Carolina.

Matthews is about 10 miles from Charlotte. Carolina Lanes is a state of the art bowling and fun center with 60 lanes of which 24 are specifically for entertainment bowling (glow bowling and parties). We used the other 36 lanes for the tournament. I have done very well in the past having won 2 of the last 3 years.

There were 2 squads with around 120 players. I was on the 'B' squad. The 'C' pattern was being used. The scores were a bit higher than I expected on the 'A' squad. I used a reactive ball (#4543)No Photo for the block. In winning last year I played an extreme outside angle and tried that again in my first game. But the pins didn't cooperate in the first game and when I missed a 7 pin and a 2-8 with one double I shot 183. I moved in to around 11 at the arrows going out to around 5 with the same ball and shot 247 in game 2. I started game 3 with a 7 bagger, but missed the 3-6-7-10 in the 8th and the 2-10 in the 10th to shoot 230. I chopped the 2-4-5-8 in the 1st frame of game 4 but had a double and a closing 5 bagger for a nice 235. I missed the pocket 4 times in game 5 but struck on 6 of my 7 pocket shots for 3 doubles and a 225. A double and a finishing 4 bagger helped me to a 227 in game 6. In game 7 I decided to move inside to 19 and hook the ball. I had a 5 bagger and made a 1-2-4-10 washout in the 9th frame to shoot 234. In the last game of the block I had a 5 bagger before leaving a rip 7-10 and finished with a respectable 224. I ended up being +205 for the 8 games of qualifying which was good for 3rd place. It took +80 to make the cut to the top 24 and 16th place was at +98. Michael Fagan was leading with +312. In the 2nd round I started playing around 10-11 with the same ball (#4543) as I used in the 1st round. The pins were very cooperative as I shot 277 even though I missed the pocket 3 times, once for a tripped 4-7-10 strike. The 2nd game was also good as I had 236 despite an open in the 2nd frame when I left the 4-6-7. Game 3 was a turn in the wrong direction as I never had 2 strikes in a row and missed the 4-6-7-10 in the 7th for a 179. Game 4 was very frustrating as I only missed the pocket one time. I had only 3 strikes and I missed a 4 pin for a 184. I managed a double and a turkey in the 5th game but another rip 7-10 kept my score down to a 214. The 16th place number didn't go anywhere as players were struggling. It ended up only going up 4 pins to +102. Michael Fagan continued his great bowling to lead with +468. I ended up being 2nd at +295.

In the qualifying games I had 84 strikes out of 144 shots. I had 4 strikes while missing the pocket, a tripped 4-7-10 in the 1st, 9th, 10th, and 13th games.
I missed the pocket 32 times. My strike % on pocket shots was 80 out of 102 pocket shots or 78%.
I had 10 opens. 7 were splits (3-6-7-10, 2-10, rip 7-10, 4-6-7, 4-6-7-10, rip 7-10) and 4 missed spares (7, 2-8, 2-4-5-8, 4). I had a little trouble with my simple spares as I missed 2 single pins, other than that I did a pretty good job with my spares. I did pick up the 2-8 five times, the 1-2-4-10 washout and the 2-4-5-8.

My round of 16 match was against Stoney Baker. Stoney is not only a host of one of the PBA southern regional tournaments, but one of the top bowlers in the southern region as he was the 2002 PBA Southern Regional Player of the year. I decided to use a particle ball (#0183) in my matches and play around 7 at the arrows. Stoney bowled a great match against me, but wasn't able to get the pins to fall down. He only had a double in the 1st game for a 205 while I had a 6 bagger and an open in the 10th for a 232. In the 2nd game Stoney had an early open when he missed the 4-6-7 in the 4th frame while I started with a double and then another double. Stoney started striking and when I left the 4-6-7 in the 10th frame on a turkey for a 223 he had a chance in the 10th frame to beat me. He went a little light leaving a weak 10 to shoot 219 so I advanced to the round of 8.

Last year I bowled Patrick Allen for the title, but this year we met in the round of 8. Patrick started the match with a turkey, but a missed 7 pin in the 6th gave me an opening as I had started with a 4 bagger and then left the 4-6-7. Patrick never struck again in that 1st game and I won 223-199. Patrick bowled a great 2nd game as he only missed the pocket once when he went high in the 9th frame only leaving the 6 pin. He had a weak 7 to start, a solid 7 in the 2nd and 5 great strikes followed by a solid 9 in the 8th. Meanwhile I started with a double a solid 9 and almost a rip 7-10 with the 7 falling down late. I tripped the 4-7-10 in the 5th to start a string of 7 strikes to win the game 266-236.

My round of 4 was against Keith Lesko who was rookie of the year in the Southern region a few years ago. He struggled to hit the pocket against me and was only able to shoot 165 in the first game while I shot 224. I got tapped the 2nd game as I only had 3 strikes while Keith got lined up in the 2nd half of the game to win the game 211-194. In the 3rd game Keith started about where he finished the 2nd game with 3 really nice strikes. I threw a really bad opening shot leaving the 1-2-4-6-10 washout which I missed, but followed that up with a turkey. Keith went through the nose on his 4th shot, but managed to get a strike out of it. He came right back with a slightly wide shot in the 5th frame and left the 8-10 which he missed. I threw another bad shot in the 5th frame and left the 4-6-7-9-10 for another open and a solid 10 in the 6th. Keith left the 3-6-9-10 in the 6th frame for an open, but came back with a nice strike in the 7th. I struck in the 7th and 8th frames to get within 7 pins of Keith. Keith pulled his shot in the 8th frame, but it crossed over for a strike and then added a great shot in the 9th for a turkey. I threw some great shots in the 9th and 10th frames to strike out for a 228 game. Keith needed a strike in the 10th frame to win the game and again pulled the ball for a cross over strike. He left a 6 pin on his 2nd ball in the 10th to win 234-228. Keith ended up winning the tournament as he beat Doug Palmer in the final match 2 games straight. I can't really complain about the way Keith beat me, because I have done the same thing on a few occasions to win matches over the years. I also felt fortunate to have won against my earlier opponents as they both bowled great matches.

In the elimination matches I had 49 strikes out of 78 shots. I had two strikes while missing the pocket, a tripped 4-10 against Stoney Baker in game 1 of that match and a tripped 4-7-10 in the 2nd game of the match against Patrick Allen. I missed the pocket 17 times in the 7 games.
My strike % on pocket shots was 47 out of 61 pocket shots or 77%.
I had 6 opens, 4 splits (4-6-7, 4-6-7, 4-6-10, 4-6-7-9-10) and 2 missed washouts (1-2-4-10, 1-2-4-6-10). I also made the 2-4-10 twice against Keith Lesko.

In the elimination matches against me, my opponents had 35 strikes out of 77 shots. They had 4 strikes while missing the pocket, Keith had a tripped 4-7-10 in the 2nd game, a nose strike in the 3rd along with the 2 cross over strikes in the 3rd game. They missed the pocket 27 times.
Their strike % on pocket shots was 31 out of 50 pocket shots or 62%.
They had 7 opens, 4 splits (4-6-7, two 2-8-10's, 8-10) and 3 missed spares (7, 3-6-10, 3-6-9-10). They did pick up the 3-6-9-10 (Stoney), 2-4-8 (Keith), and the 2-10 split (Keith).

I ended up finishing tied for 3rd place with local favorite Wes Godwin. I was very happy with the way I bowled. Unfortunately for me, my luck ran out in the 3rd match. Tournament leader Michael Fagan was eliminated in the round of 16 by Chris Hayden.

Walter Ray


Walter Ray