UPDATED 7-23-02
Here is my report of the PBA regional tournament held at George Pappas Liberty Lanes in Gastonia, NC. Gastonia is about 25 miles west of Charlotte. Billy Martin, the manager hosted us while George was bowling in a Senior regional tournament.

The lane oil pattern is supposed to be one of the easier patterns that the PBA uses. A heavier strip of oil is around the 8th board with no oil on the outside 2 boards. The problem with no oil is that for most players the ball bounces too hard off of the dry. Even though this pattern should be good for more 'natural' game, I have a lot of trouble with it as the misses are so frustrating when the ball ends up in the opposite direction as the miss. I ended up opting for a hooking trajectory after my first 2 games.

I was on 'A' squad and unfortunately missed the practice session, so I wasn't 100% confident of how and where I should play the lanes. I started playing around 8 at the arrows going out to about 3 with a particle ball (#0073).
This wasn't bad except that I did throw one ball in the channel. I did make the spare and shot a 227. The 2nd game wasn't quite as nice as I started with a rip 7-10 and then missed a 2-10 in the 3rd frame. I managed a couple of doubles to shoot 190. I then moved inside using a reactive ball (#0059) and started hooking the ball from 12 out to 3. I threw a couple of bad shots and then moved back out trying to play a more direct line with a different particle ball (#0201). I finished with a 175 after 2 opens.

After 4 frames of the next game I decided to move back inside with (#0059) and hook the ball. I had a 4 bagger after an open to shoot 209. The 5th game was much better as I had a 5 bagger with no opens for a 233. I only missed the pocket once the 6th game and a 6 bagger helped me to a 248. The 7th game was very frustrating as I missed the pocket twice. Once was when I went wide and went in the channel, the other was a 3-6. I left four 10 pins, a solid 7 and a solid 9 pin to shoot 184. In the last game I started with 5 strikes. I left a 6-7-10 split which I missed in the 6th frame and then left a rip 7-10 after a double. I finished strike spare for a 221 game. I ended up being in 7th place on the 'A' squad with +87. If the 'B' squad bowled well I would have missed the cut, but fortunately for me only 8 players passed me on 'B' squad.

X X9- X-/ X X X9/9/X 227
819/81 X X7/ X X9/X9- 190
7/9/ X X8/726/9/9/62175
X8/6/72 X X X X8/X9/ 209
8/9/9/7/ X X X X X9/9 233
8/9/ X9/ X X X X XX9/ 248
X9/ X-9 X9/9/9/8/X9/ 184
X X X X X72 X X81X8/ 221

I had 44 strikes out of 87 shots. I had no strikes missing the pocket. I missed the pocket 22 times.
My strike % on pocket shots was 44 out of 68%.
I had 8 opens. 6 were splits (rip 7-10, 2-10, 4-7-10, 4-8-10, 6-7-10, and another rip 7-10), 1 missed washout (1-2-4-10) and a solid 10 on a full rack. I did pick up one of the gutter balls I had and the 3-10.

I bowled decent but my carry wasn't very good.

In match play I started with a reactive ball (#0018) hooking the ball from 13 to 3. I hit the pocket pretty well only missing the pocket once when I threw the ball wide into the channel which I spared. I left a rip 7-10 in the 10th after having a 4 bagger for a 214 and lost to Jerry Horn's 258. My 2nd match was against qualifying leader John Gaines. I again missed the pocket 1 time only to shoot 207 and lose to John's 234 when John struck out from the 7th frame. Match 3 was against the only left hander to make the top 16, Chris Hayden. He was struggling and continued against me shooting a 167 while I managed a very nice 257 with the help of a cross over strike.

The 4th game was against Guppy Troup and we both struggled, but I won 202-188. In the 5th game I started with the first 4 strikes, but Danny Cobb finished strong to beat me 244-215. Game 6 was against Stoney Baker. Stoney was leading at the time and playing right up the channel. After my open in the 3rd I moved out where he was and tried my suitcase release. It worked for a few frames but I lost 223-257. After several frames of the 7th game I moved back in, but still only managed one strike for a 191 game to lose to John May's 236. The last game of the morning was against Chris Collins. He had 2 splits surrounding a 5 bagger followed by a turkey. I had 2 doubles and a turkey to go along with my open in the middle for a 218-229 loss. I had the 4th high round of the morning, but I could only win 2 of the 8 games.

In the 2nd round I started against Ryan Smith. I started the game using the same ball (#0018) but I tried a bit more speed and more side rotation playing around 9 to 3. Ryan had 2 splits in a row in the middle of the game after a 4 bagger. I won 216-214 with a channel on my fill ball. Game 10 was against Michael Long. I missed the pocket once, but couldn't strike shooting 183 to Mike's 228. Game 11 was a 234-268 loser to Kip Roberts. In game 12 Steve Wilson beat me 237-220. Michael Haugen started with the front 9 before leaving a light 7 pin and a 279-247 win. In game 14 Dave Watson had 2 splits while I had a double and a 5 bagger to win 245-197. Steve Hoskins beat me 258-215. In the position round I tried to hook the ball a bit more going from 15 to 2. I bowled a great game, but lost 268-279. I won 4 games and lost 12. Even though I bowled fairly well I had a lot of trouble winning matches as my opponents bowled very well. Hopefully I can get some breaks in the upcoming tournaments as these last couple haven't been very nice for me. I did finish in 11th place.

JH X X X X X X X9/ X9/9 258
WR X-/9/9/ X X X X9/81 214

WR X9/ X9/ X9/9/9/9/XXX 207
JG X X9/8/818/ X X XXXX 234

CH 81 X7172 X X9/ X X63 167
WR X X8/ X X X X9/ XXXX 257

WR X81 X X9/ X62 X XX9/ 202
GT 9/7/9/8/71 X9/ X X9/X 188

DC 9/63 X9/ X X X X XXX9 244
WR X X X X9/9/9/ X72X8/ 215

WR X X81 X X X X9/ X9/8 223
SB X X X9/ X X X X X9/9 257

JM X9/ X X8/9/9/ X XXXX 236
WR 9/8/9/9/9/9/ X9/9/9/9 191

WR X X9/ X X716/8/ XXX8 218
CC 71 X X X X X53 X XX9/ 229

MH X X X X X X X X X9/X 279
WR 9/ X X9/9/ X X X XX9/ 247

WR 9/ X X9/ X X X X X7/9 245
DW X8/629/ X X718/ XXXX 197

WR 9/ X X X9/9/9/9/ X9/9 215
SH X X X X X9/ X X X9/X 258

WR X X9/ X X X X X XX9/ 268
SW X X X X X X X X X9/X 279

In match play I had 98 strikes out of 179 shots with 1 cross over strike and 27 missed pocket shots.
My strike percentage was 97 out of 152 or 64%.
I had 5 opens. All 5 were splits (7-10, 4-9, 4-6-7-10, 4-7-10, 4-6-7, 2-8-10, 4-9, 2-6-7). I picked up no splits.

My opponents had 126 strikes out of 182 shots with 5 non pocket strikes and 35 missed pocket shots.
Their strike percentage was 121 out of 147 or 82%.
They had 14 opens. 11 splits (4-6, 3-7-9, 4-6-10, 3-6-7-9, 4-6-7, 4-6-7-9-10, 3-10, 4-6, 3-4-6-7-10, 4-6-7-10, 4-7-10) and 3 spares (1-3, 3-6-10, 3-6-9-10). They picked up 3 splits (2-7, and two 3-10's).

I bowled pretty well in match play, but couldn't get the pins to fall down. For some reason, my opponents were able to knock the pins over much better than me and beat up on me soundly.

Stoney Baker lead the tournament, but Jerry Horn ended up winning all of the matches on the step-ladder beating Michael Haugen, Kip Roberts, and John Gaines before winning the tournament over Stoney.

After the qualifying on the Saturday I went to a horseshoe pitching tournament down in Clover, SC which was 12 miles south of Gastonia. There were 6 players in the top group. I won my first 3 games and was close to winning the 4th when the skies opened up and the much needed rain came down. The tournament was called due to the weather and I was awarded 1st place since I had a higher average and no losses. I averaged around 81%, but it was for a very short time. After the match play on Sunday evening I practiced with TN state champion Shannon Foster who drove 3 hours to pitch with me. He didn't pitch as well as he did a few weeks ago against me and I managed to get some 'revenge' on him

Walter Ray