Here is my report of the PBA regional tournament held at Sarasota, FL. Sarasota is about 50 miles south of Tampa. This report is a bit later than most as I drove to the first national fall tournament of the 2002-3 season in Wichita.

I was on 'B' squad out of 2 squads. The lanes were oiled using a pattern which doesn't put oil on the outside 2 boards of the lane. This is a very interesting pattern which I am not overly fond of. The reason for this is I like to play the 'dry' part of the lane, but the dry part of the lane is so dry that the ball actually jumps to hard off of it and overreacts, and I don't have the revs that most of the other players have. The only way I am comfortable playing this pattern is to hook the ball quite a bit so that my break point is right at the end of the oil pattern. I can usually hit the pocket, but it is a very different pattern compared to most of them.

With that mentioned, I started playing around 15 at the arrows going out to 2 or 3 with a sanded reactive ball (#1014). After starting with a turkey and having two doubles I missed the 3-6-9 in the 8th frame of the 1st game to shoot 222. In the 2nd game I had a similar game except I picked up the 3-6-9-10 to shoot 235. In game 3 I had a late 5 bagger to shoot 237. I had an early 5 bagger in game 4 but left a 4-10 in the 10th frame on a slightly high hit for a 224. In the 5th game I started with a 3-6-9-10 which I missed. I then had one strike in the next 7 shots even though I never missed the pocket. I never doubled and shot 185. The 6th game was similar to the 5th in that I missed the pocket only once, but I didn't have a very good score. I started with a ripped 7-10, managed a turkey, chopped the 2-4-5, and picked up the 4-9 in the 10th for a 194. The 7th game wasn't a very good game in that I missed the pocket 4 times opening in the 9th and 10th missing the 3-9-10, 4-6-7.

I switched to a shiny reactive ball (#0007) in the end of the 7th game and used that ball in the 8th game. In the 8th game I bounced back shooting a 247 as I only had two taps to go along with a 4-7. I ended up qualifying in 4th place with +137. It took +41 to make the top 16 with the top 3 players, Norm Titus, Mike Machuga, and Paul Koehler being all more than +220.

X X X9/9/ X X72 XX9/ 222
X9/ X X X9/ X X6/XXX 235
9/9/ X9/ X9/ X X XXX8 237
9/ X X X X X9/9/ X81 224
639/9/9/9/9/ X9/ X9/X 185
81 X9/ X9/ X X X728/X 194
6/ X9/ X X9/ X X7272193
9/ X X8/ X X X9/ XXXX 247

In qualifying I had 52 strikes out of 90 shots. I had one strike while missing the pocket when I went through the nose in the 7th game for a double. I missed the pocket 12 times.
My strike % on pocket shots was 52 out of 78 pocket shots or 66%
. I had 7 opens. 4 were splits (4-0, a rip 7-10, 3-9-10, 4-6-7) and 3 missed spares (3-6-9, 3-6-9-10, 2-4-5). I did pretty well on my spares as I did pick up the 3-6-9-10 twice and the 4-9.

I felt like I bowled pretty well as I was able to hit the pocket quite a bit, but my carry wasn't what it could have been due to the slower speed I was using.

I started match play using a reactive ball (#0007) playing a very similar line as in qualifying. My first match was against Paul Koehler. We both struggled in that we didn't strike a lot, and we both missed the pocket a couple of times. Paul won the match 207-193. In the 2nd match I tied Dave Covington with a 245 by striking out from the 6th frame. In match 3 I had another good game and beat Neil Croinex 257-208. In game 4 I had trouble striking as Erik Ramos beat me 211-194 despite having 2 opens. In game 5 I bowled against Craig Huggins and won 236-182 as Craig had trouble getting strikes. I bowled Norm Titus in game 6 and he bowled a great game against me beating me 255-215. I bowled James Campbell next and he struggled while I managed a decent game to won 228-184. The last game of the round was against Steve Wilson. We both bowled pretty good games except we both couldn't carry. Steve never missed the pocket to beat me 216-215.

In the 2nd round I started against Mike Eaton Jr. and had a great game to win 247-214. I bowled Mike Machuga in the next game and managed to win 197-195. Game 11 was against Wes Godwin and I bowled a very good game except for a gutter ball after my opening 4 bagger. I missed the spare, but won the game 213-189. I bowled Ryan Smith in game 12 and he bowled a great game against me and I lost 258-202. In game 13 I bowled D. B. and won 237-201. I bowled Roger Kossart in game 14 and won 227-191 as he also struggled. My match against Bill Guthrie wasn't very good and Bill won 246-182. The position round was against James Campbell. I was pretty much in 3rd place at this point unless James beat me by more than 63 pins. We ended up tying with 217.

In the step ladder finals James Campbell lost to Steve Wilson. That meant that I bowled Steve Wilson. Steve didn't have a very good reaction missing 2 washouts plus the 3-6 in the first frame. I had a pretty good reaction missing the pocket only once and won 227-161. My next match was against Michael Machuga. Mike bowled a pretty good game, but missed a 10 pin and the 2-10 split on his only missed pocket shot. I had a 43 pin lead after 6 frames, but Mike came back by striking out for a 215. That forced me to get a mark with really good count in the 10th frame. I struck out in the 10th frame to win 236-215.

The title match was against Norm Titus. Norm led the tournament by almost 200 pins and had bowled very well in doing so. Norm started the match with a solid 10. I started with a strike and a solid 10 of my own. Norm then left a weak 10 followed by a strike. I went high in the 3rd frame leaving only the 3 pin and struck in the 4th. Norm struck in the 4th for a double and went high in the 5th leaving the 4-7-10 which he missed only hitting the 7 pin. I added two strikes in the next 2 frames. Norm left another 10 pin and went high again in the 7th frame leaving the 3-6-10 which he spared. I added another strike before leaving a 10 pin. Norm struck in the 8th frame but went high again in the 9th frame leaving a 6-10 which he spared. I pretty much had won the match at this time and we both struck out giving me a 247-199 win. In the last match I was playing about as much hook as I can hitting around 18 at the arrows going out to about 3 or 4. I threw the ball very well and had a very good reaction as I only missed the pocket twice in the last 3 games. Even though I had never been crazy about this oil pattern, I ended up doing very well and won.

PK 9- X9/ X8/9/ X X X9/X 207
WR 9/ X9/ X X819/ X9/7/X 193

WR 9/8/9/9/9/ X X X XXXX 245
DC 9/ X X X X X X9/8-XXX 245

WR X X9/ X X X X X9/XX9 257
NC X X7/ X X9- X8/ XX7- 208

ER X62 X X X X X9/ X8- 211
WR 9/9/9/9/ X9/ X6/9/9/9 194

CH X9/9/8-9/ X X9/ X72 182
WR 72 X X X X9/ X X9/XX9 236

WR 7/ X X8/ X X9/9/9/X8/ 215
NT 9/7/ X X X X X9/ XXX9 255

WR 726/ X8/ X X9/ X XXXX 228
JC 7/ X729/ X9/9/ X9/9/8 184

SW 9/9/ X X9/ X X9/9/X9/ 216
WR 729/9/ X9/9/ X X XX8/ 215

WR X9/9/ X X X X X X8/X 247
ME X X9/9/9/-/ X X9/XX8 214

MM7/X8/9/8/9/X9/X9/9 195
WR X9/ X9/ X63 X9/ XX9/ 197

WG 9/8/9/8/6/ X9/8/ X6/X 189
WR X X X X-8 X X8/9/X9/ 213

WR 9/729/9/9/ X X9/ XX9/ 202
RS X9/ X X X X X X X9/9 258

WR X X X9/ X9/9/ X XX9/ 237
DB X9/ X X9/ X X9/53X7/ 201

RK 8/8/9/8/9/ X X9/ X72 191
WR X9/ X X X9/ X X9/X63 227

WR 8/ X9/8-9/7/ X9/ X9/9 182
BG 8/8/9/ X X X9/ X XXXX 246

WR 9/ X X9/ X9/ X9- XXXX 217
JC 72 X X X X8/ X-/ X9/X 217

SW 819/9/8/ X8/7263 X8/X 161
WR 9/ X8/ X X X9/9/9/XXX 227

WR X X X9/9/ X9/9/ XXX9 236
MM X9/9-9/819/ X X XXXX 215

NT 9/9/ X X719/7/ X8/XXX 199
WR X9/9/ X X X X9/ XXXX 247

In my matches I had 122 strikes out of 217 shots. I had 2 strikes while missing the pocket, both were tripped 4-7's. I missed the pocket 29 times.
My strike % on pocket shots was 120 out of 188 pocket shots or 64%.
I had 9 opens. 6 were splits (a rip 7-10, four 4-6-7's, 6-7) and 3 missed spares, a 3-6-9-10 a gutter shot and a 10 pin. I did very well on my spares missing only the three and I picked up the 3-10.

My opponents had 109 strikes out of 212 shots. They had 6 strikes while missing the pocket, 3 crossover's and a tripped 4-10, 2 tripped 4-7-10's. They missed the pocket 58 times.
Their strike % on pocket shots was 103 out of 154 or 67%.
They had 19 opens. 10 were splits (4-10, 2-10, 4-9, two 4-6-7's, 4-6-7-9-10, 2-7-8 L, 4-6-7, 2-10, and a 4-7-10) with 8 spares (5, 7, 3-6-9-10, 3-6, 1-2-10, 1-2-4-10, 2-10, 4-7-10). They picked up two full racks after gutter balls, a 1-2-4-8, and a 3-6-9-10.

I had a pretty good shot to pocket, but the carry wasn't very good, probably due to the slower ball speed I was using. I was fortunate that my opponents in the step ladder didn't bowl great games and I came out on top. Hopefully I can carry over this good bowling to the tour this season.

Walter Ray