Many stars of the Professional Bowlers Association fell by the wayside yesterday after just the first day of qualifying, and a sixth-year pro took charge at the PBA Toledo Open.
Patrick Healey Jr., who was a top amateur bowler and has won one PBA title, emerged as the leader by bowling a 2,079 nine-game total for an average of 231.0. The field of 195 bowlers was cut to 64 after qualifying in morning and evening sessions yesterday at Southwyck Lanes.
“Today I had a really good look,” the 34-year-old Healey said. “I had good breaks. Everything that had not been going my way went my way.”
Making surprising early exits were PBA Hall of Famers Parker Bohn III, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Norm Duke and Brian Voss. Williams, Duke and Voss all had won titles in Toledo in the past.
Bohn said the simple fact is that the top pros did not make shots.
“There s definitely not a lack of motivation,” Bohn said. “If any guy out here doesn t have motivation, he should stay home.”
PBA rookie Ronnie Russell came in second (226.89 average), while 33-year veteran Mike Aulby took third (226.22). Aulby was one of only a few PBA Hall of Famers who advanced to the round of 64. Aulby, who has 27 titles to his credit including the 1985 National Championship in Toledo, has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.
Two local bowlers, Emilio Mora Jr. and Chuck Reynolds Jr., finished higher than many of the PBA veterans. Mora took seventh and Reynolds finished 55th.
“It makes you feel really good when you realize you can compete with these guys,” said Mora, who finished with a 223.67 average. “I ve gotten a lot of support this week and that helps a lot.”
Reynolds, who used to work at Southwyck Lanes as a teenager, said his strong start has given him confidence that he can make it to the match play rounds.
“I have a little inside knowledge of the house,” the 28-year-old said. “I have a lot of family who come out to watch. It s good for me that they come out and support me. Today I threw the ball pretty well. I wanted to put on a good show.”
Williams, who has earned over $3 million in his career, finished with a 205.33 average to bow out in 89th place. Duke had withdrawn from the last two PBA tournaments due to an arm injury and he struggled to a 195.89 average and 138th-place finish.
Voss, who has made 80 appearances in televised finals and won 78 times, was knocked out of the Toledo Open with a 196.44 average.
Other top pros, including Pete Weber, Jason Couch and Tom Baker, came through for their fans by reaching today s qualifying rounds.
Venezuelan Amleto Monacelli, who has won 18 titles in 20 years on tour, was one of the few recognizable names among the top 10. Monacelli tied for fourth.
“Before I started I saw a lot of great bowlers who bowled pretty bad,” said Monacelli, who competed in the evening session. “So I was very concerned.”
But Monacelli said he felt smooth and relaxed and was able to avoid the trend of big names missing the cut.
“Maybe they were not into it,” Monacelli said. “Maybe they were tired.”
The final spot in today s field of 64 came down to a roll-off between Kurt Pilon and Peter Hernandez. Hernandez beat Pilon 187-184.
Jim Tomek Jr., whose previous best finish in a tour event was sixth, was first after the morning session and finished sixth. Rookie Mark Moore was second in the morning session and ninth overall.
“For whatever reason my ball rolls really well here at Southwyck,” said Tomek who led after two rounds the last time the pros were here for the 2002 PBA World Championship.
Moore, competing in his first regular tour event, led most of the morning session. The 32-year-old Macomb, Mich., resident, who joined the tour in July, said: “I had to talk my boss into letting me have the day off and now I m going to have to call him and tell him I need another day off.”
Tomek said his first-place finish was important because the highest seed to lose in the round of eight reaches the finals as a wild card. His best finish was sixth in Chicago last season, but he hopes to continue to thrive in Toledo.
“The fans are very friendly here,” Tomek said. “They seem like they are very knowledgeable about bowling.”