COLDWATER — The top 100 members of the PBA money list were invited to the PBA Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Group Classic this weekend at Pla-Mor Lanes.
The 96 bowlers who entered play Saturday were divided into three squads of 32. Each of the competitors rolled eight games, one on each of the pairs of lanes at the center. The top 32 earned the right to return this morning at 10 am for the Cashers round.
Crowd favorites Rhino Page and Parker Bohn III rolled in the A Squad and helped to get the tournament off to an interesting start. Page led the early session with an eight-game total of 1,640 and Bohn was further back at 1,549.
While the $10,000 first place prize was on the mind of the majority of the field, there were as many as 15 bowlers who were in position to grab a share of the prize fund from the PBA Storm Cup. By design those bowlers were grouped in the B squad. The top prize for that tournament within a tournament was $20,000 and was attainable by EJ Tackett, Marshall Kent, Dom Barrett and Dick Allen.
Each of the four that were in contention for the PBA Storm Cup struggled early Saturday but ultimately Tackett, who had been a Coldwater champion when it was a regional event, went on a string of decent games and moved to the top.
Chandler Stevens, a graduate of UNOH, started strong on the day but drifted down the charts and out of contention.
Tackett joined Page in today’s field as did former champion Chris Loschetter. Tackett averaged 201 for the qualifying round, while Loschetter checked in at 202 and Page at 205.
The leader of Squad B was 12 time PBA champion Sean Rash who knocked down 1,691 pins for an average of 211 and the overall lead going into Squad C.
Squad C had not been completed at deadline. The big names of this group were Walter Ray Williams, 2013 champion Chris Via and Michael and Darren Tang. It was also the shift where two former stars of the West Ohio Bowling conferences, Anthony Kennard of Wapakoneta and Michael Davidson of Versailles, became reacquainted.
Although the lanes had been stripped and redressed prior to each shift they appeared to be moving a little quicker by later in the evening. Players were beginning the shift to urethane and harder shelled balls to combat the conditions by game three of the eight-game block.
Walter Ray was still in the top 10 of the group but youth was being served. Via had found the path to the break point and was in front with Kennard, Davidson and Darren Tang in pursuit.
The tournament was contested on the extremely difficult PBA Tournament of Champions pattern.
The Cashers Round of 32 will begin at 10 a.m. today with four additional games. The balance of the tournament will continue in an eliminator format, culminating with a four-man stepladder beginning around 2 p.m.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.