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      2017 FINALS - ROUND 1 RECAP

This year's 16 finalists made their way to Lake City Lanes, all starting at zero and with the dream of being crowned the champion of the 54th Times-News Open.

One dream ended early as Cory Bithell, the #4 qualifier, injured his left arm in game 2. He bowled games 3, 4, and part of 5 right handed when the alternate, Jake Martz, II arrived to take his place. Neither was able to capture a match in the day's 8 games.

For Lee Eighmy, Jr, the two-time defending champion, he too a a perfect record of sorts, and that is that he was in first place after each and every game of the day. He had a torrid start with games of 279-278-279-266 to claim 4 match wins and a 99 pin lead over Nick Kightlinger. He would falter losing the next three matched before topping Kightlinger 279-176 in the last game of the day.

Tom Petroff creeped closest to Eighmy as he held 2nd after game 7, just two pins behind Eighmy. Petroff would drop his final match, his 3rd loss, to Corey Rapela 204-202 giving way to hard charging TJ Mitchell. Mitchell endured losses to Machuga, Eighmy, and Shady who shot 279-266-268 against him in games 3-4-5. At that point he was in 6th but finished with victories over Moffett 278-256, Jannazzo 265-217, and Troutman 257-225 leaving him second, 28 pins off the lead.

6-time champion Mike Shady got off to a slow start and was 12th after 2 and still 10th at the midway point. He then reeled off games of 268-258-247-225 however, two of those resulted in losses leaving him in 4th, 131 pins behind Shady with an even 2000. The only other defending champ, Mike Machuga (97) hovered within striking distance of the lead and ended just one pin behind Shady with a total of 1999.

The next three spots are all still within reasonable reach of the lead. 6th is Kightlinger at 1,982, 7th is Josh Dodson at 1,972, and 8th is Corey Rapela at 1,961. Danny Mackowski, Jr. 1,948 and Nick Godfrey, 1,928 round out the top 10.

Chris Moffett had the high game of the day, a 289 in game 4 and settled in 11th. Bob Stile, the #12 qualifier finished his day still in 12th place and throughout the day rose no higher than 11th or lower than 14th. Kylle Twaroski is positioned at 13th and is still hoping to improve on his best finish of 12th from 2012.

The final three spots remained constant for the last 6 games of the day and are occupied by Robbie Troutman, Chris Jannazzo, and Jake Martz. All are first time  finalists. Martz's total includes a 100 pin penalty that was imposed when he replaced Bithell.

The finals conclude at Eastway Lanes at 1:00 on Sunday.

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