Erie Times-News

Open Bowling Tournament


Current Results

             2017 QUALIFIER - ROUND 3 RECAP

The remaining 32 bowlers gathered at Westway Lanes on an unusually warm (mid 60's)  Saturday afternoon with the goal of being one of the 16 finalists.

6-time champion Mike Shady entered the day with the lead and he was not threatened along the way to capturing his record 7th qualifying title. With games of 275-233-215 off the start his lead ballooned to 194. The final margin was cut to 109 due to a strong finish by Tom Petroff but still is the largest margin ever in this 16 game qualifying format. Shady finished with 3,719 (a 232.4 average) and Petroff was next with 3,610. Shady had the highest round of the day, 1,312 and Petroff's 1,308 was third.

Defending and 7-time champion Lee Eighmy, Jr. completed a pretty steady round on a day when most struggled to record 200+ games. Eighmy's 6-game total of 1,204 was one of just 8 of 32 over 1,200. He finished 44 pins behind Petroff at 3,566. Cory Bithell started slow but bowled 226-220-226 in games 13-15 moving him solidly into 4th.

First round leader Chris Jannazzo was thwarted by a couple of 154 games but finished strong with the highest finishing game, a 249, leaving him 8 pins behind Bithell in 5th. Nick Godfrey's games were a little up and down but his positioning was steady throughout the day, climbing from 8th to 6th with a total of 3,467,

Mike Machuga is the only other past champion to advance to the finals. Machuga was not looking so good through game 14 when he found himself in 15th but with games of 222 and 202 to finish he was comfortably above the cut line. The round's second high score belongs to Josh Dodson. Like Petroff he had only one sub-200 game (the only two) and totaled 1,309 for the 6 games. Dodson began the round in 30th place making a huge leap into 8th. Dodson was 38th with one game to go in the first round of the finals and finished strong to advance to the semi's in 30th.

Chris Moffett (9th), Kylle Twaroski (10th), Bob Stile (12th), TJ Mitchell (13th) and Corey Rapela (14th) all had their moments during the round but spent most all of it in the lower half of the finalists and ultimately finished in good position and now advance

There were 3 bowlers not in the top 16 to start the day who managed to work their way in. Dodson (above) was one. Danny Mackowski, Jr. did most of his work in the day's first game. His 290 was the highest game of the day and vaulted him from 26th to inside the cut line at 14th and he would remain inside the number the rest of the day. His total of 1,268 also included a 240 in game 14 and was the 4th high round. Robbie Troutman was the third to jump from out to in. He started in 21st and after games of 213 and 262 he found himself 12th. Things turned a little dim after 167 in game 15 but a solid 191 in the last game was good enough for 15th position.

As almost always happens the drive for those final spots come with both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat and, for one bowler, he seem to experience both. Nick Kightlinger began the day tied for 2nd but, like many, could not find a shot to his liking. Stuggling to a 166 average through 4 games still found him in 9th but a 126 game in #5 moved him completely out of the 16 to 18th. At the same time and on the same pair, Rob Benge found himself in 24th with 2 games to go but 244 in game 5 moved him ahead of Kighlinger into 16th. Game 16 proved to be just the opposite however with Kightlinger bowling a solid 215 to rise back up to 16th while Benge's 157 dropped him to 20th. Both Kightlinger and Benge were first time finalists last year.

Kightlinger's rise to 16th wasn't without a little help from his "friends." Mike Dunkle, the only bowler to break 1,200 and not make the finals, had his shot ... and took it. Bowling on the pair next to Kightlinger (and finishing at the same time) he had his chance after Kightlinger was unable to get the second strike in the 10th. Dunkle made a good shot but a stubborn 5 pin would not budge and then would wiggle but not fall as the headpin came back across the deck.

Even so, Kightlinger was not in the clear. Finishing on one of the last pairs to complete, Jake Martz II spent most of his day with the cut line in clear sight. Unfortunately he was moving from his starting position of 9th toward it. With one game to go he was 14th but just 24 pins from the cut. His final game was going poorly and it looked like he was bowling his way out until strikes in the 8th and 9th pushed him back in. However, he was unable to mark in the 10th and his final total of 3,358 was7 pins shy of 16th and one pin ahead of Dunkle.

This year's finals includes both 7-time and defending champion Lee Eighmy, Jr. and 6-time champion Mike Shady.  6 of the finalists were also finalists last year including Mike Machuga, the 1997 champ who finished 2nd last year. There are also 4 first-time finalists in the field.

The finals are being conducted next Saturday and Sunday at Lake City Lanes and Eastway Lanes. Action kicks off at 1:00 both days.



Saturday January 21, 2017 at Westway Lanes