Tour Repping USBC Masters Day 4

Tour Rep USBC Masters Syracuse, NY 2018:

Day 4

Today is known as “cut day.” For this particular tournament, the cut comes after each squad has bowled three 5 game blocks for their 15 game total pin fall.

It’s always an interesting day as a spectator. Not always fun as a bowler, however.

Some bowlers really get hyper focused and make a great run to bowl their way into the cut. Others, unfortunately, succumb to the pressure of making the cut, to get a check, and hopefully match play. Today was no different than any other tournament I have bowled in or watched.

C squad bowled the first squad this morning on the fresh. They were, again, tighter outside than practice day. But today seemed to hook a little more in the middle than the previous two days of qualifying. The area of the lane to start was the same (17-19 at the arrows out to about 10 down lane), but the balls to use were a little different.

900 Global staffer Chris Barnes bowled very well this morning. Chris only bowled +44 for the 5 game block, but he got to +204 total. Anthony Lavery-Spahr struggled a bit, bowling -29 for his 5 game block. But Anthony had plenty of pins and will easily make the cut. The scores overall continued to be at a moderate pace this morning with the number only going up a couple of pins.

A squad bowled on the burn today. The burn is what is left over on the lanes from the previous squad. No strip and re-oil for this squad. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for a couple of 900 Global staffers on A squad. Two had a chance but it just didn’t work out this week. 900 Global did have one highlight on this squad however. Daria Pajak bowled 256-289 her last two games. In the 289 game, Daria had the front 10 strikes before leaving a 4 pin in the 11th frame. What made this so much fun to watch was Daria was sliding left of the left gutter playing a deep inside line. You can see video of it on this link (https://www.facebook.com/johngainescoaching/)

on Facebook.

Well the last squad, B squad, did not disappoint. As I said at the beginning of this Day 4 blog, there were going to be bowlers who bowled their way into and out of the cut. There were a couple of 150 and 160 games from bowlers who were in the cut going into the last game only to miss. One bowler bowled -124 his last block to end up +29! And of course, there were the bowlers who bowled 220 or 230 to bowl their way into the cut.

The most exciting part of the evening was watching the last game and trying to watch the bowlers who were close to the cut and how they were going to finish. The cut number going into the last game was +50. The cut number going into the last day of qualifying was +47. The number had only gone up 3 pins — 3 TOTAL PINS — for the entire day going into the last game. Did I mention that they were hard? There ended up being a four-way tie for the 64th and final spot into match play. Those four bowlers now must have a 1 game roll off to determine who is in and who is out.

What made this even more interesting is all four bowlers came off the last squad. They had just gotten done, found out there was a tie, and now have to bowl one more game to try and get into the match play portion of the tournament. Think about the amount of pressure that is.

You just got done bowling 15 games. Doing everything you can to make the cut. You’re super jacked and now have to bowl one more game and try to figure out how to get your heart rate down and pry it off your hand.

On top of that, this tournament is being held in a giant convention center. 48 lanes, ceiling 50-foot-high, and you are on the lanes with only 3 other people. Then there are the fans behind the lanes cheering for their favorite bowler. Then the fact that the event is also being livestreamed on the PBA Xtra Frame to thousands of people. Pretty cool thing to be able to be here and watch personally. Especially when one of the players was one of my 900 Global staffers Ramon Hilferink.

The four players were bowling for two spots. The four players were the aforementioned Hilferink, Chad Roberts, Ryan Patterson, and Charlie Brown. It was not a pretty match as the lanes were hard and the pressure was on. There were brooklyns. There were missed spares. There was even one shot one of the bowlers got three off the right! I will say he did convert the pare to his credit.

Charlie Brown ended up winning the roll off with a 201 game. But there was still one spot left up for grabs. And it came down to the 10th frame. Ramon Hilferink threw what appeared to be a good shot but left a two pin. He converted the spare and struck on the fill to get to 190. Chad Roberts was then up. He needed the first strike in the 10th to get around Hilferink. But the ball went high and left the 6-10 leaving him just short. That left one bowler to get around Hilferink.

Ryan Patterson had struggled the whole match. But with the scores so low he still had a chance going into the 10th frame. Ryan needed a double in the 10th to get around Hilferink. Ryan’s first ball seemed to be going high. But at the last second the ball slowed down just enough to trip the 4 pin. Down to one final shot. Strike and he’s in or miss and he’s out. The pressure was on. One bowler, by himself, over 48 lanes. Dead quiet in the giant convention center. The pressure seemed to get to Ryan in that final shot as the ball off his hand was left of target. The ball went high and Ryan failed to strike letting Hilferink into the last and final position of match play.

Final scores of the march were Charlie Brown 201, Ramon Hilferink 190, Ryan Patterson 182, Chad Roberts 177.

There you have it. Exciting last day of qualifying, as I knew it would be. Now the tournament really begins. Double elimination 3 game total pin match play. Bowler vs. bowler.

Stay tuned! It’s about to be get real.

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