After missing two weeks on the Denny's PBA Tour with a back injury, Brad Angelo of Lockport went through an adventurous afternoon Friday in the CLR Windy City Classic in Vernon Hills, Ill.
Angelo averaged 223.07 on Thursday to qualify 16th and make the first stage of Friday's round-robin match play. The format for the CLR is closer to the old Tour format before the PBA went to best-of-seven elimination matches as its standard format.
The top 32 bowled nine single-game matches Friday, with the scores plus bonus pins added to the 14-game qualifying totals. The top 16 moved on to another round of matches Friday night to determine the top five for Sunday's stepladder finals (ESPN, 1 p.m.). The stepladder is similar to the old Tour format.
Angelo traveled up the list and down just as fast in the round of 32 on Friday and, perhaps, showed the effects of two weeks away from competition. He was injured shortly before the Etonic Championship at AMF Thruway Lanes.
In Friday's first match, Angelo hung in against an eight-strike finish by Mike DeVaney and defeated the Californian, 258-255. He won his next three matches, too, over Steve Harman, Patrick Allen and Joe Ciccone of Buffalo (269-248) averaging 246 and collecting 120 bonus pins. Then weariness began to set in. After 32 strikes in his first four matches, he had just 16 in the next four and lost them all -- to Chris Warren, Chris Barnes, Brian Himmler and Mitch Beasley. Worse, he lost them with low scores. His high game of the four was 209.
After soaring as high as fourth in the standings, only 23 pins off the lead, Angelo plummeted to 14th heading into the position round. Again he drew Devaney and bowled another 258 against him. DeVaney bowled only 192 this time.
That victory put Angelo in 12th place, 184 pins behind the leader, Ritchie Allen, and assured him of his second top 16 finish of the season. He was 10th in the Motor City Classic the week before his injury.
This week's CLR format suits No. 1 qualifier Pete Weber just fine after losing in the round of eight, one match short of the television finals, in the three previous Tour stops.
The Hall of Famer from St. Ann, Mo., was a plus-500 as he averaged 235.71 for 14 games in qualifying and pleased his 3,300 would count toward his accumulated total.
In previous weeks, Weber twice lost to Walter Ray Williams and once to Chris Barnes.
"I'm not at all frustrated with the last three weeks," Weber told the media after Thursday's rounds. "In Buffalo, I bowled just as well as Walter Ray did. . . . It was the same thing in Merrillville last week. I bowled as well as Barnes except for the first game, and I was in every game. I know what comes around goes around, though. I figure if I keep making the top eight, I'm going to get there eventually."
Buffalo native Tom Baker of King, N.C., barely qualified for match play. He finished 32nd, two pins in front of Mike Machuga of Erie, Pa. In his first match Friday, Baker pinned a 226-214 loss on Weber in a matchup of two Tour veterans, but his day didn't go well after that. Baker finished 31st and Ciccone was 22nd as both failed to advance to the next round.
The only Western New York exempt pro not to make match play was Jack Jurek of Lackawanna, who was 55th. Jurek went into the week 10th on the Tour in average with 224.09.
Eleven nonexempt PBA members, a record number, plus the high amateur made the 64-bowler field via Wednesday's Tour qualifier for the CLR. Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga finished 34th in the qualifier.
> Pin chasers
* The PBA Women's Series took this week off. The final of the four-event Women's Series will occur next week at the Great Lakes Classic at Spectrum Lanes in Wyoming, Mich. Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga will continue her quest for a title after losing in a roll-off against Joy Esterson last Sunday.
Johnson is third among Women's Series competitors in points (54,569), third in earnings ($13,611) and second in average (223.69).
* The Greater Buffalo USBC Association 40th annual Youth Family Tournament got under way today at Broadway Sports and continues Sunday and next Saturday and Sunday with competition in five divisions. There will be a $150 scholarship awarded to the first-place youth in each division.