Form prevailed in the early going of the 49th George A. Obenauer Masters, the premier event of the Buffalo bowling season, which will wrap up Sunday at Transit Lanes in Williamsville.
On the first night of match play Thursday, 12 of the top 16 seeds won their opening matches and two of the four who didn't survived their first match in the once defeated bracket.
Heading into Friday night, original match-play field of 32 had been whittled to 24 and only 12 will be left when the action resumes tonight at the Transit Road facility.
Even without recent champions Ryan Ciminelli and Liz Johnson, a top-drawer final field seems guaranteed for Sunday. Heading into Friday, PBA Tour pros Jack Jurek, Joe Ciccone and Brad Angelo -- all former Obie winners -- were still alive. So was Mike Hanes, another former champion.
Also, six former Obenauer runners-up were still in the mix -- Jurek, Angelo, Ciccone, Carl Kinyon, Mike Mallwitz and Jason Ciliberto.
By winning the Pete Parisi Award as the top qualifier, Jurek equaled the record of four won by Ciccone. Jurek had previously led the qualifying in 1991, '94 and 2007. Ciccone was the top qualifier in 2001, '02, '06 and '09.
The only Parisi Award winner to go on and win the tournament was Ciminelli two years ago.
With the help of the tournament's only 300 the first three nights, Jurek was able to top the qualifying by a 47-pin margin over runner-up Ciccone. However, despite the perfecto on Tuesday, Jurek didn't take the qualifying lead until the second night, when he shot an 885, which was the high four-game set of the night.
Szczerbinski struggled with a 774 after his opening 954, but he rebounded in match play on Thursday when the former Wichita State star bowled the night's only 700 series, a 717. Next best was Ciccone's 694.
Last year, Obenauer scores were generally lower because of the Sport Bowling oil pattern used. This year, the Greater Buffalo USBC Association put down the same oil pattern being used this year for the USBC Open in Baton Rouge, La. Scores are slightly higher than a year ago, but not by much.
Johnson rolls to victory and defeat
After winning the women's singles gold previously, Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga won the women's all events with a 4,264 total and teamed with Steve Smith to win the mixed doubles as the Pan American Bowling Confederation Champion of Champions tournament wrapped up last weekend in Lake Wales, Fla.
Johnson and Smith totaled 2,826 for six games to take the top spot. Johnson led the way with 1,455, while Smith added 1,371.
However, Johnson lost the women's masters final to Colombia's Paola Gomez, 246-216. Gomez's brother Andrew defeated Canada's Dan MacLelland (236-209) to take the men's Masters gold.
Venezuela's Amleto Monacelli and Karen Marcano defeated Johnson and Smith, 493-409 to win the mixed doubles Masters. Johnson shot a 239, Smith had only a 170 while the Venezuelans were getting a 259 from PBA Hall of Famer Monacelli and a 234 from Marcano.
Barnes, Hohensee honored
Greater Buffalo USBC Hall of Famer George Barnes and former Buffalonian Bill Hohensee of Lexington, Ky., last weekend joined the 50-year club at the USBC Open championships in Baton Rouge, La.
Barnes and Hohensee have been open teammates for more than 40 years and went into the record books together when they became the 153rd and 154th bowlers in history to reach the 50-year plateau.
Barnes and Hohensee first bowled together in 1967.
"It was thrill to be here with Bill," said Barnes, who is a three-time New York state champion. "We've bowled in 43 [national] tournaments together. I missed two because of military duty. This sport has done a lot for me over the years, and I've made a lot of friends. I am honored to be included with the other members of this group."
Barnes finished the year with 575 in singles, 547 in doubles and 502 in team for a 1,624 all-events total. His overall pinfall for 50 years is 84,148, a career average of 186.9.
Hohensee, a left-hander, made his tournament debut in 1963 when the ABC, as it was known then, was held at the Connecticut Street Armory in Buffalo.
He is a former New York State doubles champion and was the 1977 men's scratch winner of the Buffalo Kickoff Tournament.
"The ceremony [in honor of their 50 years of competing] was great," said Hohensee. "I was a little nervous. I've never been on a squad where a 50-year member was honored, so I didn't know what to expect. Everything was great, though. My wife has been very supportive of my journey, and it's nice to see her get recognized, too."
Hohensee capped off his 50th-consecutive year with 456 in team, 453 in singles and 431 in doubles for a 1,340 all-events total. In 50 appearances, he has knocked down 86,768 pins for an average of 192.8.
Buffalo's all-time leader in Open appearances and total pins is Hall of Famer Jim Schroeder, who has bowled in 65 tournaments (the record is 71) and is third on the all-time list with a total pinfall of 112,478 in the national tournament. The career pinfall record is 123,770 by Joe Norris, who shares the participation record with 71 tournaments.