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Milt Northrop’s Bowling: Obenauer changes tiebreaking rules

Nobody can recall a finish like it, so duplicating the dramatic windup to last year’s George A. Obenauer Masters Tournament can’t be expected. It may never happen again.

Tony Dolan of West Seneca and Pete Zmozynski of Depew finished the final match of the championship round tied with 568 total pins each after three games, necessitating a one-frame rolloff at AMF Lancaster Lanes. Zmozynski, who had been pounding the pocket most of the final game, left three pins. Dolan left one to win his first Obie title. Zmozynski, who came out on top in the losers bracket, had won the first match of the finals, 617-547, to force a final three-game total pinfall match.

The Obenauer rules have been changed this year, requiring a two-frame rolloff in case of a tied match.

Last year’s finalists figure to be among the field of around 120 bowlers who will begin qualifying on Tuesday night in the 53rd annual Obenauer, the highlight event of the Buffalo area bowling season.

A favorite has to be PBA Tour star Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga. Only once has the Parisi Award winner gone on to win the Obenauer. That was in 2010, when Ciminelli swept both. Also, Ciminelli is the last repeat winner of the Obenauer, winning again in 2011. There have been multiple winners but only Mike Neumann and Ciminelli won back-to-back titles. Neumann did it twice in 1988-89 and 1995 -96.

Former champions Mike Zarcone, Mike Hanes and Tony Verdi were entered as of Friday. Also, the last two winners of the Pete Parisi Award as the high qualifier, Frank Bellavia Jr. and Mike Johnson, are entered.

Besides Dolan and Pete Zmozynski, last year’s Final Four included Jack Jurek and Bellavia. Jurek is entered in the PBA50Tour stop that begins Sunday on Long Island. The finals of that event are Tuesday, the opening night of the Obenauer. Jurek won the Obie in 1999 and twice was runner-up. Also he led the qualifying four times, the last in 2012.

After two nights of qualifying, match play in the Obenauer will take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday, leading to Sunday’s final rounds and championship match.

The Obenauer is only part of a hectic wrapup to the local season.

The Greater Buffalo USBC Association Open and Women’s Championships will finish Saturday night at Broadway Sports Center.

A survey of the standings through Thursday night shows that the top scores are generally lower than a year ago at Airport, but not much.

Scores of handicap team leaders in both the open and women’s championships are up, but they are down in the women’s doubles and singles, the Open and women’s combine all-events.

Steve Zielinski was the handicap singles leader with 817 through Thursday, the same total as Bryce LeAir shot to win in 2015. In the Open doubles, James McNaney and Jeffrey Kosmoski lead with 1,542. That’s just one pin more than the 1,541 shot by last year’s champions, Geno Walh and Joe Dinardo. That was also the high scratch doubles total last year.

Zmozynski tops ‘Q’

Pete Zmozynski was the top qualifier for Sunday’s Greater Buffalo Bowlers Tour Tournament of Champions; it starts at noon at Brad Angelo Lanes in Lockport. He will face Sam Capizzi Jr. of Rochester, the 16th qualifier in the first round of match play. It’s a two-game, total-pinfall, double-elimination format for match play.

The other matchups and seeding: Ray Richard (9) vs. Steve Dorobiala (8); Steve Kosut (4) vs. Mike Mallwitz (13); Mike Johnson (12) vs. Dana Voytovich (5); Nate Johnson (2) vs. Kristina Szczerbinski (15); Tony Dolan (10) vs. Chris Moxley (7); Curtis Foss (3) vs. Mike Rose Jr. of Rochester (14); and Dan Melidona (11) vs. Dave Guindon (6).

Point standings were decided by the results of the six biweekly tournaments and tournament participation. Ties in the standings were broken by pinfall.

Guindon won last week’s stop at Island Lanes, to go with his victory in Week One. Other winners on the Tour were Zmozynski, Capizzi, Nate Johnson and Dorobiala.

Zasowski tops BTC

Matt Zasowski of Tonawanda reigns on WBBZ-TV’s “Beat the Champ” show after his 203-193 victory over Jeff Walsh of Cheektowaga in last Saturday’s telecast. Walsh was attempting to become the first three-match winner on a single show. He defeated Carl Kinyon of Lockport, 178-163, and Mike Hanes of Wheatfield, 257-196.

Zasowski will put his title on the line May 15. Saturday’s “Beat the Champ” will be a special Mother’s Day edition featuring mother-daughter teams (WBBZ-TV, 4 p.m./reshowing at 11 p.m. on Sunday). The first match will have Sue Nawojski and 8-year-old daughter Robin facing Lauren and Christine Sutton of Grand Island.

The second match will have Ruth and Emily Brock of Orchard Park facing Emily and Nicholas Rallo of Grand Island.

The third match of the day will be the championship game of the Mother’s Day Challenge.

All matches will be a no-tap format.

Qualifying for the next round of “Beat the Champ” shows will be Friday and next Saturday at Tonawanda Bowling Center on Young Street in Tonawanda. The qualifiers also will include a chance to compete in a special Father/Child edition with squads at 1 a.m. and noon on Saturday. Qualifying squads will be at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m., and noon and 2 p.m. on Sept. 15 with the top 24 rolling off at 7 p.m.

Weber ties Weber

Pete Weber not only spoiled Jurek’s chance to defend his title in the PBA 50 Tour’s Mooresville (N.C.) Ford Open in North Carolina, it gave the Hall of Famer back-to-back titles on the PBA50 Tour. It was his sixth PBA50 title, tying his late father, Dick Weber, on the all-time “senior tour” list.

Jurek went 6-0 in match play to grab the No. 1 spot in the stepladder for the finals. However, splits in the first two frames put him in a hole he couldn’t get out of.

In the semifinal match, Weber bowled a 266 to top Buffalo native Tom Baker’s 205. Baker, who now bowls out of King, N.C., was looking for his 13th PBA50 Tour title.

The competition is far from easy on the PBA50 Tour. Among those who didn’t make it to the stepladder were all-time Tour title winner Walter Ray Williams Jr., Parker Bohn III, Norm Duke, Amleto Monacelli, Brian Voss, and Bob Learn. Baker is in the Super Senior class that includes Dale Eagle, George Pappas and Ron Mohr.

The finals were available on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video streaming service.

Qualifying begins Sunday for the next PBA50 stop, the Johnny Petraglia BVL Open in Farmingdale on Long Island.