When the 54th annual George A. Obenauer Masters Tournament winds up Sunday afternoon at Kenmore Lanes, there seems a good chance that a new face will walk away with the top prize.
Four-time champions Brad Angelo and Mike Hanes were still alive going into the second night of match play on Friday. So were Tony Dolan, Mike Zarcone and Mike Faliero. But the bowlers who seemed to be faring best on the Sport Bowling oil pattern put down by the Greater Buffalo USBC Association and the Kenmore staff included Andy Rettig of Hamburg, Phil Tabbi of Buffalo, Larry Fiorella of Tonawanda and Tyler Molina of Buffalo. None is a past Obie winner.
Twenty-four of the match-play qualifiers from the 2016 Obenauer entered this year. Twelve made it to match play again. Twelve did not qualify. The eight who did not enter included last year's top qualifier and overall champion Ryan Ciminelli and runner-up John Szczerbinski. Six of last year's top 10 finishers -- Curtis Foss, Mike Johnson, Justin Zimmerman, Zarcone, Mike Kemp and Dave Zajac -- made it to match play this year and survived the first night of head-to-head competition in the three-games total pinfall format.
Rettig shot 279 in the last of his eight qualifying games on Wednesday to capture the Pete Parisi Award as the top qualifier with an 1,826 total. That was the highest qualifying score since Ciminelli led the field with an 1,966 in 2010 on the way to the first of his three Obenauer championships.
Angelo seemed on the way to the Parisi for the second time -- he won in 2004 -- before Rettig closed with his big game.
The No. 3 qualifier was Tabbi, who stood second after the opening night of qualifying. Next came Fiorella in fourth place.
Rettig (627), Tabbi (669), Fiorella (650) posted impressive scores in victories in the first round of match play. Molina shot 691 in his victory over Bill Swiat of Cheektowaga (548) on Thursday.
Of course, the Obenauer is a grueling test that many league bowlers are not used to. So, anything can happen. Also success on an oil pattern and the lanes one night doesn't necessarily carry over to the next, especially against strong competition. As they say in the prospectus: Past performance is no guarantee of future success.
You would have to say that Mike Zarcone and Julie Selk were the MVPs of the City Open and Women's tournaments that wrapped up last Saturday at AMF Lancaster Lanes.
Zarcone and Matt Zasowski shot 1,556 scratch to win both the handicap and doubles titles in the Open. Zarcone shot a 793 scratch that was good enough for third place in the handicap singles. His 1,556 scratch topped the Six-Game Combine division.
Selk's scratch scores (731 singles, 1,440 combine and 2,020 all-events) were tops in each category of the City Women's Tournament. Krista Voelker-Burt and Michelle Sterner repeated as the scratch doubles winners. They also bowled on a team that repeated as Scratch Team Champion.
Micah Arnold won Handicap All-Events with 2,357 in the Open. Pete Zmozynski's 2,257 was the high total in Scratch All-Events.
Kiera McCarthy shot 1,500 to win the Women's Handicap Combine. She also bowled on the Edgy Girls team that took the Handicap title in that division with 2,881.
Darolyn Nicholls was Single Handicap champion with 769 while Terry Jasters and Karen Barczak teamed up for a 1,431 to win Handicap Doubles. Elizabeth Slawek was Handicap All-Events winner with 2,154.
The 75th Tonawandas Association championship wrapped up Thursday night at Manor Lanes.
James Hamm's 892 topped 111 entries in the handicap singles. Nicky Feor's 831 led the women's handicap singles.
Kristina Szczerbinski had the top scratch single total with 733. Joey Bellanti and Dan Eberl won the Handicap Doubles with 1,569 while Kathy Toney and Karen Toney led the women with 1,497. Jose Montante Jr. and Chris Rathbun shot 1,434 in scratch doubles.
Mike Mallwitz totaled 2,136 to win the Scratch All-Events while Freddie Ortiz led Handicap All-Events with 2,268.
Karen Baryza led the women's Handicap All-Events with 2,155.
Island Ladies won the Handicap Team with 3,741 while Wild Cards topped the Women's Team with 3,560. Maduri Racing led Scratch Team with 3,593.
Sterner tied for sixth
The USBC Queens Tournament is going on this weekend at Raising Cane's River Center in Baton Rouge, La., the site of the 2017 USBC Women's Championship.
Michelle Sterner of Niagara Falls was tied for sixth after the five-game round of qualifying on Thursday with 1,130. Sterner opened with a 278 and shot 178 the next game. However, in the second round Friday she shot only 877. That dropped her to 47th place with only one-third of the field having bowled 10 games. Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga was 10th with 244-1,115. She climbed to seventh place temporarily after her 244-1,032 on Friday. Kristina Szczerinski of North Tonawanda was 38th with 239-1,046 before her second round.
The Queens final will be next Tuesday. Also on that day, the stepladder finals of the first three tournaments on the Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour will be bowled and taped for showing on the CBS Sports Network next month. The finals will determine the outcome of three tournaments that were bowled in California this month.
Johnson stands third on the stepladder for the PWBA Fountain Valley (Calif.) Open and will face Cherie Tan of Singapore in the first match on Tuesday. Top qualifier is Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J. Verity Crawley of England is No. 2 on the stepladder. The finals will be shown June 20.