Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga and John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda got off to rough starts Monday night as round-robin match play began in the U.S. Open Tournament at Flaming Lanes in Liverpool.
Ciminelli, who qualified third, went 2-6 in the first match-play block, losing his last four including a 158 and 153 game. Szczerbinski went 3-5 after he lost his last two matches. His round included games of 135 and 139. Szczerbinski had qualified fifth after moving up from ninth place with his 1,771 in Monday's cashers round, which included a 279 game. Ciminelli averaged 193.5 for the night as he dropped to 14th place. Szczerbinski averaged 197.62 and fell to 13th.
Jakob Butturff, 23-year-old left-hander from Tempe, Ariz., moved into first place after going 7-1 in match play and averaging 237. Norm Duke of Clemont, Fla., dropped down one spot after going 5-3 in his matches.
Ciminelli was in second place at the end of the third eight-game qualifying round on Sunday, but dropped down a notch after his 1,650 in the 36-bowler cashers round on Monday morning exchanging places with Butturff, who shot 1,777. Duke held on to the overall lead by shooting 1,703 for a total of 7,042, 18 better than Butturff. Ciminelli's total was 6,906, 136 pins off the lead.
Besides Szczerbinski, others making major jumps in Monday's early round were Rhino Page of Orlando, Fla., Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash, and Jason Belmonte of Australia. Page shot 1,829 to climb from 13th to fourth. Kent went from 24th to sixth with an 1,833 and Belmonte, the two-handed star from Down Under, made a huge leap from 33rd to 10th place with his 1,866.
Ciminelli won the Open in 2015. Duke is a two-time winner (2008 and 2008). Last year's champion, Francois Lavoie of Wichita, Kan., did not make the cut to match play finishing 33rd. Angelo earned $1,775 for his finish.