Top qualifier Tom Sorce and past champions Mike Zarcone and Dana Voytovich had to survive an elimination match in the last Thursday shift to stay alive as match play began in the 56th annual George A. Obenauer Masters Tournament at AMF Lancaster Lanes.
Sorce lost to the last qualifier Mike Mallwitz of Grand Island in his opening match, 625-563, but managed a 546-519 win over Adam Collura of Kenmore to stay in contention.
In his first match, Zarcone fell to veteran Bill Truman, who was the Obenauer runner-up in 1982, 603-548, but defeated Chris Labiak of Tonawanda, 585-552, to keep competing.
Voytovich, the defending champion, fell to Mike Johnson of Grand Island, 637-581, but survived by eliminating Charlie Zmozynski of Depew, 585-580.
The four other former champions who won their opening matches:
Jack Jurek of Lackawanna, who was the No.2 qualifier behind Sorce, equalled the night's high series with a 670 in defeating Collura (586).
Tony Dolan of West Seneca triumphed over Joe Wagner of Cheektowaga, 581-562.
Kevin Bienko of Kenmore won his first match over Charlie Zmozynski, 528-519.
Mike Hanes of Niagara Falls, who won his first Obenauer in 1979 and his third in 2005, defeated Labiak, 622-599. Hanes will face Bienko in a winners bracket match Friday night.
Eight winner's bracket matches will be bowled at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Followed by an elimination round of eight matches at 7:45 and four matches in each bracket at 9 p.m.
The 12 survivors will move on to Saturday night's match play to determine Sunday's final four. The championship finals will be at 3 p.m. Sunday.