The field for the tournament is about 256 bowlers. About 26 are touring pros, probably as many amatuers, and the rest are regional pros. It’s quite a diverse group with just as diverse styles. It just shows that there’s only one rule in bowling, there are no style rules in bowling you just have to be able to repeat it.
Today was mandatory practice for all participants based on their squad. Squad A was at 2:30pm and Squad B was at 4pm. There was another sweeper at 7pm. I spent my time working on a few items that I found yesterday. The main items needing attention were staying on target or just inside of target and mutliple pin spares. I will say I’m glad I started throwing a plastic ball at my spares. Trying to hook at spares in this tournament would drive me nuts.
Practice seemed to go pretty good. I tried the Passion and found that it had inside forgiveness but could be prone to leaving the 10-pin, even if I was firm and strong with the release. Might be a good ball to transition from the Red Alien to the Invasion to the Special Agent. That’s my game plan right now. Based on what I have encountered in 3 hours of practice and 8 sweeper games, I think the plan might work.
Mentally I think I’m starting to prepare myself for qualifying. Physically is another matter. The tape wasn’t quite right in the thumb hole and the lip was a little sharp and the thumb started wearing. Before it got any worse I invested in some skin patch. I’d use the skin tape, but it would require reworking the thumb holes that I finally have comfortable. Right now everything feels pretty good considering I’ve done more bowling in two days than I’ve done in 2 weeks, including practice.
Tonight’s sweeper had more big names than last night and and 2.5 times more participants for 3 games. Fewer games is a double-edged sword. On one edge you have fewer games to make mistakes in, but on the other you have fewer games to recover from a bad game. I fell into the latter tonight.
I started out alright with a strike followed by 2 spares and then the wheels came off. By the time the game ended I had a 3 open 178 game. Two of the spares were very makeable. The only positive, tonight’s start was 10 pins better than last night. That put me at -22 and in 59th place out of 83. As I explain to the kids, you have to forget the last game and start over. That was going to be hard considering my goal was to be +15 for the sweeper.
The next game was a new set of lanes. This time I focused a little better and it showed. The only open frame was the 12th. I left the head pin from a washout. Like I tell the kids, you can’t make your spares if you don’t hit the lead pin. I finshed with a 230 which put me at +8. I went from 59th to 24th. Amazing how much of a differnce 30 pins can make.
Feeling good about my game I started of the next game 10-pin, strike, 10-pin, and 10-pin. Then I went on a two frame vacation. Feeling like everything was slipping away, I had to focus myself on what I could do and forget the bad frames. Again as I tell the kids, positive thoughts yield positive results. I finshed with a 204 and was at +12. Not bad consdering where I started myself. I finshed in 24th and missed cashing by 1 pin.
If you’re keeping track I had 6 opens tonight. I’ll take away the wash-out and that leaves 5 opens, that’s 55 pins. Had I had those, I would’ve cashed in 10th place. I can’t emphasize more how important spares are.
Tomorrow is day 3 and the first day of qualifying. I start on lanes 15 and 16. I’m not paired with any touring pros, but am bowling beside Jason Couch and Rick Steelsmith. Most of the other touring pros are lanes away from me. Tomorrow is my chance to show that I can learn from practice and do better. Good luck and good bowling.