Warren Guernsey of Cobleskill, N.Y., has been bowling well enough lately to consider returning to the Professional Bowlers Association Tour full time. His performance yesterday in the Lipton Brisk PBA East Coast Tournament did nothing to change that notion.
Guernsey, 28, finished plus-359 in eight games at Shake and Bake Bowl in West Baltimore to lead the tournament and qualify for today's finals. Eleven others in the 78-man field, including Danny Wiseman of Baltimore and Tim Criss of Bel Air, also advanced.
"This is the best I've bowled in a long time," said Guernsey, who bowled 279 three times yesterday. "I've been doing a lot of practice lately, and I really attribute it to that."
Guernsey bowled on the PBA Tour in 1998, but left in early 1999 due to poor play and financial problems.
Today, the 12 qualifiers will play a round robin to decide the title, with each bowler going head-to-head against every other player. The championship will be decided by total points, including yesterday's round.
Wiseman stands in third place at plus-350, nine pins behind Guernsey and three behind second-place Ron Unser of Hudson, N.Y.
"I felt like I bowled very well," Wiseman said. "I made a few mistakes and got away with some, but basically I just kept the ball around the pocket. Hopefully I'll be in the hunt."
Criss stands in eighth place at plus-293 despite struggling with the approach surface.
"It's a little on the tacky side, so you don't slide as much," Criss said. "There's nothing wrong with the approaches; you just have to adjust your footwork."
Criss thrilled the crowd at Shake and Bake by posting the high score of the tournament in his third game. He had a perfect game going into his final roll, but left one pin standing for a 299.
"I don't make that big a deal of perfect games," said Criss, who has 22 on the PBA Tour. "To me, it was just one pin. The way I figure it, I just picked up 99 on everybody else. But, obviously, the people watching get a big thrill."
Qualifiers for final round
1. Warren Guernsey, Cobleskill, N.Y., +359
2. Ron Unser, Hudson, N.Y., +353
3. Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, +350
4. Patrick Allen, Tarrytown, N.Y., +345
5. Dan Mitchell, Philadelphia, +300
6. Lee Vanderhoef, Rising Sun, +298
7. Rudy Kasimakis, Gouldsboro, Pa., +296
8. Tim Criss, Bel Air, +293
9. Ken Yokobosky, Fairfield, N.J., +281, 10. Tommy Delutz, Jr., Flushing, N.Y., +280
11. Dennis Reale, Havertown, Pa., +274
12. Nick Miseno, Amsterdam, N.Y., +272