Wiseman eyes happy PBA homecoming

Pro bowling

December 06, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN REPORTER

Sixteen years ago, Danny Wiseman won his first Professional Bowlers Association tour event in Woodlawn. This week, he will be striving for another hometown breakthrough even closer to his Middle River residence.

When the 2006 Beltway Classic ends Sunday at AMF Country Club Lanes, the Dundalk native hopes to be appearing on national television and breaking a tailspin that has extended back more than a year.

"It'll be interesting," Wiseman said after he was eliminated from last weekend's PBA stop in Cleveland. "My last show [televised final] was in early 2005. Last year was full of injuries and one thing or another happening. I just hope I bowl well at home."

The PBA tour has not made a Baltimore appearance since Hall of Famer Mike Aulby won here in 1996. Two other Hall of Fame members, Pete Weber and Walter Ray Williams Jr., have also captured local events, in addition to Wiseman.

An 11-time winner on the tour, Wiseman bowled exquisitely during the 2004-05 season, taking his first career major tournament and finishing third in the PBA world point rankings. But then his fortunes turned.

"I hurt my hand last year and my toe was bothering me at times. And, I just didn't bowl well. I was out in left field," said Wiseman, who failed to make a championship round for the first time since 1994 and fell to 44th in point accumulation. "I couldn't get any breaks, either. I seemed to have a target on me because everybody I was going against averaged 260 or something."

An exempt member of the tour who does not need to roll in the qualifying round today (six spots are open), Wiseman has the advantage of having practiced at the lanes this summer and will certainly be a fan favorite.

"They redid the lanes and I'm thinking there are going to be some pretty high scores," he said.

The field is scheduled to include another local tour veteran, Tim Criss of Bel Air, who will be seeking his first victory since the 1999 PBA National Championship. Criss has five career titles.

Williams, a six-time PBA Player of the Year, and Weber will both return to roll against the up-and-comers, who include last year's Player of the Year (Tommy Jones) and Rookie of the Year (Bill O'Neill).

Two newly exempted bowlers are making history on the tour. Kelly Kulick is the first female exempt bowler and Billy Oatman the first African-American.

kent.baker@baltsun.com

Beltway Classic

Site -- AMF Country Club Lanes, 9020 Pulaski Highway

When -- Today through Sunday

TV -- Finals on ESPN; Sunday, 1 p.m.

Top prize -- $25,000

Tickets -- Available at the lanes or by calling 410-686-2556. Priced at $10 to $35 during the week; $25 to $75 for the finals.

Schedule

Today -- Qualifying round, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; pro practice, 4-5:30 p.m.

Tomorrow -- Round of 64, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; 6 p.m.-10 p.m.

Friday -- Round of 32, 9 a.m.-12.30 p.m.; round of 16, 2-5 p.m.; round of 8, 7-10 p.m.

Saturday -- Pro-ams, noon, 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday -- Finals, 1-2:30 p.m.

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