Chris Pounders tied a USBC record en route to taking a big lead after Saturday's qualifying in the Madison Area Scratch Tour Year End Championship at Prairie Lanes.
Pounders opened the second 4-game block with a spare and then 22 straight strikes before leaving a 3-10 split for a 290-298 start. The record he tied is most strikes in a row without a perfect game — and it can't be broken. He added a 228 for an 816 series to start that block.
Pounders ended qualifying with 2,028 for eight games, a 253.5 average and 69 pins ahead of runner-up Dan Seppa.
The rest of the qualifiers for Sunday's finals were Kevin Punzel at 1,945, Andy Loose at 1,937, Jay Heinzelman at 1,936, Chris Gibbons at 1,934, Chad Kloss at 1,931, Dave Beres at 1,891, Dan Swenson at 1,889, Bob Holzbauer at 1,876, myself at 1,873, and Jim Fosdick at 1,867.
Tony Oliva missed the cut by a pin.
Holzbauer had the high game with a 299.
Prairie's house shot is being used for the tournament and it played extremely wet/dry.
After a meager 210 start, I grabbed my strongest hooking ball, a strong-drilled NANO at 1,000 Abralon, and just tried to throw it as hard and direct as I could — which isn't that hard! — between second and third arrows. That got me 793 the next four games for a 1,003 first block that was comfortably ahead of the cut line of 954.
However, I lost my carry the next block as I was forced to edge in and eventually went to a FRANTIC and then a shiny REIGN SUPREME the last game.
After 203-237-206 that was filled with 9-counts as I searched for a solution, I managed to pull out a 224 the last game despite a pair of solid 9-pins on strikes.
The cut line was 251 over with a game to go, two pins ahead of my score, and I figured the 224 would not be enough, but a few others had carry issues the last game as well and I snuck in.
Sunday's finals feature 12 games of round robin match play ending with a position round, and then a 4-man stepladder finals.
It will be interesting to see how the lanes transition. I will be bringing a couple of different balls with pin-in-the-palm drillings that hopefully will allow me to go straighter without having to throw it far harder than I am comfortable with.
The trick is that there is so much oil in the middle that you can't use a shiny/weak ball because it just squirts when you pull it.