Nick Pate rolled 1,221 in qualifying at the 2018 Greater Iowa Bowling Association 11thFrame.com Open on Saturday and that would have been enough to advance to Sunday’s 12-game semifinal round at Cherry Lanes in Dubuque, Iowa.
But Pate took advantage of the chance to re-enter with several spots open on C squad and blasted 1,445 for his second set of six games to edge past three left-handers to lead qualifying.
Re-entries are allowed on B and C squads, with priority given to first entries in this way: New entries have priority if they are paid before Saturday. Re-entries come next if they are paid before Saturday. For those paid on Saturday, new entries get priority over re-entries up to half an hour before the final two squads’ scheduled start time, then it will be first come, first served until the squads start.
Ryan Keith was second with 1,444, followed by Kyle Anderson with 1,412, Michael Martell 1,403 and Brandon Biondo 1,357.
The top 48 advanced to Sunday and the final advancer was Tommy Barnwell with 1,214, with three more $200 cash spots among the 153 entries and Eddie Flanigan and Nick Heilman splitting the last cash spot for $100 each at 1,208.
Four seniors cashed for $150 each: Dave Kucera, Rod Albright, myself and Ed Peterson, who was the last senior casher at 1,563
Megan Hess was the lone female bowler and she earned $150 in SMART funds.
Full qualifying results are attached to the bottom of this story as PDFs.
In 2017, the cut for the semifinals was 1,293 and the last cash spot was 1,287. In 2016, the cut for the semifinals was 1,196 and the last cash spot was 1,191.
The pattern designed by Cherry Lanes general manager Bob Hochrein with the assistance of Brunswick was just about perfect on the right side, with players able to play anywhere on the lane and a moderate scoring pace.
However, despite the left side being almost exactly the same as a year ago when only one lefty advanced to Sunday, left-handers went 2-3-4 in qualifying, although some talented lefties did not bowl well. An example was Mike Dole, who was 136 under.
Here is a Facebook Live interview I did with Anderson and Martell after they competed on A squad.
The 43.5-foot pattern features 37.58 mL of oil and main ratios of 1.43-1 on the left side and 1.66-1 on the right side. The oil being used is Brunswick Defy, the same as last year, which is why the pattern needed to be tweaked.
For a comparison, the pattern last year was a bit shorter with 33.16 mL of oil and main ratios of 1.43-1 on the left side and 1.81 on the right side. The hope was that the left side would play quite similar and the right side a tad tougher and closer to two years ago.
Getting the pattern correct — getting any pattern correct! — is as much art as science when you're trying to encompass so many parameters: aiming for a moderate scoring pace that provides some level of equity left-to-right (we've missed both ways at times) and allows the outside to play so people will start to the right and not end up being forced to loft the guttercap lofting during Sunday's 12-game marathon.
What was most interesting to me was how an inside line played from the start, and how much hook there was with 37 mL of oil.
I crossed with Andy Mills and Tom Hess and both made the cut playing inside, with Hess shooting 166 playing out the first game and then moving in and soaring to 1,325.
Biondo led B squad starting out and then moving in, as he talked about in this Facebook Live video interview I did with him after his round.
Some may end up lofting the cap on Sunday but it will be an option, not something forced.
I shot 1,178 playing outside 5-board with plenty of strikes but 13 opens. I stupidly left my spare ball (a Roto Grip HOT CELL) at home and missed two single pins and one 2-8, but also made two splits and nearly a couple others. If I was 10 or 20 years younger and not a fading Raisin, I would have made the cut with ease.
Sunday's "Flanagan format" will feature 12 games of bowling starting at 9 a.m. with bonus pins based on score from highest to lowest. For example, if 48 advance to Sunday in each game the highest scorer will get 48 bonus pins, the second-highest scorer 47 pins, so on down to 1 bonus pin for the lowest score each game. Whatever number of finalists there are, that number of bonus pins will go to the high scorer down to 1 pin for the lowest score each game.
Yes, it’s not head-to-head; instead, it’s all-against-one. The idea is to reward the consistently solid bowler and not the one who may bowl the right people at the right time. And everyone who makes the cut gets to bowl all of Sunday's games.
After those 12 games, the top five will compete in a stepladder finals on fresh oil.
We are hoping to webcast the stepladder finals with Facebook Live video.