Chris Viale of Westfield, Massachusetts, earned top qualifier honors for the PBA50 Hamilton Lanes & Entertainment Center Open presented by Columbia 300 Saturday with a 3,375 14-game pinfall total (241 average) adding his name to the growing list of newcomers making their presence felt at the top of PBA50 leaderboards this season.
Bowling as a non-member, the 51-year-old Viale bowled a 1,745 pinfall in the second round with games of 287, 222, 234, 277, 248, 246 and 231 moving from seventh after Friday’s first round to lead 32 players who advanced to Sunday’s first match play round which begins at 10 a.m. ET live on FloBowling.
“I had a couple of bad starts today but basically finished strong in every game which meant I was making the right adjustments,” said Viale. “I stayed patient and trusted what I was seeing on the lanes and made the changes I needed to make.
“I’m starting my target at around the seven to nine board, throwing it out almost to the gutter and that has resulted in great pin carry,” Viale added. “I think in all but one or two games I finished with a string of five or six strikes and it’s making it a lot fun.”
Viale, a former collegiate All-American and member of the 1992 William Patterson Intercollegiate Team Championship winning men’s team, is bowling in his second PBA50 Tour event. He finished 15th in the 2018 Johnny Petraglia BVL Open.
After finishing 14th after the first round, four-time PBA50 Tour winner Lennie Boresch Jr. of Kenosha, Wisconsin, bowled a 1,761 pinfall in the second round to finish qualifying with a 3,363 pinfall just 12 pins behind Viale.
Rounding out the top five were PBA Hall of Famers Ron Mohr of Las Vegas in third with 3,300 and Tom Baker of King, North Carolina in fourth with 3,269. Mohr is a 10-time PBA50 Tour winner and two-time PBA50 Player of the Year and Baker is a 12-time PBA50 Tour winner and four-time PBA50 Player of the Year.
Rounding out the top five was Keith Doran of Pomona, N.Y., who finished with 3,261.
In his pursuit of a record 15th PBA50 Tour title and record-tying fourth in a row, PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. will start match play from 16th after posting a 3,182 pinfall.
After Sunday’s second match play round, scheduled for 1:45 p.m., the top five players will be determined for the stepladder finals set for 5:30 p.m.