Defending champion Mika Koivuniemi put up his worst block so far, but it was enough to stay in the lead after three rounds Wednesday at the 2019 PBA Suncoast Senior U.S. Open.
Koivuniemi has an 18-game total of 3,980, a 221.11 average, but gave up ground on the field in the third round at Suncoast in Las Vegas. He held a 166-pin lead after Tuesday’s second round, but that number dropped to 21.
The Finnish native struggled on the burn in the third round, shooting games of 202, 196, 183, 199, 216 and 203 for a six-game total of 1,199. By comparison, he shot 1,465 in the first round and 1,316 in the second round.
There’s one final round of qualifying Thursday before the field is cut to the top 38 for match play Friday. The stepladder finals are scheduled for Friday at 4:15 p.m. Pacific. All rounds are being broadcast live on FloBowling.
Veteran international star Tore Torgersen significantly narrowed the gap with Koivuniemi as he shot 1,357 in the third round and sits in second place with 3,959.
PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber also had another solid day, shooting 1,321 and landing in third place with 3,923. Steve Smith is fourth with 3,876, while Rolando Sebelen is fifth with 3,874.
Another player who made a big move Wednesday was Walter Ray Williams Jr., who was outside the cut number after the second round. He jumped into 22nd place by shooting 1,335 in the third round and has an 18-game total of 3,707.
On the cut line with one round to go are Brian Menini and Kimmo Lehtonen, who are tied for 37th place with 3,647.