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ARLINGTON, Texas – During Tuesday’s practice session, Anthony Lavery-Spahr knew the short pattern on the right lane would be his toughest, so he spent extra time trying to figure it out. That strategy paid off Wednesday as he took the opening-round lead at the 2020 PBA Hall of Fame Classic.
Lavery-Spahr, who is seeking his first PBA Tour title, put up a six-game total of 1,452, a 242 average, to lead a field of 56 players at the International Training and Research Center.
The players are facing dual patterns this week with the 45-foot Dick Weber pattern on the left lane and the 38-foot Mike Aulby pattern on the right lane.
“I knew that navigating the right lane was going to be the key to be able to string strikes together,” Lavery-Spahr said. “So, yesterday I really spent a lot more time on the right lane figuring out each pair. I found that with my urethane ball and some speed control that I could pretty much do the same thing on all the pairs. So, that was the game plan coming into today.”
Lavery-Spahr had games of 269, 226, 217, 235, 242 and 263 en route to taking the lead on the first of two squads Wednesday. He only had two opens, both splits, and holds an 18-pin lead on Darren Tang.
Tang put up the best score on the second squad of the day with 1,434, while the rest of the bowlers in the top five all came from Squad A.
Ryan Ciminelli and Chris Barnes finished tied for third with 1,412, while lefty Packy Hanrahan is fifth with 1,339.
Also Wednesday, Boston Red Sox all-star Mookie Betts made his return to professional bowling for the first time since 2017.
The long-time bowler finished in 45th place on the day with 1,187 but said he enjoyed bowling alongside Kris Prather, Anthony Simonsen and Jakob Butturff throughout the squad.
Betts, who shot 653 for his first three games but then struggled with the transition, said he doesn’t want to steal the spotlight this week.
“I don’t want any attention,” Betts said. “I’m just here to bowl and have fun. At no point do I ever want to take the spotlight from anybody. This is about me just hanging out with friends and bowling in a competition. It’s not about me at all.”
Although he can’t bowl as often as he’d like, Betts said he’s a FloBowling subscriber and follows the PBA Tour throughout the season.
“I watch everybody at home, even on the road during the season I’m watching,” Betts said. “I’ll text the guys and tell them I’m watching. I’m definitely in touch with it.”
All 56 players return for the final six-game round of qualifying Thursday live on FloBowling.