Brentwood, Calif. – After getting off to a slow start in the second round, Tom Hess had a perfect finish on Labor Day to take a commanding lead in the PBA50 Senior U.S. Open.
The PBA50 rookie out of Granger, Iowa bowled the only perfect game of the tournament so far in the final game of an 1,848 second-round set. That gave him a 16-game total of 3,643 (a 227.69 average) to take a 145-pin lead over first-round leader Amleto Monacelli of Venezuela.
“I kind of got out of my own way today, got a little comfortable, got them kind of figured out and made a whole bunch of really good shots,” said Hess, who was in fourth place after the first round. “We’re off to a pretty good start here, but there’s still a lot of bowling left.”
Monacelli, who is trying to win this event for a third time, struggled early in the second round, but rallied to move into second with a 3,498 total.
Chris Warren, who won his only PBA50 title in the 2018 USBC Senior Masters, was in third another 20 pins back with 3,478. David Leverage of Peoria, Ariz., was fourth at 3,472, and two-time PBA50 champ John Marsala of St. Louis fifth with 3,465.
Hess had games of 171, 246, 194, 222, 221, 268, 226 and 300 to pull away from the field. He said there was a reason for his slow start.
“For me, the lanes were a little different than they were yesterday, and they hooked a little more today at the start,” said Hess, who won the 2011 USBC Masters. “I started the day open, open, open, open. I had 35 in the fourth in Game 1.
“Yesterday I started with the Reality, then switched to the new RST X-2 in the middle of Game 2. Because they hooked a little more today, it looked like I was going to start with the X-2, which I did. But it just wasn’t comfortable. It didn’t feel right because it was a little warmer in the center this morning when we started. So things were a little bit off.”
Hess switched back to the Reality in the fifth frame of the first game, tried a few other balls midway through the round, and then closed out the day using a Zen.
“It’s ironic that today the game plan I had coming in didn’t pan out,” he said. “It was something completely different.”
Hess could have shot even better in the round if a couple of single pins had cooperated.
“In Game 6, it was four-bagger, blower 7, smash 7, sheet,” he said. “That could have been a 300 as well. And the last game was one of the best 300s I’ve ever bowled in my life!
“But when my game plan didn’t work, I just played smart, didn’t keep fighting it and made it work. I did what the lanes told me to do and made a whole bunch of good shots.”
The field was cut to the top 24 for two rounds of match play competition set for Tuesday at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Pacific time. That will determine the top five for the stepladder finals scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
A couple of players made big moves on Monday to survive the first cut.
Mitch Beasley of Clarksville, Tenn., started the day in 55th place, but rolled am 1,810 block in Round 2 to move up to 16th place with 3,326, while Michael Haugen Jr. of Phoenix jumped from 35th to 11th with 3,371.
Pete Weber, who entered the tournament as the PBA50 leader in points, earnings and average, grabbed the final spot for match play with a 3,248 total despite rolling a 165 his final game. He converted the 2-4-8-10 split in the 10th and then got seven on his fill ball. But Ricky Schissler of Brighton, Colo., closed with a 153 and finished a pin behind Weber.
PBA Senior U.S. Open
Top 10 (after 16 games)
- Tom Hess, 3,643
- Amleto Monacelli, 3,498
- Chris Warren, 3,478
- David Leverage, 3,472
- John Marsala, 3,465
- Hugh Miller, 3,464
- Rolando Sebelen, 3,427
- Chris Barnes, 3,404
- Brad Angelo, 3,396
- Jason Couch, 3,388