We would be at AMF McRay this weekend for another 2-squad standard event! With so many other tournaments going on throughout the Valley we were lucky to have 108 total entries (89 qualifying and 19 economy parlays). We would see 29 cashers with a 1 in 3.75 cash ratio and we would pay out over $7,600 in main and side event prize funds. The bowlers would play on a very tough 41ft Kegel Turnpike. The pattern is pretty flat for the first 20 feet of the lane with some shape in the middle, this would mean that you would have to play a pretty tight line and if you got the ball out too far outside, it wouldn’t come back. The key to this event was to leave makeable spares and string strikes when you could. The average cut score was around +40 to advance to the quarterfinals which meant that you had to get about 10 pins above your average per game.
We would like to give a warm welcome to Joshua Stimmel, Erika Hawes, Eric Van Slyke and Ryan Griggs to the SFT Family. They all bowled their first event this weekend with Eric and Erika making the quarterfinals on their first try! We did not have any Economy Power Players this weekend which just goes to show you how much the lanes transitioned from the first squad to the second squad. We did have a few bowlers that made their first quarterfinals in Erika Hawes, Eric Van Slyke, Joseph Quihuis, Mike Hodge, Bill Roberts, Roy Gross, and Juan Brooks. There was no Momma’s Mystery Score winner this weekend so that pot will roll over to our next tournament. Your winner of the free plastic ball raffle, with an option to upgrade to any Track high-performance bowling ball for $85.00, was Lenny Grom.
Since this was a 2-squad tournament we would not re-oil for the quarterfinals. This resulted in a few higher scores with the oil pattern breaking down forcing bowlers to make spares and stay clean to advance. We would see some tight scores and it would all come down to the third and final game of the quarterfinals to determine who would move on to the Semi-Final round. We would have 25 quarterfinalists and with our 1 in 3 cut ratio, from the quarterfinals to the semi-final round, we would cut to the Top 2 in the A & B Divisions with the C Division cutting to the Top 3.
The A Division would see DJ Kneifel (+131) emerge as the #1 seed and he would have to face off against Dave Nelson (+75). The B Division would see Juan Brooks (+97) as the #1 seed, and he would take on Chip Carr (+82). The C Division would have Josh Wamsley (+107) as the #1 seed, and he would be up against #2 seed Bill Roberts (+102).
The A Division semi-final would see DJ and Dave struggle on the pair with transition. DJ would put enough together to close out the match and defeat Dave, 202 to 159. The B Division would be a bit closer as Chip and Juan would take it all the way down to the tenth frame. Juan would finish the match first with a score of 211. This would leave Chip needing a mark and good count to win the match. Chip’s first shot in the tenth would look good off his hand and hit the pocket but would leave the Ocho-Diaz (8-10) split. Chip would not be able to convert the split attempt and would finish at 201. The C Division would also be a close match between Josh and Bill. Mike Hodge would struggle on the pair and would come in third place with a score of 196. Josh would finish out the tenth frame with a score of 227. This would force Bill to double and get good count to win the match. Bill would get up and absolutely crush the pocket on his first shot. Bill’s second shot would hit light but mix enough for the double. Bill’s fill shot in the tenth would miss a bit high getting six to finish at 227 and tie with Josh to force a ninth/tenth frame roll-off.
The rules to the roll-off would see each bowler’s handicap divided by 5, with the decimal playing in the event of another tie. With both bowlers having the same amount of handicap it would make this a scratch roll-off. Josh would start the ninth frame with a huge strike to put some pressure on Bill. Bill would answer right back by throwing a strike of his own. Bill would start off the tenth with another strike and would miss left on his second shot to leave the 1-3-9. He would chop the 1-pin off the spare attempt and finish with a score of 45. Josh would get up next needing a strike and a mark to win. Josh’s first ball in the tenth would sail a bit left and leave the 1-3-7. Josh would get the 1-3 but the open frame would put him in second with a score of 28.
As we would head into the Finals, we would see Bill Roberts and Juan Brooks making their very first Finals match and both would be looking at taking home their first title. Bill was looking at taking advantage of the momentum of the ninth/tenth frame roll-off to win his first title. Juan Brooks has been bowling our tournaments for the last year or so and it was good to see him improve his game and make the Finals. DJ Kneifel was looking at winning his second title and was a bit overdue from his last win at our 2021 Labor Day Major. All three were looking at pocketing that $1,200.00 first place prize!
The Finals would start will all three bowlers struggling to carry the pocket. We would see a lot of corner pins and single pin spares throughout the day. DJ would mark in the first and strike in the second to try and make up a bit of the handicap difference that he faced. Bill would start off strong with a strike and a mark in the second frame. Juan would continue to grind with a marks in both the first and second frames. DJ would open in the third frame as he would chop the 1-3-9. Bill would do the same as he would chop the 1-2-4. This would let Juan take a slight lead as he would strike in the third frame. Bill would overtake Juan as he would strike in the fourth and fifth frames to make up for his open frame in the third. Juan would continue to mark in the fourth and fifth frames. DJ would mark in the fourth but run into a bit of trouble in the fifth as he would chop the slight bucket (3-5-6) to fall back into third place.
Halfway through the match and it was neck and neck between Bill and Juan. Juan would mark in the sixth and seventh frames to stay clean. Bill would mark in the sixth and get a strike in the seventh to maintain his lead. DJ would also mark in the sixth and strike in the seventh but would need to string some more to get back into the match. The eighth frame would see DJ go high through the nose leaving the 4-6 split and he would not convert split. Bill and Juan would go on to mark in the eighth to remain close. DJ would strike in the ninth and tenth, but it would be too little too late as he would finish up in third place with a score of 185. It would come down to the tenth frame between Juan and Bill. Juan was coming off a strike in the ninth and would be up first. Juan’s first shot in the tenth would get a bit wide and leave the 1-2-4. He would convert the spare and get seven on the fill to finish at 220. Bill would get up needing to mark to win and he would go ahead and double in the tenth to seal the win with a score of 239. This would give him his first AHT SFT title and $1,200.00! Congrats to Juan Brooks on second place and $800.00. Also, congrats to DJ Kneifel for third place and $500.00.
Thank you to everyone that came out this weekend! Also thank you to the staff at AMF McRay for hosting us this weekend. We’ll be off for the next couple of weeks, but we’ll be back on Sunday, March 12th at AMF Mesa! Hope you all have a great week, and we’ll see you soon.
AMF McRay Finals - DJ Kneifel vs. Juan Brooks vs. Bill Roberts