Page leads at Spartanburg Classic

Dec 14, 2007 - 8:00 AM SPARTANBURG, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Things are going so well for Rhino Page these days, he's not only the top non-exempt bowler on the Denny's PBA Tour, he's starting to make a case for being one of the top bowlers on Tour overall.

Page led the round of 64 in the 2007 Spartanburg Classic on Thursday, compiling a 3,422 14-game pinfall for a 244.43 average to earn the top spot for Friday's match play.

The 24-year-old Page advanced via Wednesday's qualifying round for the sixth time in seven tries this season, three shy of tying the single-season record with eight standard events remaining.

Last week, he became the seventh bowler in history to advance through the qualifying round and reach the championship round in the same week when he finished fifth in the Lumber Liquidators Championship.

The Team USA member entered this week 17th in the world point rankings and is threatening to become the first non-exempt bowler to finish a season in the top 40.

On Thursday, Page never dipped below the 200 mark, with his low game a 219 in game 10. He had seven games of 247 or better, topping out at 299 in game 12.

Page averaged 251.57 over the final seven games to take away the top spot from first-round leader Chris Barnes.

"Each squad we bowl, the lanes are a little different, and tonight they were definitely different than this morning," Page said. "I just need to take into consideration what I did today and make the right adjustments tomorrow morning."

Page will be making his fifth match-play appearance of the season on Friday, and with all pins from qualifying carrying over, he's in a good position to become the first qualifier ever to make two championship round appearances.

Finishing right behind Page were twins Mark and Mike Scroggins, who placed second and fourth, respectively. Finishing between the siblings was Chris Warren, who was third with 3,347 pins.

Warren reached last week's Lumber Liquidators Championship final round, his first TV appearance in over 12 years.

Last week's champion, Patrick Allen will look to make it back-to-back titles as he finished fifth with 3,297 pins.

Three bowlers who hail from South Carolina moved on to match play, including two-time titlist Ritchie Allen of Columbia, who finished 13th with 3,198. Lee Vanderhoef of Greenville, who earned the final spot in the round of 64 through Wednesday's qualifying round, finished 17th with 3,155 pins.

The 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year and a 10-time titlist, Tommy Jones moved up from 38th after the first block to finish in 19th place with 3,140. Jones is looking to bounce back from an early-season slump and make his first championship-round appearance of the year.

In Friday's round-robin match play, bowlers will earn 30 bonus pins for each win and 15 bonus pins for each tie.

The top 32 bowl nine games Friday morning beginning at 11 a.m. EST. The field will be cut to the top 16 for the evening's final nine-game block, which begins at 6 p.m.

The top five will advance to Sunday's finals, which take place at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium at 1 p.m. and be televised live on ESPN. The winner will receive $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.