Harman takes lead at ConstructionJobs.com Championship

Jan 4, 2008 - 9:07 AM RENO, Nevada (Ticker) -- Steve Harman's rookie season on the Denny's PBA Tour has been up-and-down so far. But with his performance Thursday, he may be ready for a breakout second half.

Harman led the round of 64 in the 2008 ConstructionJobs.com Championship with a 3,085 14-game pinfall to earn the top seed for Friday's match play.

The 33-year-old finished third in the 2007 Lake County Indiana tour Trials last summer to earn his first career exemption, but he was inconsistent during the first half of this season and entered the week 48th in the world point rankings.

Harman made match play just three times in the first eight events but did have a confidence-building ninth-place finish in the Lumber Liquidators Championship, the second-to-last event of the first half.

"The first half was trying, exhausting and up and down more than anything," he said. "I just haven't been able to put two weeks together. I just needed a couple weeks to refresh my mind. This is the first time I've been away from my family."

On Thursday, Harman got off to a slow start in the first seven-game block, averaging just 197.40 over the first five games. But he made a ball change and finished the block with games of 278 and 255.

He used a completely different ball for the entire second block and averaged 223.57 over the final seven games to take the lead.

"The last two games (of the first block), I grabbed a ball I hadn't thrown all day and moved to a completely different part of lane to see what would happen, and I just kept striking," Harman said. "I didn't throw that ball all night tonight, though. The lanes played a lot tighter for me than they did this morning."

Harman is confident he can improve on his first-half performance with at least one event on each of the PBA's five different patterns under his belt.

"The second time I'm seeing the patterns, I'm bowling better on them," Harman said. "When you bowl in the regionals, the lanes break down totally different. As well as I bowled today, that gives me a lot of confidence moving forward."

Harman next will face No. 32 Roger Kossert, a PBA Senior Tour bowler who earned the final spot in match play by just two pins over Jack Jurek.

Three players who enjoyed a lot of success in the first half of the season follow Harman.

Chris Barnes, who is second in the point rankings, finished second with 3,050 pins. Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III, who won the final event of the first half for his 31st career title, finished third with 3,006, while all-time titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. finished fourth with 3,004.

Williams dominated the first half of the season, winning two titles and making five championship round appearances.

Barnes will face No. 31 Ryan Shafer, Bohn takes on No. 30 Michael Fagan and Williams meets No. 29 Curtis Woods Jr. in Friday's single-elimination match play.

Defending champion Patrick Allen, who already has won one title this season, finished eighth with 2,943 pins and will face No. 25 Riga Kalfas. Last season, Allen tied a PBA record by going 14-0 in match play en route to the title.

Friday's action begins at 3 p.m. EST. The rounds of 32 and 16 take place Friday, with the round of 8 slated for Saturday morning.

The top four will advance to Sunday's championship round, which will be televised live on ESPN at 1 p.m. EST. The winner receives $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.

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