Ciminelli leads qualifying round at Medford

Jan 10, 2008 - 3:06 AM MEDFORD, Oregon (Ticker) -- Ryan Ciminelli only can hope his performance this week after leading the Denny's PBA Tour qualifying round will be as good as the one when he last was in such a situation, if not better.

Ciminelli became just the second bowler to lead a qualifying round as both an amateur and a PBA member, averaging 240.14 over his seven games Wednesday to earn a spot in Thursday's round of 64 of the 2008 Lumber Liquidators Earl Anthony Medford Classic.

The 21-year-old led the qualifying round as an amateur in the 2006 GEICO Classic in his hometown of Cheektowaga, New York. He went on to finish ninth in the event, just missing his chance to become the first amateur to advance to a championship round when he fell to Tim Criss, four games to three, in the round of 16.

Ciminelli, who became a PBA member in April 2007, joins Bo Goergen as the only bowlers to lead as both an amateur and a member. Goergen accomplished the feat in back-to-back weeks during the 2005-06 season.

On Wednesday, Ciminelli had just one game under 234 - a 193 in game three. He started off with games of 236 and 246 and rebounded from his lowest effort with a 256, 234, 259 and 257, with the latter pushing him ahead of David Traber for the lead.

Ciminelli, who qualified for the second time this season, finished just in front of Tom Daugherty. The native of Tampa, Florida qualified second for the second consecutive week, finishing with a 1,638 seven-game pinfall to Ciminelli's 1,681.

Erik Hohlbein finished third with 1,602 pins and advanced through the qualifying round for the first time in his career. Traber, a four-time titlist, was fourth with 1,597, while Andrew Cain and Bryon Smith - who lives is in nearby Roseburg - tied for fifth with 1,594.

In a tight race for the amateur spot, Redmond, Oregon's Grant Benton edged Kevin Henley of Medford by just 10 pins, finishing seventh with 1,578.

The final three PBA member spots were taken by Rhino Page, who qualified for the seventh time in nine tries this season, Edward VanDaniker Jr. and former exempt bowler Nathan Bohr.

The round of 64 features two seven-game qualifying blocks starting at 1 p.m. EST. The top 32 will advance to match play on Friday.

The final four will move on to Sunday's championship round, which also begins at 1 p.m. EST.

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