AJ Chapman of Manchester, Iowa, and Elise Bolton of Merritt Island, Fla., held their position at the top of the Teen Masters National Championships’ standings Sunday, holding off a hungry pack of competitors on a short sport pattern at the South Point Hotel and Casino bowling alley in Las Vegas.
Chapman, who rolled a 1313 six-game series on the long pattern Saturday, added to his pin total with a 1260 series on the short pattern. Heading into Monday’s six additional qualifying games on combined long and short patterns, and – in all likelihood – a berth in the Round of 32, Chapman appeared confident and comfortable both on and off the lanes.
“I’ve been putting out the combined long and short patterns at home to practice,” the Iowan sophomore said.
On Monday, though, Chapman will have to again withstand the determined attacks of several experienced bowlers. Kyle King of Glendale, Ariz., pegged as a favorite to contend for the title of Teen Masters champion because of his extensive Junior Bowlers Tour experience and versatile modern game, failed to break even on the long pattern Saturday and has suffered through a disappointing summer season. Recalling his success last year on the short pattern, however, King rose to the occasion and made a dramatic jump in the standings, from 95th place (-86) to 4th place (+85). His 1371 six-game series on the short pattern was the highest of the tournament thus far.
“I’ve been having some problems with my physical game,” King said after his performance on the long pattern, but put the pieces together Sunday and easily ruled his fellow bowlers with a urethane ball and an extreme outside line to the pocket.
While King made his move, Bolton simply tried to hold on to her lead in the girls’ division. After tying for first place after six games with a 1261 series Saturday, Bolton lost ground on par for the tournament but maintained her overall position, finishing the second round of qualifying with a 2414 tournament total.
“I just made my spares,” Bolton said.
With many bowlers’ scores falling Sunday, spares certainly were of importance, as contestants sought to make the tournament’s first cut. After 12 games, the top 33 percent of bowlers in both divisions advanced to Monday’s combined pattern qualifying. In the boys’ division, Logan Rush of Lafayette, Ind., made the cut at 85th place (-169), while Kelly Mineo of Austintown, Ohio, advanced at 43rd place (-265).
The top 32 girls and boys after 18 games will advance to the first round of match play Monday. For more information about the Teen Masters, results and additional interactive content, visit www.teenmastersbowling.com.