Averaging 222 for the first six games of qualifying, PBA professional Rob Rice advanced to the finals and posted a 3-1 record in the head-to-head match-ups enroute to winning this past Sunday's Central Washington Open.
Staged at Valley Lanes in Sunnyside, the bowling center owned and operated by Rice, Sunday's competition drew a field of 53 bowlers. The Central Washington Open tournaments are staged periodically throughout the state each year, and typically draw PBA regional professionals, as well as amateurs who maintain averages of 190 or better.
Of the 53 bowlers who competed Sunday, the top 16 advanced from the six-game qualifying round to the finals. Rice, one of seven competitors from the Lower Valley entered in Sunday's tourney, was the lone local bowler to qualify for the finals.
Rice posted the fifth highest pinfall in the qualifying round, rolling games of 278-227-222-194-190-225.
In the four-game finals block he opened with a 266, plus picked up 30 bonus pins for winning his heads-up match against Yakima's Don Bautch. Rice went on to win two more of his head-to-head finals matches, losing only to Jeff Britton of Kennewick, the eventual third-place finisher, by a score of 205-198.
Sunday's runner-up, who qualified third for the finals by averaging 227 in the opening six games, was Walla Walla's Mike Postlewait.
The top bowler who came out of the six-game qualifying round was Joe Rayburn of Richland. He averaged 232 in the qualifying round (222-237-238-256-216-223). Rayburn ended up in fifth place, due mostly to winning just two of his four match-ups in the finals.
The bowler who made up the most ground in the finals was Cheney's Tony Trethewey. He qualified No. 15 for the finals, averaging just 209 the first six games, but won each of his four head-to-head matches, worth 120 bonus pins in the finals. Trethewey finished seventh overall.
Besides Rice, the first-place finisher Sunday, the Lower Yakima Valley was represented in the tourney by his son, Brandon Rice, as well as Tanner Schaneman, Chuck Curtiss, Derek Colley, Austin Carl and Dennis Cavin.
The younger Rice, a former member of the WSU men's bowling team, averaged 202.5 for the six qualifying games on performances of 178-170-225-205-179-258. He placed 20th overall.
Schaneman, a local teen considered by most as the area's hottest up-and-comer, placed 28th overall with games of 193-211-219-188-209-169.
Curtiss, a well-established Lower Valley men's bowling league veteran, was one spot back in 29th place with efforts of 203-226-217-196-161-180.
Colley, the manager of Sunnyside's Valley Lanes, finished in 35th place. He rolled games of 169-215-187-205-245-156.
Carl, a college-age bowler who just last season began transitioning his game to the elite level, placed 36th overall. He shot games of 202-187-157-180-236-206.
Cavin, a long-tenured Lower Valley men's league bowler who was honored several years back with the distinction of being named to the Lower Valley Bowling Hall of Fame, settled for a 51st place finish Sunday. His efforts included games of 189-167-169-225-125-174.