CONNELL - Regional PBA professional Rob Rice, who also doubles as the owner and operator of Sunnyside's Valley Lanes, turned in a fifth-place finish at this past Sunday's Central Washington Open bowling tournament. The competition, which drew 55 of the Pacific Northwest's hottest bowlers, was hosted by Connell's Town & Country Lanes.
Rice was one of 10 bowlers from the Sunnyside area to make the trip to Connell. The next highest finisher from the Lower Valley was Rob Colley, who missed out on advancing to the finals by one spot. Still, Colley's 17th place finish earned him a paycheck of $105.
Only 18 of the 55 competitors earned cash awards on Sunday.
In placing fifth overall, Rice's pay day totaled $185.
Sunday's titlist proved to be Kennewick's Jeff Britton. His cash earnings tallied $550. Britton advanced to the final 16 as the No. 10 seed out of the qualifying round. In those six qualifying games, he averaged 223, with a high of 254 and a low of 176.
Rice came out of the six-game qualifying round with the fourth best total. He opened the tourney with a 192, then upped his next two games to 210-219. The PBA professional put a stamp on earning one of the 16 finals spots when he delivered a 268 in game four. Game five he slipped slightly, to a 211, but Rice came up huge in the final qualifying game, rolling a perfect 300.
His 233 average in the six qualifying games, a 1400 total, trailed only Roger Lehman of Richland (1413), Matt Descoteaux of Spokane (1416) and top qualifier Ryon Cline of Spokane (1458). Cline ended up slipping to fourth place overall after bowling the four head-to-head matches in the finals.
In placing 17th, just one spot out of making it to the finals, Colley averaged 212 in the opening six-game block. He rolled games of 191-194-253-265-170-199.
Tri-Cities bowler Brad Morrow, formerly of Sunnyside, missed making the finals by 28 pins. He settled for a 21st place finish with a 207 average in the qualifying round.
The eight other Sunnyside-area bowlers who competed in Connell included Brandon Rice, 28th place (187-204-208-263-171-180); Tanner Schaneman, 35th place (226-206-204-177-173-184); Derek Colley, 39th place (175-171-203-223-180-168); Chris Guy, 42nd place (205-158-227-149-177-182); Stacee Isaac, 44th place (169-143-180-234-180-171); Jamie Corbus, 48th place (155-175-225-122-231-135); Christie Cromwell, 49th place (157-190-150-227-149-169); and Gabe Rodriguez, 53rd place (168-151-186-208-130-138).