Weber, at age 50, averaged 242.19 including the only 300 game in the second round to finish with a 16-game total of 3,875 pins. With eight more qualifying games remaining Thursday before the cut to the top 24 for round-robin match play, the PBA Hall of Famer held a 41-pin lead over reigning PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill.
Weber, a 36-time PBA Tour titlist, ranks fourth on the all-time PBA Tour titles list behind Walter Ray Williams Jr. (47), Earl Anthony (43) and Norm Duke (37). He is trying for his 10th major championship to equal Anthony’s record and his 37th overall title to tie Duke for third place on the career titles list.
"I made good ball changes," said Weber. "The IQ Gold was working early and when it made what I call the Y-shape, I switched to the Hy-Road."
"I do remember what it was like to win this tournament. When I won (1987), it was special because my Dad had never won it. There is a long way to go, but I will be doing everything I can to do it again."
Storm Tour Representative Del Ballard Jr., said the lanes are "hooking a bit more than he expected," but the players adjusted.
"We (Storm/Roto Grip) have no holes in our product lines," said Ballard. "That is a huge advantage. Our staffers are throwing several different balls depending on their style and look. Pete bowled well and so did Osku and Stu. Today is just the first day, and we have a long way to go."
Weber won two of his major titles – the 1991 U.S. Open and 1992 Touring Players Championship – at Woodland Bowl.
“I kinda like it here. I have always enjoyed bowling here,” Weber said. “Winning this one would let me complete the Triple Crown for the second time (he has won the other two legs of the Triple Crown multiple times; the U.S. Open a record five times and the PBA World Championship twice).”
No player has ever won all three PBA Triple Crown events twice.
“I’ve bowled well all year, but something was missing,” Weber added. “My brother Rich straightened it out. It was just a smidgeon in my timing, but it worked. I just feel a lot more confident, and when you have a good reaction and good carry, it just loosens the arm swing up that much more.”
History is on the line , but Weber isn’t concerned about it.
“I don’t think about the majors. That’s the least thing I worry about,” he said. “It’s not Sunday. I’m thinking about making the top 24 first, and then if I make it to the TV show on Sunday, I’ll think about winning. Not now.”
Rash, with 3,834 pins, was followed by Osku Palermaa of Finland with a 3,825 total; first-round leader Scott Norton of Mission Viejo, Calif., in fourth place with 3,812 and Stuart Williams of England in fifth place with 3,757 pins.
The Tournament of Champions continues Thursday with the final eight-game qualifying round at 10 a.m. The top 24 players based on 24-game pinfall totals will then advance to an eight-game round-robin match play round at 5 p.m. The final two eight-game match play rounds will be held Friday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. After 48 games, the top five players will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN stepladder finals at 2:30 p.m. ET.
All qualifying and match play rounds of the Tournament of Champions (and the PBA Hall of Fame induction ceremonies Saturday night) will be covered live, exclusively on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. For subscription information, visit pba.com.
BARBASOL PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Woodland Bowl, Indianapolis, Wednesday
Round Two (after 16 qualifying games)
1, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,875.
2, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,834.
3, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,825.
4, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 3,812.
5, Stuart Williams, England, 3,757.
6 (tie), Dom Barrett, England, and Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 3,703.
8, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,701.
9, Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 3,676.
10, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 3,675.
11, Mike DeVaney, Hemet, Calif., 3,671.
12, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,668.
13, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 3,651.
14, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3,648.
15, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 3,644.
16, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 3,639.
17, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 3,631.
18 (tie), Andres Gomez, Colombia, and Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3,617.
20, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 3,606.
21, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 3,602.
22 (tie), Mike Fagan, Dallas, and Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,588.
24, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 3,586.
25, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,564.
26 (tie), Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, and Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,551.
28, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 3,541.
29 (tie), Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., and Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 3,537.
31, Wayne Webb, Columbus, Ohio, 3,534.
32, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 3,521.
33, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 3,516.
34 (tie), Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., and Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 3,504.
36, Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill., 3,500.
37, Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 3,496.
38, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 3,469.
39, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 3,466.
40, Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 3,465.
41, John Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 3,455.
42, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 3,450.
43, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 3,438.
44, Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, 3,436.
45 (tie), Mark Williams, Beaumont, Texas, and Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3,419.
47, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,415.
48, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 3,401.
49, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3,367.
50, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 3,361.
51, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 3,345.
52, George Branham III, Indianapolis, 3,247.
53, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, withdrew, injury.
300 Games: Mike Scroggins, Scott Norton, Scott Newell, Pete Weber.