INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Jeff Zaffino was on the brink of elimination twice on Thursday at Woodland Bowl, but has advanced to Round Three on Friday of the Dick Weber PBA Playoffs.
Zaffino, of Warren, first had to advance past Round One this morning, trailing three bowlers for the ninth and final position in the East Region after the first 10 of 15 games in the opening round. He was 40 pins off the pace, averaging a 210 over ten games with 2,105 pins, but inched his way back up with 1,106 pins over his final five games or a 221.2 average. He moved up to ninth by just seven pins - a 15-game total of 3,211 pins (averaging 214) to John Szczerbinski's 3,204, Joe Pauluszek's 3,202 and three other bowlers within 20 pins. He bowled games of 256, 211, 246, 179 and 214 with his season on the line.
On to Round Two.
But Zaffino wasn't hot all day on Thursday.
The top nine from each of six Regions in Round One were joined in Round Two of the PBA Playoffs later Thursday evening by six Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour players - one added to each of the six Regions - who who had advanced through the season points list.
A six-game Round Two Thursday would see seven of those 10 bowlers in the East Region advance to Friday's Round Three.
Lumber Liquidators PBA-Dick Weber Standings - By AP
(After 6 games, top 7 per region advance to Round Three):
1, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 1,421. 2, Scott Norton, Costa Mesa, Calif., 1,382. 3, Brian LeClair, Athens, N.Y., 1,363. 4, Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill., 1,356. 5, Jeffrey Voght, Canojaharie, N.Y., 1,331. 6, John Nolen, Waterford, Mich., 1,308. 7, Jeff Zaffino, Warren, Pa., 1,278.
Did not advance: 8, Tom Sorce, Blasdell, N.Y., 1,246, $1,500. 9, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 1,194, $1,500. 10, Eddie VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., 1,144, $1,500.
Zaffino had already come from behind to advance in Round One, and a 533 over his first three games of Round Two put him behind the seventh-place bowler by close to 100 pins. He bowled a 745 series over his last three games Thursday night to finish in seventh place by 32 pins and advance to Friday's Round Three. He bowled games of 256, 245 and 244 over his final three Round Two games.
If this sounds too complicated, just get this: the PBA Playoffs feature six independent regional groups - Zaffino's is the East Region - bowling elimination rounds within the respective regions.
There are six rounds in each region, and Zaffino is one of only seven bowlers advancing to Round Three on Friday out of the East Region.
Zaffino was not one of the bowlers from the season points list that received a bye.
After Thursday night's six-game Round Two, the PBA Tour players who finished seventh through 12th on the 2010-11 season points list will be seeded into the competition.
The top six seeds for the season will enter the tournament on Friday afternoon for Round Four.
After Friday night's Round Five, only three survivors in each Region will advance on Sunday to two Regional Championship and one Conference Championship television shows for a delayed telecast on ESPN.
Then, the final six Conference Championship survivors - one from each Region - will return to Indianapolis on April 17 for a final live telecast. First prize in the event is $50,000.
All rounds are being covered at pba.com.
Zaffino, 51, had cashed twice over nine PBA Tour events in the 2010-11 season, with winnings of $7,000, according to pba.com.
It's the most he'd earned since his first PBA Tour season of 2004-05.
He has already earned an additional $1,175 for advancing to Round Three on Friday.