RESULTS: Round 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Rick Vittone, a native of Oregon who now lives in Canada, took the opening round lead Monday at the 2011 United States Bowling Congress Senior Masters.
Vittone had a five-game total of 1,124, an average of 224.8, to lead a field of 249 of the country's top bowlers age 50 and older at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. Dave Patchen of Oregon, Ohio, sits in second place with 1,121.
"My wife (Reis) of 24 years is here with me, and she's been a huge part of my success," Vittone said. "She knows my game inside and out and several times today she spotted something that helped me."
Vittone, who won the Storm Bowlers Journal Championships Senior Singles event in Reno, Nev., earlier this year, had games of 235, 195, 223, 224 and 247 in Monday's first round. The second round of qualifying takes place Tuesday with an additional five games and qualifying concludes Wednesday with five final games.
"Tomorrow is going to be totally different because I will be bowling on the fresh," Vittone said. "Hopefully my experience in the past two or three years will help me come out and make good shots and read the lanes well."
Following Vittone and Patchen in the standings is 2008 Senior Masters champion Kenny Parks of Hammond, Ind., who is third with 1,113. Steve Ferraro of Kingston, N.Y., is fourth with 1,110.
The top 63 players after 15 games will join Webb and advance to the double-elimination match-play bracket on Thursday and Friday. The winner will earn $14,000 and the total prize pool is more than $110,000.
For more information on the USBC Senior Masters, visit BOWL.com/seniormasters.