Duke electrifying on way to lead at 2017 U.S. Open

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. - Two-time U.S. Open champion Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida, put on a show for players and spectators Sunday at Flamingo Bowl, averaging more than 243 in his final qualifying block to surge to the top of the standings at the 2017 U.S. Open.

The United States Bowling Congress and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer posted a 1,949 eight-game total Sunday to jump from 12th to first on the leaderboard with a 24-game total of 5,339.

Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, New York, the 2015 U.S. Open champion, is second with 5,256, and second-round leader Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, is third with 5,247.

Defending champion Francois Lavoie of Canada is in 22nd place with 5,013.

The top 36 players in the field after 24 games of qualifying advanced to Monday's cashers' round, and Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Florida, earned the final spot with a 4,915 total, a 204.7 average. The cashers' round will start Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern and consist of an additional eight games to determine the 24 players for round-robin match play.

Duke has had his share of memorable runs at the U.S. Open, and the 53-year-old right-hander stayed in the moment as he put together games of 223, 257, 241, 209, 268, 258, 236 and 257 on the burn.

Each competitor at the 2017 event had one qualifying block on each of the three phases of the 43-foot lane condition being used this week at the U.S. Open - fresh, burn and double-burn.

"That came out of nowhere," said Duke, who won the U.S. Open in 2008 and 2011. "I don't think anybody thought 340 over was out there. It's hard to keep your mental attitude really focused for that long, but that's what it's about. I recognized I had something special going, and I kept at it."

With the big block in the books, Duke has no plans to rest on his laurels. The 38-time PBA Tour titlist will refocus and get back to basics as he looks for another deep run at the U.S. Open. In addition to his two wins, Duke also has three additional top-five finishes, including a fourth-place finish at the 2015 event in Garland, Texas.

"I won't let this affect my confidence going forward," Duke said. "As a matter of fact, it may even work against your confidence because you get used to the flow of shooting 230, 240, 250, and the flow here is not that way. Now, I have to go back and get things back to where they were, which is the U.S. Open frame of mind. They're tough out here, it's a grind and it's only the third day. If I can do that, I think I'm all right. But, as soon as you start looking back at what you've done, either today, yesterday or 25 years ago, it will punish you. The main thing for me right now is to be able to forget this, and maybe remember it years from now, but not today."

Match play will begin Monday at 6 p.m. Eastern with the first of three eight-game rounds and resume Tuesday at 10 a.m. Eastern, concluding with a position round. The five finalists for the stepladder finals will be determined by total pinfall, including bonus pins, for 56 games.

The stepladder finals will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network on Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. The champion will earn the $30,000 top prize and coveted green jacket.

The U.S. Open is the fourth of five major championships on the 2017 PBA Tour schedule and is conducted jointly by the USBC and Bowling Proprietors' Association of America.

Each round of the 2017 U.S. Open leading up to the stepladder finals will be broadcast live on Xtra Frame, the exclusive online bowling channel for the PBA.