Roommates set pace at 2021 Super Senior Classic

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Standings: Round 1

LAS VEGAS -
After six games of qualifying at the 2021 Super Senior Classic, a pair of roommates landed at the top of the standings.

Glenn Smith of New York set the bar on the opening squad of the event at Sam's Town Bowling Center, and Venezuela's Amleto Monacelli averaged nearly 236 on Friday afternoon to grab the top spot.

Monacelli, a United States Bowling Congress and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer who turned 60 just two weeks ago, posted games of 258, 247, 212, 238, 213 and 246 for a 1,414 total.

Smith saw months of hard work on his game continue to pay off as the 2021 PBA50 Tour season winds down. He finished his six games on the fresh 40-foot oil pattern Friday with a 1,361 total.

The travel companions were followed in the standings by Ed Silva of Manteca, California (1,357), Hugh Miller of Mercer Island, Washington (1,354), and local Russ Davies of Las Vegas (1,343).

Defending Super Senior Classic champion Ty Dawson of Sunnyvale, California, is sixth with 1,313.

All rounds of the tournament, along with next week's USBC Senior Masters, are being broadcast live on BowlTV. The Super Senior Classic is for USBC members 60 and older, and the Senior Masters will welcome USBC members age 50 and up.

"When Glenn told me he was leading, I was really happy for him, but when I go to bowl, I am not thinking about scores, I'm thinking about what ball I need, what shape and what surface," Monacelli said. "The most important thing for me is feeling very relaxed physically and bowling with serenity in my mind and without overthinking. I know if I do that, I just have to focus on throwing good shots and doing what the ball is telling me to do."

Despite not bowling much in recent weeks due to coaching obligations with the bowlers from the Dominican Republic, Monacelli said he felt sharp on the lanes Friday. The reason for his comfort level was three-fold.

First, while coaching at a recent event in Guatemala, he was able to visualize himself in the different situations the bowlers encountered and think through what he'd do if he was the one on the approach.

Next, was three very focused and rewarding days of practice before heading west for last week's PBA50 Senior U.S. Open in Brentwood, California.

Finally, more than 30 games and a third-place finish at the event gave him a boost of confidence heading into the Super Senior Classic and next week's USBC Senior Masters, where he is the defending champion.

Monacelli and Smith will be back on the lanes at Sam's Town on Saturday for six additional games of qualifying, though their time slots will be reversed. Monacelli will hit the freshly oiled lanes at noon Eastern, and Smith bowl on the burn at 5 p.m. EDT.

Following Saturday's second round, the 157-player field will be cut to the top 40 based on the 12-game pinfall totals. The advancing players will bowl an additional six games Sunday morning, and their 18-game totals will determine the 12 competitors advancing to round-robin match play.

Those 12 bowlers will be split into two six-player groups and will have a chance to advance to the unique group-stepladder portion of the event and then on to the championship round, where the winner will take home a $7,500 top prize.

The leaders in each group after match play will earn the top two seeds for the championship round, and the No. 2, 3 and 4 finishers will advance to their respective group stepladders. The two winners will earn the third and fourth seeds for the main stepladder.

The group stepladders will take place Monday at noon Eastern, and the final round will be broadcast live on BowlTV, beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.

Guidance and advice from veterans like Monacelli has helped make Smith's rookie campaign on the PBA50 Tour better than he ever could've expected. It is rewarding for Monacelli, too.

"We've roomed a couple of times and become pretty good friends, and I really enjoy helping him," Monacelli said. "I noticed some things he was doing, and he went back home to work on them, and he has been doing so much better. He used to stay with a ball too long and often throw it too hard and too straight. Now, he's getting the ball more into the lane, and it's giving him a better shape. Seeing him do well is really great."

Glen Smith 2021 Super Senior Classic Day 1Prior to retiring from his job as the creative director at a display company, Smith would pick out some tour stops and take time off work, but he primarily focused on weekend events and PBA regionals.

He has used the insight from Monacelli and other players and coaches to keep his game progressing, even at age 61.

Things as simple as using a wrist guard and developing a pre-shot routine have helped elevate his game, and time spent working on reading the lanes and ball reaction also are paying off.

"There have been so many changes that have led to positive results, and it has been an amazing experience," said Smith, the 2020 New York State Senior Masters champion. "Since I now have the time to work on things, both on and off the lanes, I've been able to develop some skills beyond just the down-and-in style I was used to. I'm also fortunate to get to be around some great people who are always willing to help and keep me moving forward."

The two events are returning to the 56-lane center together for the fifth time, a routine that began in 2016.

Monacelli will lead a field of nearly 250 bowlers into Sam's Town for the Senior Masters, beginning Sept. 14. They'll compete for a $20,000 top prize, and the 10-time PBA50 Tour champion is looking to become the first player to win the event three times.

The Senior Masters is considered a major on the PBA50 Tour and will be the final event of the 2021 season.