Aleta Sill likes the oil at Kearny Mesa Bowl. That's the long and the short of things.
Long oil--when the lane is oiled nearly all the way to the pins--tends to give her game a boost. On short oil--when it's stopped after 24 feet--she usually slips out of contention early.
Sill, of Dearborn, Mich., jumped from third to first place Monday, finishing with a total of 3,853 pins to take a 139-pin lead over second-place Alberta Acosta of Pacifica at the conclusion of the two-day qualifying round of the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour tournament.
Sill doesn't find herself in first often these days, particularly because the trend has shifted from using long oil on lanes to short oil. Long oil favors bowlers like Sill, who put more spin on the ball.
"I've had a really rough time of it," said Sill, who has won 14 career titles. "Most all tournaments are short oil. You have to be really on to score good on it. It gets to you after a while."
No problem here. The lanes are oiled beyond the standard 24 feet. Sill put herself in position to win her first tournament since 1987.
Short oil, Sill said, throws the break of her shot off. When she adjusts for it, she can't bowl the way that is most natural to her.
Judy Soutar, a 29-year veteran of the tour who made the cut finishing 14th, said long oil tends to keep scores low. Long oil was common until 1985.
Diana Davenport of Shreveport, La., is in third place entering today's final round with 3,674.
First-round leader Wendy Macpherson of San Diego finished fifth at 3,624.
There are two divisions for today's top-24 match play, starting at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The tournament concludes Wednesday night with the stepladder finals, beginning at 7.