BOWLING : Lurking Arnold Strikes Big to Lead Match Play Qualifiers

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dave Arnold grew up in a home just off the seventh tee at Knollwood Country Club in Granada Hills. But bowling, not golf, became his sport and Thursday he indicated why with a collection of timely strikes.

The Los Angeles-born Arnold, 32 and now from Gilbert, Ariz., led 24 bowlers into the match play semifinals of the AC-Delco PBA Tournament at Cal Bowl in Lakewood.

Arnold had been lurking close to the lead since the start of this $240,000 event and charged to the front in the third round with a 1,437 six-game series (239 average). His 18-game total of 4,117 put him 83 pins ahead of Brian LeClair of Hudson, N.Y., who has yet to win since turning pro in 1991.

Arnold won his only PBA event at Sayville, N.Y., in 1993, outshooting Walter Ray Williams, 269-258.

Mark Bowers, of Aberdeen, Md., who had led after the first two rounds, was fifth going into match play. Oklahoman Norm Duke, the defending champion, missed making the cut, finishing 27th.

Williams, Eric Forkel, Mike Aulby, Pete Weber and Randy Pedersen were other favorites eliminated.

Making the cut were marquee pros David Ozio, George Branham III and Del Ballard Jr. Branham was a Southern California champion before moving to Indianapolis.

Amateur Robert Smith of Moorpark, seventh in the standings; Dennis Horan of San Diego, 16th; Jess Stayrook of San Diego, 20th, and Bob Knipple of Long Beach, 22nd, are still in the hunt for the victory. First prize is $45,000. Knipple, 53 and the oldest in the event, operates a bowling pro shop at the tournament site.

The semifinalists had 24 matches to go before Saturday's five-man title roll-off.

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