BOWLING : Arnold Strikes It Big, Takes Early Lead and Holds On to It

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 chosen sport, and Thursday he showed why with a collection of timely strikes.

The Los Angeles-born Arnold, 32 and now from Gilbert, Ariz., took the lead in the AC-Delco PBA tournament at Cal Bowl in Lakewood after 18 games and kept the No. 1 position through eight more games of match play.

He has a 29-pin lead over Dennis Jacques of Grand Rapids, Mich. In third place is Jess Stayrook of Tempe, Ariz., 38 pins behind.

Robert Smith, an amateur from Moorpark, was in fifth and in contention for the $45,000 first prize, richest ever for a tournament held in Southern California. Smith was runner-up in this event a year ago.

Sixteen more single-game matches are scheduled today and tonight to determine five finalists for the Saturday final.

No one has scored a 300 game after three days of sporadic scoring. Jacques had the best score of the day with a 289 match victory over San Diego's Dennis Horan.

Arnold, a lanky one-time national tour champion, had been lurking close to the lead since the start of the $240,000 event and charged to the front in the third round with a 1,437 six-game series (239 average).

Arnold's lone PBA title was at Sayville, N.Y., in 1993.

A number of PBA headliners failed to make the cut as only 24 bowlers from the original field of 167 survived to gain match play. Among them was Norm Duke, who made a game bid in the third six-game round but fell eight pins shy of a chance to defend the title he won here a year ago. He was far down the standings but rallied to finish in a tie for 27th place.

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