No one is picking winners yet, but Walter Ray Williams knows he'll still be in town Saturday for the finals of the $135,000 Fair Lanes Open at Fair Lanes Woodlawn.
Williams, who won here in 1986 and always seems to bowl well in this Professional Bowlers Association tournament, assured himself a spot in the King of the Hill challenge after winning the Flagship City Open in Erie, Pa., on Saturday, and then toppling Ron Williams in the King of the Hill match.
At 8 a.m. today, 111 bowlers, including 75 full-time touring pros, began rolling in qualifying play for 61 spots to join the 99 exempt players in the tournament field. Practice and autograph sessions, followed by pro-ams, will be held tomorrow.
The competition begins Wednesday with 18 games of qualifying.
The top 24 bowlers start round-robin match play Thursday night, with the four leaders reaching the nationally televised (ABC) stepladder finals Saturday.
John Mazza, who finished second in Erie and won earlier this TTC year in Peoria, Ill., is another favorite. Two-time PBA Player of the Year Amleto Monacelli has been bowling well, as are Dave Ferraro, Parker Bohn III and Don Moser, who finished second here in 1990 to Danny Wiseman and third in 1989.
Defending champion Bob Learn Jr. won the Bud Light Hall of Fame championship this year.
Wiseman, originally from Dundalk and living in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., is exempt from qualifying, as is Aberdeen's Mark Bowers.