With seven out of 12 finalists being first-time qualifiers, the Herald Handicap Classic is shaping up to be an interesting tournament to watch this year.
In addition to seven of the finalists being first-time qualifiers, three of those seven have never previously bowled in the tournament.
Tournament Coordinator Dick Alexander said that, while there are typically three or four first-time qualifiers, this is the highest number of first-timers he has ever seen.
After two days of bowling over the weekend, the group of 46 was narrowed down to the 12 finalists and one alternate.
The top 12 included Anthony Card, with a weekend handicap total of 1,910; Ben Hutcheson, with 1,891; Ryan Williams, with 1,886; Scott Williams, with 1,852; Joe Snyder, with 1,851; Luke Hipple, with 1,848; Josh Johnson, with 1,837; Chad Coburn, with 1,808; Gary Kinnear, with 1,797; Darren Thomas, with 1,794; Lanny Whitman, with 1,792; and Broc Baker, with 1,790.
The alternate, should someone not be able to participate in the finals on Saturday and Sunday, is Kenda Van, who scored 1,764.
The top scorer, Card, is the husband of Kayla Card, the first ever woman to win The Classic last year. Anthony Card averaged 236 for the weekend.
Should Card continue his high scoring streak into the coming weekend, he and his wife could become the first husband and wife duo to ever win the tournament.
“It’s very possible too, because he is one of the better bowlers. He throws a powerful ball,” Alexander said.
Alexander said that, although Kayla Card had participated in this year’s tournament, she had bowled a rough weekend, falling short of taking one of the top 12 spots.
“They’re both really, really good bowlers,” Alexander said.
Lanny Whitman, another finalist, has been participating in the tournament from the very beginning.
“Our one qualifier, Lanny Whitman, he’s bowled in this tournament for 45 of the 46 years,” said Lin Van Lanes owner Scott Baker.
According to Baker, Whitman has won the tournament six times and has qualified for the finals on numerous occasions.
Coburn, who has qualified for the tournament in year’s past, averaged 249 for the weekend, giving him a huge charge into the finals.
According to Alexander, the 12 finalists will each bowl against each other once on Saturday.
For each win, they will receive a point; and for every 50 pins, they will receive an additional point.
Once each contestant has bowled against all of the other competitors, the points will be totaled.
The top five with the most points will continue into Sunday’s portion of the contest.
“We take the charts back there and figure out who’s going to be the top five, and then number five will bowl against number four and so on,” Alexander said.
The competition for one of the top five spots will begin at 1 p.m., on Saturday.