With the star power of Pete Weber, Chris Barnes, Sean Rash and Lonnie Waliczek atop the leaderboard, it would be easy to peg them as the favorites to win the Wichita Open.
Those four are in the top six of the 23 bowlers that advanced to semifinal qualifying at Thunderbird Lanes from the field of 65 on Saturday in the Southwest Region PBA event.
A five-game qualifying block starts at 8:30 a.m. today, with match play following at noon.
Right with those big names stands a 19-year-old from Miami that no one is overlooking. Andrew Koff is a sophomore at Duke University, but brings a major league reputation.
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"Andrew Koff made a little bit of noise a couple of years ago at the U.S. Open," said Rash, who bowled with Koff in qualifying. "He was 16 at the time and he just missed match play.... He's got a ton of raw talent."
Koff has raked in the accolades as an amateur, being named the USBC's Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow last year. On top of that, Koff is attending Duke on an engineering scholarship.
His experience prepares him for tournaments such as this one, where he finds himself bowling next to Rash. But the awe lingers with Koff.
"Of course, it's always a little bit at the start," Koff said. "But I'm usually just focused on trying to knock down as many pins as I can and worry about that stuff later."
Koff certainly did well in that aspect. He was 47 pins behind Barnes, the leader at 1,784. Koff finished with just over a 218 pin average.
"I got a little love from the pins, but for the most part I was throwing really well," Koff said. "I've been practicing a lot and working on a lot of stuff lately. I think it's been going pretty well."
His game was on display on Saturday. Koff said he hadn't competed in a tournament this summer, instead focusing on honing his game in preparation for his Team USA duties in July.
Since he is still competing as an amateur, Koff is not allowed to accept any of his prize money. Instead, the money is put in a scholarship fund set up in Koff's name. He has been collecting money for over three years now.
"It's definitely really helped out," he said. "I've been using it for schooling and stuff. Hopefully I'll be able to add a little bit more here."
So when does he plan to turn professional so he can start pocketing his earnings?
"I'm not in too big of a rush," Koff laughed. "You can pretty much bowl in everything as an amateur anyways, so I can wait."
At Thunderbird Lanes
1. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1784; 2. Mike Bailey, Frisco, Texas, 1761; 3. Andrew Koff, Miami, Fla., 1747; 4. Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, 1743; 5. Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 1730; 6. Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 1724; 7. Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 1704; 8. Chris Drewes, Wichita, 1700; 9. Kurt Gengelbach, Carrollton, Texas, 1696; 10. Dan Umscheid, Wichita, 1685; 11. Jay Futrell, Derby, 1685; 12. Kevin Andes, Somerset, Mass., 1678; 13. Blake Demore, Springfield, Mo., 1674; 14. Tyler Jensen, Fort Worth, Texas, 1659; 15. Dan Quilt, Rapid City, S.D., 1647; 16. George Lambert IV, Canada, 1645; 17. Dave Dentlinger, Carroll, Iowa, 1643; 18. Cory Simmons, Wichita, 1642; 19. Kevin Mitchell, Tulsa, Okla., 1627; 20. Rick Steelsmith, Wichita, 1626; 21. Dylan Burns, Garden City, 1621; 22. Dwayne Watkins, Fort Riley, 1616; 23. Olivia Sandham, Wichita, 1615.
24. Gilbert Sanchez, Mulvane, 1613; 25. Matthew Tomsu, Omaha, Neb., 1606; 26. Michael Gaither, Grain Valley, Mo., 1603; 27. Matt McFayden, Derby, 1592; 28. Adam Ferri, Wichita, 1590; 29. Josh Maxson, Killeen, Texas, 1587; 30. Tim Penner, Wichita, 1581; 31. Kris Koeltzow, Wheat Ridge, Colo., 1580; 32. Brent Bowers, Mulvane, 1576; 33. Sean Rangle, Omaha, Neb., 1574; 34. Chris Westerberg, Haysville, 1573; 35. Rocio Restrepo, Columbia, 1571; 36. Beau Peterson, Newton, 1570; 37. Cassandra Leuthold, Black Hawk, S.D., 1569; 38. Andy Patterson, Tyler, Texas, 1568; 39. Derek Hartnell, Wichita, 1568; 40. Thomas Patterson, Owasso, Okla., 1567; 41. Nathan Bohr, Wichita, 1557; 42. Catie Jensen, Fort Worth, 1550; 43. John Kay, Derby, 1545; 44. Thomas Elborne, Katy, Texas, 1540; 45. Evan Gouladdle, Wichita, 1539; 46. Lynda Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1536; 47. Ryan Abel, Bel Aire, 1520; 48. Jim Carter, Keller, Texas, 1512; 49. Nick Vaughan, Derby, 1502; 50. Chris Hibbitts II, Fort Worth, Texas, 1496; 51. Joel Carlson, Omaha, Neb., 1496; 52. Sean Morgan, Hollidaysburg, Pa., 1487; 53. Adrian Bohanan, Goddard, 1484; 54. Mike Keily, Littleton, Colo., 1476; 55. Blake Ballhorst, Junction City, 1471; 56. Chad Inasy, Wichita, 1466; 57. William Panebianco, McPherson, 1447; 58. Joe Long, Oklahoma City, Okla., 1436; 59. Aaron Ramsden, Pleasant Valley, Mo., 1425; 60. Kevin Tatrow, Bel Air, 1425; 61. Mark Scroggins, Canyon, Texas, 1418; 62. Maleeque Parker, Box Elder, S.D., 1413; 63. Shawn Light, Wichita, 1405; 64. Lance Strausberg, Langdon, 1370; 65. Michael Evans, Hutchinson, 1358; 66. Matt Bailey, Junction City, 1349; 67. Cliff White, Lemoore, Calif., 1301; 68. Jimmy Cotton, Omaha, Neb., 1276; 69. Terry Barrett, Grove, Okla., 1238.