Defending champion Wes Malott slipped to third place with one game to go, but rallied in the final game Friday night to regain the lead in the PBA's Lumber Liquidators Marathon Open at AMF Country Club Lanes in Baltimore.
With seven games remaining this morning on the Dick Weber lane pattern, however, the race for the five spots on Sunday’s ESPN telecast remains wide open, and the battle for the 2009-10 Chris Schenkel Player of the Year title now boils down to two players who are hot on each other’s heels.
Malott has averaged 230.74 for 46 games on six different lane conditions for a 10,614 total. Weber, who rolled the event’s 10th 300 game Friday morning, had 10,559, and is making a bid for his first title since the 2007 U.S. Open.
Brad Angelo was third with 10,557, followed by Tommy Jones at 10,507 and Barnes with 10,506. No player among the top five has won a title this season.
Fewer than 20 pins behind the five front-runners are Mike Scroggins and Walter Ray Williams Jr., the two remaining contenders in the Player of the Year race. They were only seven pins apart.
Bill O’Neill, who is tied with Williams for the Player of the Year points lead, was eliminated from contention when he finished 20th and failed to advance to today's Weber round. Should he and Williams remain tied on that list, Player of the Year would be decided by the tour's main points list, on which Williams is well ahead of O'Neill.
Scroggins, who started the day in 11th place, can win Player of the Year if he wins the Marathon Open and Williams finishes lower than second. In any other scenario, the 50-year-old Williams would earn Player of the Year honors for a record seventh time and become the oldest player ever to win the title.
For a look at the various Player of the Year scenarios going into this week's tournament, see the Pro Bowling section. For complete Marathon Open standings entering today's final round before the TV cut, go to pba.com.