Westland, Michigan – The first day of qualifying for this year’s PBA50 Tour got underway Tuesday inside Vision Lanes, and it’s a familiar name at the top who is making his return to the senior tour. Mika Koivuniemi has finished coaching the United Arab Emirates national team and just came back to the U.S. earlier this year.

"It's great to be back for sure. Now I can compete a little bit more so that is wonderful for me," the Finland native said. "In January I went to Finland and bowled the Brunswick Ballmaster Open. I bowled a couple of squads and made the finals. That gave me the spark back to go bowling." 

The tall 57-year-old made his presence felt quickly rolling games of 213, 244, 239, 233, 225, 224 and 255 for 1,633, an average of 233.29. He is the only player without a game under 200 at the PBA50 Hamtramck Singles Classic Open. He is five pins ahead of 2023 PBA Rookie of the Year John Janawicz at 1,628. The only other player at 200-over is Troy Stus who led A-squad.

Stus lives just 30 minutes away, owning Pinz Bowling Center in South Lyon, Michigan. He hasn’t had the opportunity to compete much on the PBA50 Tour but with the tournament so close to home, he was all in. His dad is PBA Hall of Famer Gene Stus, who won 11 titles on the PBA Senior Tour.

In preparation for the tournament, the 57-year-old downloaded the 39-foot Mike Aulby oil pattern and practiced on the condition at his bowling center. He also admits he got help from some other bowlers on what type of equipment to add to his arsenal this week.

“It feels great,” Stus said. “There is a fair amount of pressure bowling in your hometown, especially since I don’t bowl a lot. There is a lot of people you know who want to see how you hold up against some of the national players, so it is a good feeling to show them I can do it too.”

B-squad will be on the lanes first 9 a.m. Eastern Wednesday for the final seven games of qualifying followed by A-squad at 3 p.m. ET. After those games are completed, the top 36 players will advance with all qualifying pins carrying over to Thursday’s advancers round.

You can watch all of the action on BowlTV.

Top 10 PBA50 Hamtramck Singles Classic Open standings:

  1. Mika Koivuniemi, 1,633 (+233)
  2. John Janawicz, 1,628 (+228)
  3. Troy Stus, 1,603 (+203)
  4. Ron Hurt, 1,568 (+168)
  5. Jon Rakoski, 1,565 (+165)
  6. John Burkett, 1,558 (+158)
  7. Brad Angelo, 1,545 (+145)
  8. Walter Ray Williams Jr., 1,541 (+141)
  9. Randy Weiss, 1,538 (+138)
  10. Andres Gomez, 1,535 (+135) 

Full standings - PBA50 Hamtramck Singles Classic Open

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