Morgantown, W.V. – When Brian LeClair first noticed the 37-foot Bat oil pattern would be put out for the 2024 PBA50 Morgantown Classic, he was looking forward to it. He felt it provided a lot more buff in the pattern from where they stop oiling to where they buff out. Compared to the other patterns bowled on this season, he said this was “blatantly different” and he felt it matched up with his game.

His patience paid off as the Albany, New York native averaged 239.71 Wednesday morning with games of 279, 245, 226, 258, 224, 235 and 211. His total over 14 games of qualifying was 3,209, putting him in first place and three pins ahead of Day 1 leader Randy Weiss.

“When there is more buff in the pattern, if you throw it good and miss right, you can get a good ball reaction. On the other patterns, you have got to miss left and when I am missing left, I am not bowling good,” LeClair said. “This was more appealing to me. A lot of times people struggle on the fresh the first two or three games on this, I have always been able to figure something out.”

LeClair hit the pocket every single shot getting no less than a 9-count until the fourth frame in game five in his final block. As other players were using urethane, LeClair stuck with reactive resin. “I don’t think urethane is the best option when you have a lot more buff in the pattern,” he said. “This week, we have nine to 10-feet of buff. That is a big deal going from only three or four-feet to 10-feet.”

LeClair was thrilled to see a fellow New Yorker and friend David Handlowich Jr. bowl well so far at his first PBA50 stop of the year. Handlowich Jr. was in second on Tuesday and is now in 21st.  A few months ago, LeClair, who now owns three pro shops, reached out to Handlowich Jr.’s uncle because he felt like he could help. LeClair ended up drilling Handlowich Jr.’s equipment and the difference is noticeable to LeClair.

“Ever since we started helping to drill his bowling balls with different layouts and changing his span, he is bowling a lot better,” LeClair said. “As soon as David got done bowling and he was leading (on Tuesday), my son texted me. My son was paying attention, and he was rooting for David, too. I think he is doing a really good job.”

Walter Ray Williams Jr. made a big jump from 21st place into third with his block of 1,664, which included a 300 game. John Janawicz had the only other perfect game. Pete Weber was the cut number for the top 31 at +219.

The remaining players will bowl four games in the Advancers Round starting at 9 a.m. Eastern on Thursday. The top 24 bowlers will move into bracket match play best two-out-of-three games, and the top eight will receive first-round byes. All qualifying pins will be dropped before match play begins. Qualifiers 9-24 will bowl at 12:30 p.m. All winners will join the top eight in the Round of 16 with matches starting at 2:30 p.m.

The Round of 8 will begin at 5 p.m. and those winners will determine the top four who will bowl in the stepladder finals. The highest seeded player to lose in the Round of 8 will be the No. 5 seed. The stepladder finals are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. You can watch it all play out only on BowlTV.

Top 10 PBA50 Morgantown Classic standings:

  1. Brian LeClair, 3,209 (+409)
  2. Randy Weiss, 3,206 (+406)
  3. Walter Ray Williams Jr., 3,191 (+391)
  4. Tom Adcock, 3,169 (+369)
  5. George Kostjal, 3,157 (+357)
  6. Christopher Viale, 3,151 (+351)
  7. Bill Watson, 3,150 (+350)
  8. Dan Knowlton, 3,148 (+348)
  9. Jason Couch, 3,139 (+339)
  10. John Burkett, 3,121 (+321) 

Full standings - 2024 PBA50 Morgantown Classic

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