Corey Gray made a run at adding the Pekin three-game city record to the one he already shares in the Peoria Association.
He opened the Sunset Lanes Winter Singles Sweeper in Pekin last Sunday with games of 279, 300 and 267 for an 846 set, and added a 258 for an 1,104 scratch qualifying total.
Gray's scratch total was high by more than 100 pins over a 35-man field. Shane Taylor was next with 991, including a 299 game. Taylor also was second with handicap at 1,027.
Gray ended up winning the event despite giving up 66 pins of handicap to runner-up Jeffrey McBride. Gray won the title match over the youth bowler, 226-221. McBride beat Scott Holmes, 274-271, in the quarterfinals, and got past Taylor, 217-199, in the semis.
In January of 2004, Gray set the Peoria association three-game mark with an 878 on games of 300, 300 and 278. That record was tied last season by Chip Hollingsworth.
Gray said that after opening with 279 and 300 at Sunset, he had more than 879 in the back of his mind.
"I had Marty Calvin on the pair next to me, and I really had on my mind beating his Pekin record (868) more than beating mine," Gray said. "Also, the 279, 300, 267 and 258 games was moving pairs every game."
In the bracket finals, Gray added games of 243, 279 and the closing 226.
That's not bad for a guy who had part of the middle finger in his right (bowling) hand cut off by about a third a few years ago, and is still feeling the pain of a wrist injury.
"The two injuries are what has kept me from bowling a lot the past several years," Gray said. "My wrist still gives me fits, and sometimes even locks up and pops while I'm throwing. But the end of my finger has grown back, even my nail, and you can't even tell."
Gray also signed up for the Bill Mastronardi/Bud Light Masters this season, and bowls on Thursday night at Safari Bowl in Morton.
"The past several years, I've only bowled one night a week and subbed," he said. "I felt like I wanted to bowl a little more this year, so I joined back in the Masters. Plus I'm planning on going to some more tournaments this year and see what happens."
So far, his comeback has been a success.
TOURNAMENTS A-PLENTY: There will be plenty of tournaments going on from now until the end of the year — and beyond — for area bowlers interested in singles, doubles, trios and four-person teams.
The Halloween Trios at Plaza Lanes in Washington on Sunday will kick off a flurry of tournament activity in the upcoming weeks.
Landmark Lanes will host a Handicap Singles Sweeper at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, with a $600 guaranteed first place. Entry fee is $50.
Then Sunset Lanes will host its second winter singles sweeper at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 12. The first event had 35 entries.
Safari Bowl in Morton will host the Thanksgiving Team Shootout starting at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving. It will be for four-person teams with an average cap of 900. Entry fee is $220 per team, with $1,600 for first, based on 16 teams.
Then on Saturday, Nov. 25, Plaza Lanes will host a Thanksgiving Holiday Doubles event, starting at 10 a.m. Entry fee will be $100 per team.
On Saturday, Dec. 23, Roxy's will host an Over/Under 50 Holiday Doubles starting at 10 a.m. One bowler must be 50 or older, and one younger than 50 on the day of the event. Entry fee is $100 per team.
After the new year, the Peoria River City Association will host the Youth City Tournament at Christian Center Lanes on the weekends of January 6-7 and 13-14. Squad times will be at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sundays.
The PRCA also will host the Peoria River City USBC Open Championships at Plaza Lanes in January. It will run on the weekends of January 6-7, 13-14 and 20-21, as well as on Tuesday, Jan. 9, and Tuesday, Jan. 16. Squad times will be 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturdays, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays, and at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesedays.
JOHNNY CAMPOS is the Journal Star bowling columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com or 686-3214. Read his Spare Change blog at blogs.pjstar.com/sparechange, or follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.