RENO, Nev. - Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, played a part of the lane most of the other players in the field were avoiding Wednesday night as he took the overall lead after 10 games at the 2010 United States Bowling Congress Masters.
Loschetter decided to play the outside part of the lane, while a majority of his competitors chose to play a deep inside line. The decision worked as Loschetter moved into the lead with a total of 2,343, an average of 234.3, at the National Bowling Stadium.
"I had a good look in practice today playing out, so that's where I stayed the whole block," Loschetter said. "I felt like if I played them a little straighter then the transition out there was a little more manageable."
With a big lead, Loschetter is already looking ahead to match play. The top 67 players after Wednesday advanced to a final five-game qualifying block Thursday morning. The top 63 players will then join defending champion John Nolen in the double-elimination match-play bracket starting Thursday afternoon.
"The key is not to focus on what I've done in qualifying," Loschetter said. "I have to keep an open mind in match play. I have a good ball reaction, so it's really all mental at this point."
Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, fired 289 in the fourth game Wednesday and sits in second place, 14 pins behind Loschetter. Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, is third, 57 pins back, while two-hander Jason Belmonte of Australia sits in fourth, 58 pins off the pace.
Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla., led the first squad of the day but dropped to fifth overall, trailing Loschetter by 75 pins. Allen, who was second after qualifying at last year's Masters, said the real focus is when the tournament reaches match play.
"I qualified second heading into match play last year and then lost my first two matches and was out," Allen said. "Nobody really remembers what you do at this point. It's all about getting to the next round."
Colombia's Andres Gomez fired the tournament's first perfect game, connecting on 12 consecutive strikes in the fourth game Wednesday. Gomez is 13th, 126 pins off the lead.
At the end of 10 games, two players tied for 67th place and had a one-game roll-off for the final spot in Thursday's final five-game block. Daniel Miyamoto of Mililani, Hawaii, defeated George Lambert IV of Canada, 268-215, to advance.