By Don Wright
For the Herald
The 12th annual Southwest Region Professional Bowlers Killeen Open is under way at Hallmark Lanes. Early in the day Friday, the professionals started arriving for an autograph session and some needed practice.
About 4 p.m. a four-game sweeper got things started. The sweeper was a four-game tournament across eight lanes and open to members and non-members.
At 6:30 p.m. the center was full for the pro-am event. Dick Atkinson made the introductions of the event sponsors and things got going.
The early roster listed only 67 bowlers competing over the weekend, but by pro-am time the roster had grown to 91.
Local bowlers trying their hand are the five winners of qualifying events held at Hallmark Lanes over the past two months. Earning paid entries were Eric Odette, Thomas Wynne, Mark Morgan, Jorge Bardales and Tom Camacho.
Other locals seeing action are Thomas Christie, Keith Desmarais, and Bobby Wacker.
Also on the roster is Robert Lawrence of Austin. Lawrence, a BPAA U.S. Open winner and co-owner of the Pro Stop Pro Shop at Interstate Lanes in Round Rock was on his way to a great career with the PBA until an unfortunate shoulder injury put him out of the game. An avid competitor, who as a youth bowler had practiced bowling both right and left handed tried to compete again with little success.
He finally thought his shoulder was well enough to come back out when he fell from his rooftop and once again couldn't compete because of injury. Lawrence will be competing on C Squad tomorrow afternoon injury free.
Lonnie Waliczek, of Wichita, Kan. was scheduled for A Squad on Saturday morning. Waliczek won the 2003 Killeen Open. He is second on the Regional points list behind David Anthony who is scheduled to bowl B Squad.
Today's competition begins with the semifinals at 8 a.m., followed by match-play finals at 12:30 p.m.