Post-Tribune - After he recently competed in the U.S. Open on the PBA national tour, 37-time champion Pete Weber confessed that the mental demands of that tournament necessitated a break from bowling.

So when Weber participated in Monday's pro-am at the PBA50 South Shore Open at Olympia Lanes, it was the first time he had picked up a bowling ball since the Open. During Tuesday's first day of qualifying, Weber's game was firing on all cylinders.

Weber finished the day at the top of the field with a 32 average (plus-260) over eight games with his lowest game being a 204 and highest a 269. He's 23 pins ahead of two-time Hammond champion Mark Williams.

Finishing the day in third was Jeff Richgels of Madison, Wis., at plus-223, and tied for fourth was PBA Hall of Famer Randy Pedersen and Joe Scarborough of Mars Hill, N.C., at plus-181. Walter Ray Williams Jr., who has won the most national titles in PBA history, is in seventh at plus-162 and 2011 Champion Harry Sullins is in ninth at plus-138.

"I feel like I'm 400 over as good as I bowled today," Weber said. "I only had three opens today, and all the opens were splits. I feel really good about the way I'm throwing the ball. The U.S. Open was a tough shot; it's very demanding. It takes a lot of your mental game. You just need to stop bowling.

"I was fine with not touching a ball before coming here. I just had to get my mental game back into focus and make sure I was relaxed when I got here."

As much as Weber is excelling in his inaugural PBA50 season - featuring a win at the PBA50 Masters - he admits that the shorter tournament is more of a grind than on the national tour.

"There's more bowling out here than on the national tour," he said. "You bowl just three days here, and that's harder. It's over four or five on the national tour, which makes it easier on us."

On the local front, Griffith's Rick Woloszyn finished the day tied for 27th and Hammond's Kenny Parks finished in 43rd place at plus-9. Richard Hunt of Valparaiso finished in 77th and Bill Idzior of Crown Point ended in 98th.

"I bowled like an old person today," Hunt said. "I was 190-240 the first two games, and I switched to a different ball. I had some mechanical issues with my game today, and I didn't shoot spares very well. There was a lot of bad today."

For Idzior, he admitted that it was even worse. His only 200 game of the day was 224, and his lowest tally on Tuesday was a 158.

"I got lined up and bowled as well as I could, but I couldn't score," he said. "I had a lot of taps on shots were I thought I had good hits."