Duckpin bowling, invented by baseball Hall of Famer John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson around the turn of the century, has been regarded as a stepchild of the tenpin game since the Pro Bowlers Tour and television found each other in the 1960s.

However, the Duckpin Pro Bowlers tour, which makes its local stop at Wheaton Triangle Lanes this weekend, wants to change that. At least in the areas where duckpin was once king: Maryland, the District and Virginia, and Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The DPBA was conceived by Baltimore's John Weinken, now DPBA president, and fellow bowlers in 1963. Today, the $75,000, March to November tour makes nine stops along the eastern seaboard.

Hyattsville's Jeff Tyles, a former top-ranked bowler who established the world's record average of 165 last season, heads the field of 192 who will be competing for $32,000 in prize money in Wheaton. Also expected are 1982's top bowler, Swede Lavers, and Silver Spring Hall of Famers Shorty Divver and Jimmy Dietsch, the proprietors of Wheaton Triangle.

Qualifying will run all day Saturday, beginning at 8:30 a.m., and the semifinals and finals get under way Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission is free.