ANDY MORTON: Bowling Stadium Comings and Goings

by Andy Morton February 19, 2010 11:05

Bowling is never far from my mind. Almost daily I have a plethora of thoughts about this game: League ideas, tournament ideas, and my own ambitions as a bowler.

I’ll be turning 29 in April and will be making my first trip to the USBC Open Championships at the end of April. Along with being truly excited to participate on that stage, I’m also polluting my mind with thoughts of how much my performance there may mean for my future in bowling.

I’m certainly not coming to the end of my bowling career, but how much longer do I have before I realize I’ve peaked? As much as I know that one event isn’t a true measure of one’s ability, I’m not sure how many more trips I’ll have in me to test these waters against a large and talented amateur field.

I certainly intend on having a good time. Enjoying the company of my teammates and friends and reuniting myself with the National Bowling Stadium is something I'm looking forward to. Hopefully I make good decisions on the lanes, good shots, and convert those pesky spares. All things considered, I’ll be really happy if I average 200 over the course of the event. Not only because I think it’s a reasonable goal, but because I've got a lunch bet with my brother on it.

The pros (and most of the world's best amateurs) were there at the Stadium last week and put on another great show Sunday, with Walter Ray Williams Jr. winning his 47th career title. Hopefully, my visit to bowling's version of St Paul's Cathedral will yield similar magic...and those of you who are planning to attend the USBC Open Championship some time this year find your own magic as well. More...

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Nearly 30,000 Bowling Fans Experience “Xtra Frame” During USBC Masters

by Bill Vint February 16, 2010 03:53

SEATTLE, Wash. – Nearly 30,000 bowling fans got a unique inside look at the United States Bowling Congress Masters, thanks to a week of free Xtra Frame coverage offered by USBC and the Professional Bowlers Association, and there’s more to come for Xtra Frame subscribers this week as PBA Tournament of Champions winner Kelly Kulick returns to competition in the Bayer Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles in Wheat Ridge, Colo.

Free exposure to pba.com’s “online bowling channel” drew 29,431 different viewers to coverage of the USBC Masters match play elimination rounds, including a pivotal match when Chris Barnes fired a 300 game to overcome a 54-pin deficit and defeat Wes Malott on his way to the top seeded position for the ESPN television finals (a recap of the Barnes-Malott match is still available on pba.com).

During Masters week, Xtra Frame unique visitors spent an astonishing average of 84.41 minutes online, resulting in more than 2.4 million total viewer minutes. Overall, individual users visited Xtra Frame 12 times each and spent just over seven minutes online per visit.

“Fans who tuned in Xtra Frame for the first time during the USBC Masters got a glimpse into the future and the future is now,” said PBA Deputy Commissioner Tom Clark. “The quality of coverage was great and the countless hours of sports entertainment all catered to PBA fans who were treated to a side of bowling they rarely, if ever, get to experience. And that’s the kind of inside coverage Xtra Frame provides at every PBA Tour event.”

This week, Xtra Frame returns to “subscribers only” access for live streaming coverage of Kulick’s return to the lanes along with other action from the Bayer Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles, including player interviews, equipment analysis, discussion of lane-play strategies, and pre- and post-event coverage of Sunday’s live ESPN finals.

To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link and follow the instructions. Monthly and annual subscriptions are available.

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Williams wins second Masters title

by Jason Thomas February 14, 2010 10:23

By Lucas Wiseman USBC Communications

RENO, Nev. - Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., won his second United States Bowling Congress Masters title Sunday, defeating top seed Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 290-217, at the National Bowling Stadium.

The victory was Williams' 47th on the Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour, extending his record for the most in PBA Tour history, while also moving him up to a tie for second with eight career major titles.

"This is just another little feather, it's just awesome," said Williams, who defeated Barnes, 268-239, to win the January 2004 USBC Masters also at the National Bowling Stadium. "It's hard to explain it better than that. To win any tournament is awesome, and the bigger ones are even better."

Williams is now tied with Pete Weber and Mike Aulby with eight career major titles, but all three players trail USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Earl Anthony, who won 10 majors and 43 total titles.

"I really don't envision that I can get to 10, but I'm not giving up yet," said Williams, who turned 50 in 2009. "I'm going to go out there and plug along as good as I can, and the year that I'm no longer exempt out here, that's when I will have had enough."

In the title match against Barnes, Williams got off to a shaky start, going high on his first shot, breaking up a split and leaving a 7 pin. From there, he was perfect, finishing with 11 consecutive strikes to take home the $50,000 prize and two-year PBA Tour exemption.

Williams said the turning point in the match was when Barnes left a 10 pin in the fourth frame, but he managed to carry a similar shot in the fifth frame.

"Chris left that weak 10 pin after a scout came over and touched it but didn't knock it over, and then I step up and leave a 10 pin but the scout comes over and gets it," Williams said. "That helped me get a little more comfortable, and from that point, every one of my strikes was high flush."

Looking back on the loss, Barnes said he thought he threw the ball well, but it was the way the lanes broke down in practice that had a major impact.

"I lost this one in the practice session," said Barnes, who finished second in the season's second major, losing to Kelly Kulick, 265-195, in the PBA Tournament of Champions three weeks ago. "He played further right than I anticipated. When I broke them down, it made the lanes pretty good for me, but it had no affect on him."

When Williams and Barnes met for the Masters title in 2004, the scenario set up the same way. Barnes was the top seed, while Williams was No. 2.

"The last two Masters here in Reno, I've gone undefeated in match play, I haven't lost a three-game match, yet I haven't won either tournament," said Barnes, who made it through the double-elimination bracket unscathed in both events. "TV is one of the best things the sport has going for it, but it is probably the worst thing I have going for me personally."

To reach the championship match, Williams defeated No. 3 seed Ryan Ciminelli of Buffalo, N.Y., 258-224. Ciminelli advanced with a 246-229 victory over fourth seed Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, in the opening match.

The 2010 USBC Masters featured a field of 267 of the top professional and amateur bowlers in the world, competing for an overall prize fund of $255,000.

For more information on the USBC Masters, visit BOWL.com.

United States Bowling Congress

The United States Bowling Congress, as the national governing body, ensures the integrity and protects the future of the sport, provides programs and services to more than two million adult and youth members and enhances the bowling experience.

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2010 USBC MASTERS
At National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev.
Sunday's results

Final standings

1, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 548 (two games), $50,000.
2, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 217 (one game), $25,000.
3, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 470 (two games), $15,000.
4, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 229 (one game), $10,000.

Stepladder results

Match One - Ciminelli def. Scroggins, 246-229
Match Two - Williams def. Ciminelli, 258-224
Championship Match - Williams def. Barnes, 290-217


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SUNDAY 3PM ET ON ESPN: Barnes Heads Field of Finalists in USBC Masters

by Jason Thomas February 12, 2010 16:53

By Matt Cannizzaro USBC Communications

RENO, Nev. - Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, rode the momentum of a clutch 300 game all the way to the championship round of the 2010 United States Bowling Congress Masters on Friday.

The 39-year-old right-hander averaged 230.2 and rolled untouched through the double-elimination match-play bracket, compiling a 6-0 record and earning the No. 1 seed for Sunday's final round, which will be televised live on ESPN at 3 p.m. EST.

Barnes defeated 46-time Professional Bowlers Association champion Walter Ray Williams Jr., 712-612, to take the top spot. The two have battled on the lanes at the National Bowling Stadium before, with Williams defeating Barnes to capture the USBC Masters title in January of 2004, the last time the event was contested at the 78-lane Stadium.

"I feel really good right now, and a nice long week like this with a lot of games was definitely beneficial for me," said Barnes, who was down 54 pins to reigning PBA Player of the Year Wes Malott earlier in the day and tossed one of the tournament's two perfect games to escape with a 730-698 victory. "I didn't bowl well at all last week, so it was good to bowl so many games and get through the pressure situations you tend to get with this format."

Three weeks ago, Barnes finished second to Kelly Kulick at the PBA Tournament of Champions. He also started the season with a runner-up finish to Williams at the Motor City Open, so he's motivated to reach the winner's circle. A win at the Masters would help Barnes accomplish one of his three major career goals.

"There are three things I'd really like to accomplish - winning the Masters, winning the World Championship and being PBA Player of the Year again," Barnes said. "If I get those three things on my career checklist, I think it would put me alongside some great company."

Sunday will mark the third consecutive time Williams has made the Masters finals at the Stadium. In 2003, he finished second to Bryon Smith of Roseburg, Ore., before topping Barnes a year later.

On the way to this year's show, Williams averaged 235.2 and compiled a 5-1 match-play record.

"I was pretty comfortable all week, but if I'm going to win, I've got to bowl a lot better than I did tonight," said Williams, who owns seven major titles. "First, I've got to beat a left-hander, and then I have to beat Chris. The left-hander is going to have a game behind him, so I'll have to figure out something that works for me and I'm comfortable with so I can throw a lot of strikes. I think I'm going to need them."

Joining Barnes and Williams on the show will be a pair of left-handers, No. 3 seed Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and No. 4 Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, the 2005 Masters champion. Ciminelli will be making his third TV appearance of the year, while Scroggins, the winner at the Pepsi Red, White and Blue Open presented by the USBC in December, makes his second.

The field at the 2010 Masters included 267 competitors vying for the $50,000 top prize and two-year PBA Tour exemption.


2010 USBC MASTERS
At National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev.


TELEVISION FINALS
(ESPN, Sunday, 3 p.m. EST)
Match 1: No. 3 Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., vs. No. 4 Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas

Match 2: No. 2 Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., vs. Match 1 winner

Championship match: No. 1 Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, vs. Match 2 winner


MATCH PLAY
Friday's results
Double elimination, three-game matches decided by total pinfall
(Name/hometown followed by three-game pinfall total.)

ROUND 2 WINNERS BRACKET

(13) Rick Steelsmith, Wichita, Kan., def. (1) Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 760-676
(25) Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., def. (9) Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 655-622
(19) Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., def. (35) Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 734-594
(11) Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, def. (59) Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 662-640

(14) Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y., def. (2) Jason Belmonte, Australia, 666-649
(42) Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., def. (26) Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., 604-552
(4) Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, def. (52) Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., 661-639
(8) Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, def. (56) Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 700-630


ROUND 3 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,300)

(40) Dan Bock, Albert Lea, Minn., def. (29) Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 642-592
(3) Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., def. (17) Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 740-628
(41) Jonathan Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., def. (33) Tony Reyes, San Bruno, Calif., 634-600
(57) Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., def. (5) Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 678-640

(48) Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., def. (28) Dave Wodka, Chatsworth, Calif., 599-574
(22) Andres Gomez, Colombia, def. (51) John May, Lincolnton, N.C., 731-594
(54) Erik Vermilyea, Mansfield, Texas, def. (50) PJ Haggerty, Clovis, Calif., 622-549
(58) Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., def. (18) Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 617-593


ROUND 4 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $2,800)

Kent def. Bock, 618-609
Belmonte def. P.Allen, 695-601
Smallwood def. Van Hees, 611-590
Loschetter def. Angelo, 702-686

Weber def. Newell, 712-687
Gomez def. Carter, 663-627
Vermilyea def. Boresch Jr., 659-590
Edwards def. Bohn III, 707-646


ROUND 4 WINNERS BRACKET

O'Neill def. Steelsmith, 650-623
Williams Jr. def. Scroggins, 778-595
Ciminelli def. Ciccone, 694-594
Barnes def. Malott, 730-698


ROUND 5 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $3,300)

Belmonte def. Kent, 643-609
Smallwood def. Loschetter, 681-593
Weber def. Gomez, 675-592
Edwards def. Vermilyea, 672-657


ROUND 6 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $4,000)

Belmonte def. Malott, 610-574
Scroggins def. Smallwood, 607-544
Weber def. Ciccone, 692-601
Edwards def. Steelsmith, 704-654


ROUND 5 WINNERS BRACKET

Williams Jr. def. O'Neill, 714-669
Barnes def. Ciminelli, 711-635


ROUND 7 LOSERS BRACKET
(Losers eliminated, earn $5,000)

Scroggins def. Belmonte, 662-615
Edwards def. Weber, 699-695


ROUND 8 LOSERS BRACKET
(Winners advance to TV show; Losers eliminated, earn $7,000)

Scroggins def. O'Neill, 716-649
Ciminelli def. Edwards, 685-636


ROLL-OFF FOR TOP SEED
(Winner takes top seed, loser takes second seed)

Barnes def. Williams Jr., 712-612


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Loschetter No. 1 as Field of 64 Heads into Double-Elimination Match Play in USBC Masters

by Jason Thomas February 11, 2010 09:47

By Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications


RENO, Nev. - Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, maintained his lead at the United States Bowling Congress Masters and now is in familiar territory heading into the double-elimination match-play portion of the event.

The 29-year-old right-hander, Wednesday's second-round leader, finished qualifying Thursday with a 15-game total of 3,498, an average of 233.2, to lead the field of 267 of the best professional and amateur bowlers in the world at the 78-lane National Bowling Stadium. He earned the top seed for double-elimination match play, which begins at 7 p.m. EST today.

Loschetter will be joined in match play by 62 other qualifiers and defending champion John Nolen of Grand Blanc, Mich. The 64 bowlers will compete to determine the four players who will advance to Sunday's championship round, which will be televised live on ESPN at 3 p.m. EST. The winner will take home $50,000 and a two-year Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour exemption.

"I've had a great reaction all week, and I feel like I'm throwing it well, but it's a whole new tournament now," said Loschetter, who also earned top-qualifier honors at the 2007 Masters. "At this point, I can't worry about trying to beat my opponent, no matter who it is. I'm just going to focus on keeping my shoulder loose, and if I do what I've been doing, I think I'll be tough to beat." More...

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