Carter Tops Weber for First PBA Title in GEICO Plastic Ball Championship

by PBA Editor February 21, 2009 19:00
Jeff Carter of Springfield, Ill., ended his 122-tournament quest for his first Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title Sunday, defeating his idol, Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., 235-213, to win the GEICO Plastic Ball Championship at Brunswick Zone-Wheat Ridge.
 
Carter, 39, threw six strikes in a row after an opening-frame spare to build a 56-pin lead after five frames and he easily held off Weber to win the $25,000 first prize, a one-year exemption to bowl on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour next season, and a berth in the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions.
 
The tournament was contested with throw-back polyester bowling equipment that dominated the sport in the 1970s, providing a challenge similar to requiring professional golfers to play an entire tournament using persimmon woods, or tennis players to compete with wooden rackets and cat-gut strings.
 
With the entire field using identical low-tech bowling balls, the emphasis was on accuracy, speed control and hand action at the point of release. Carter – a contemporary power player – didn’t expect to do well when he entered, but he found the equipment limitations actually worked in his favor.
 
“This tournament took some variables out of play that I’ve struggled with in the past,” Carter said. “I just put my game into slow motion and went from there.
 
“Bowling against Pete was indescribable,” Carter continued, adding with a grin: “Actually, bowling him for the title made it easier. He’s my friend. He’s also one of my heroes. I’ve dreamt about bowling him for my first title. Today that dream came true.”
 
Carter also said that Weber had made a reference before the title match that seeing Carter vs. Weber on the scoreboard was special. Pete was referring to memories of his late father Dick Weber’s close relationship to fellow Budweiser teammate and hall of famer Don Carter. Jeff Carter is not related to Don, but the symbolism wasn’t lost on him.
 
“Who would have thought it would come down to Carter vs. Weber for my first title,” Carter said. “Who could ask for anything better?”
 
In the first semifinal round match, Weber followed an open frame and spare with eight consecutive strikes to defeat Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 269-226. In the second semifinal match, Carter fell behind when he left and failed to convert the 4-6-7-9-10 “Greek church” in the fifth frame, but struck on six of his next seven shots for a 220-191 victory over Michael Fagan of Patchogue, N.Y.
 
The Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour now moves to Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis for the Etonic Marathon Championship where an open field of competitors will bowl 54 games on six different lane conditioning patterns. The third stop on the PBA Tour’s “Extreme Swing” gets underway on Tuesday. ESPN will televise the finals next Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern.
 
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA TOUR
GEICO PLASTIC BALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Brunswick Zone-Wheat Ridge, Wheat Ridge, Colo.
 
Championship
Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill. ($25,000) def. Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo. ($13,000), 235-213
 
Semifinal Round
Match One – Weber def. Barnes ($6,000), 269-226
Match Two – Carter def. Fagan ($6,000), 220-191
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Barnes, Weber and Plastic Equipment Match Up in PBA GEICO Plastic Ball Championship

by PBA Editor February 19, 2009 19:00
It has been a long time since reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Chris Barnes and PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber have used a plastic bowling ball on a regular basis for other than spare shooting. But they got the most out of that technology Friday when both bowlers advanced to Sunday’s finals of the PBA GEICO Plastic Ball Championship at Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge.
 
Barnes, who is looking for his first win of the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season, defeated Mike DeVaney of San Diego, 4-1 in the Round of 8 best-of-seven match to advance to the finals. He had games of 279, 279, 279, 230 and 257.
 
“The last time I used a plastic ball on a regular basis was at the American Bowling Congress Tournament in 1992 and I shot an 800 series with it,” said Barnes, who owns 10 PBA Tour titles. “Under any circumstances my primary adjustment is speed and release which is particularly critical when you are using plastic equipment.”
 
For today’s match play competition all players continued to use identical plastic bowling balls as will the four finalists for Sunday’s ESPN finals which will get underway at 1 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Mountain). The concept of having all competitors use identical equipment for this event is to level the playing field from an equipment standpoint.
 
“For the TV finals adjusting your speed will be especially important because there will be more carry down (lane conditioner moving down the lane),” Barnes continued. “But there is one advantage--there won’t be a lot of decisions to make in what equipment to use.”
 
Weber, who is making his second television appearance of the season having previously made the finals when he finished third in the recent Denny’s Dick Weber Open, defeated Jack Jurek of Lackawana, N.Y., 4-3 to advance to the finals. Weber said it has been at least 20 years since plastic equipment was the mainstay of his arsenal.
 
“I like the format and would have had a lot of fun even if I didn’t make the finals,” said Weber who is tied for third with Mark Roth in career Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour titles with 34. “Using this equipment really made you focus plus you had to have a lot of breaks. You had to make the right adjustments to keep from hitting the pocket like a 6-pound ball.”
 
Joining Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, and Weber, St. Ann, Mo., in the finals will be Jeff Carter of Springfield, Ill., who is looking for his first PBA Tour title and Michael Fagan of Patchogue, N.Y., who hopes to win his first individual PBA Tour title. Fagan, who won the PBA Exempt Doubles Classic with Danny Wiseman last season, finished second to Norm Duke in the Denny’s Dick Weber Open.
 
The GEICO Plastic Ball Championship is part of the PBA’s 50th Anniversary season “Extreme Swing,” which also includes the Ultimate Scoring Championship, Etonic Marathon Open, Don Johnson Buckeye State Eliminator and the GoRVing Match Play Championship. 
 
 
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA TOUR
GEICO Plastic Ball Championship
Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge – Wheat Ridge, Colo.
Match Play Standings (Best 4 of 7 Games), Money for Non-Finalists
 
Round of 8
#8 Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, def. #1 Mike DeVaney $4,100, San Diego, 4-1
#6 Michael Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., def. #14 Brian Voss $4,100, Kennesaw, Ga., 4-3
#15 Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., def. #7 Robert Smith $4,100, Columbus, Ohio, 4-3
#4 Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., def. #28 Jack Jurek $4,100, Lackawanna, N.Y., 4-3
 

Round of 16
#8 Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, def. #9 Jason Couch $2,700, Clermont, Fla., 4-2
#15 Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., def. #2 Jason Belmonte $2,700, Australia, 4-1
#6 Michael Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., def. #22 Ryan Shafer $2,700, Horseheads, N.Y., 4-2
#4 Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., def. #20 Brian Kretzer $2,700, Dayton, Ohio, 4-0
#28 Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., def. #21 Ronnie Russell $2,700, Indianapolis, 4-0
#14 Brian Voss, Kennesaw, Ga., def. #3 Edward VanDaniker Jr. $2,700, Essex, Md., 4-0
#7 Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, def. #10 Tommy Jones $2,700, Simpsonville, S.C., 4-1
#1 Mike DeVaney, San Diego, def. #16 Nathan Bohr $2,700, Wichita, Kan., 4-2

Round of 32
#1 Mike DeVaney, San Diego, def. #32 Patrick Allen $2,200, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 4-2
#2 Jason Belmonte, Australia, def. #31 Billy Oatman $2,200, Chicago, 4-3
#3 Edward VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., def. #30 David Williams Jr. $2,200, Omaha, Neb., 4-2
#4 Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., def. #29 Tom Hess $2,200, Urbandale, Iowa, 4-0
#28 Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., def. #5 Joe Ciccone $2,200, Buffalo, N.Y., 4-1
#6 Michael Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., def. #27 Michael Machuga $2,200, Erie, Pa., 4-2
#7 Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, def. #26 Dave D'Entremont $2,200, Middleburg Heights, Ohio, 4-0
#8 Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, def. #25 Brad Angelo $2,200, Lockport, N.Y., 4-1
#9 Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., def. #24 Steve Harman $2,200, Indianapolis, 4-1
#10 Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., def. #23 Mike Edwards $2,200, Tulsa, Okla., 4-3
#22 Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., def. #11 Sean Rash $2,200, Wichita, Kan., 4-3
#21 Ronnie Russell, Indianapolis, def. #12 Bill O'Neill $2,200, Southampton, Pa., 4-1
#20 Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, def. #13 Mike Wolfe $2,200, New Albany, Ind., 4-1
#14 Brian Voss, Kennesaw, Ga., def. #19 Mitch Beasley $2,200, Puyallup, Wash., 4-1
#15 Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., def. #18 Jason Sterner $2,200, McDonough, Ga., 4-1
#16 Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., def. #17 Walter Ray Williams Jr. $2,200, Ocala, Fla., 4-3

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Mike DeVaney Leads After Round of 64 Qualifying at PBA GEICO Plastic Ball Championship

by PBA Editor February 18, 2009 19:00
In a tournament where all competitors are required to use identical plastic bowling balls, Mike DeVaney of San Diego and two-handed bowling star Jason Belmonte of Australia, are the leaders after Round of 64 qualifying Thursday in the PBA GEICO Plastic Ball Championship at Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge.
 
DeVaney leads with a 3,348 14-game pinfall (239.1 average) just eight pins ahead of Belmonte in second with 3,340.
 
The concept of requiring players to use identical plastic bowling balls for this tournament is designed to provide an even playing field from an equipment standpoint.
 
“I normally use 8-10 balls in a normal week,” said DeVaney, who owns one Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title. “I used one ball all day today. The transition of oil is more consistent over time -- I only moved a total of six boards today between the two squads.”
 
Belmonte’s previous best finishes on the PBA Tour were a 10th in the PBA World Championship and a 15th place finish in the recent Denny’s Dick Weber Open.
 
“I was very happy to sneak in through the rabbits (PBA Tour Qualifying Round) and very happy to be in this position,” said Belmonte. “Truth be told, the first few shots in each round I threw too hard.  For this pattern you had to slow ball speed down.”
 
“Plastic” polyester balls like the ones featured in the Plastic Ball Championship are almost exclusively used for spare shooting due to the balls’ tendency to go straight on the majority of today’s lane conditions. However, they were at the forefront of ball technology in the 1970s and early 80s. Today’s most popular bowling balls are composed of resin with exotic weight blocks, which enhance the balls’ ability to hook.
The top 32 players will now move into best-of-seven game matches on Friday until the final four are remaining for the ESPN finals airing Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Mountain).
 
PBA Hall of Famer Brian Voss and 2009 USBC Masters champion John Nolen were given commissioner’s exemptions into the tournament with Voss advancing to the Round of 32 by finishing 14th in qualifying while Nolen failed to advance finishing 45th.
 
The GEICO Plastic Ball Championship is part of the 50th Anniversary season “Extreme Swing,” which also includes the Ultimate Scoring Championship, Etonic Marathon Open, Don Johnson Buckeye State Eliminator and the GoRVing Match Play Championship. The creative format events are meant to test the greatest bowlers in the world in different areas of the game, provide television audiences with a fresh look while providing education on pertinent aspects of the game.
 
 
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA TOUR
GEICO Plastic Ball Championship
Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge – Wheat Ridge, Colo.
Qualifying Round Standings (14 Games), Money for Non-Qualifiers
Top 32 Advance to Match Play
1, Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 3,348
2, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,340
3, Edward VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., 3,290
4, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,260
5, Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y., 3,257
6, Michael Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 3,234
7, Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, 3,203
8, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,195
9, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 3,182
10, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,178
11, Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan., 3,177
12, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 3,170
13, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 3,166
14, Brian Voss, Kennesaw, Ga., 3,163
15, Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill., 3,142
16, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 3,141
17, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 3,136
18, Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 3,131
19, Mitch Beasley, Puyallup, Wash., 3,122
20, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 3,118
21, Ronnie Russell, Indianapolis, 3,101
22, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,099
23, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 3,094
24, Steve Harman, Indianapolis, 3,092
25, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 3,081
26, Dave D'Entremont, Middleburg Heights, Ohio, 3,059
27, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 3,058
28, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 3,049
29, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 3,045
30, David Williams Jr., Omaha, Neb., 3,039
31, Billy Oatman, Chicago, 3,033
32, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 3,028
33, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 3,025, $1,800
34, Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C., 3,023, $1,800
35, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 3,022, $1,800
36, Todd Book, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 3,006, $1,800
37, George Lambert IV, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 3,002, $1,800
38, Andrew Cain, Scottsdale, Ariz., 2,989, $1,800
39, Jason Lundquist, Delaware Water Gap, Pa., 2,968, $1,800
39, Tony Reyes, San Bruno, Calif., 2,968, $1,800
41, Ken Simard, Greenville, S.C., 2,959, $1,800
42, Craig Tuholski, Washougal, Wash., 2,953, $1,800
43, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 2,944, $1,800
44, Chester Rogers Jr., Milwaukie, Ore., 2,934, $1,800
45, John Nolen, Waterford, Mich., 2,920, $1,800
46, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 2,907, $1,800
47, Troy Wollenbecker, Miami, 2,895, $1,800
48, Brian LeClair, Athens, N.Y., 2,888, $1,800
49, Joe Bailey, Pittsburgh, 2,885, $1,800
50, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 2,871, $1,800
51, Ken Abner, Cincinnati, 2,857, $1,800
52, Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill., 2,848, $1,800
53, Terrance Reeves, Valrico, Fla., 2,844, $1,800
54, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 2,840, $1,800
55, Danny Wiseman, Baltimore, 2,838, $1,800
56, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 2,825, $1,800
57, Chad Kloss, Greenfield, Wis., 2,811, $1,800
58, David Traber, Hebron, Ill., 2,796, $1,800
59, Mike Keily, Lakewood, Colo., 2,788, $1,800
60, Tom Baker, King, N.C., 2,776, $1,800
61, John Slavich IV, Schaumburg, Ill., 2,756, $1,800
62, Randy Weiss, Columbia, S.C., 2,754, $1,800
63, Kris Koeltzow, Wheat Ridge, Colo., 2,634, $1,800
64, Chris Wimpey, Aurora, Colo., 2,614, $1,800
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Two-Handed Star Jason Belmonte Advances to PBA GEICO Plastic Ball Championship Round of 64

by PBA Editor February 17, 2009 19:00
Finishing ninth in the PBA GEICO Plastic Ball Championship Pro Tour Qualifying Round Wednesday with a 1,507 seven-game total, two-handed bowling sensation Jason Belmonte of Australia is among the nine players who will advance to the event’s Round of 64.
 
The international star has received much media attention as a result of his 10th place finish in the season-opening PBA World Championship on the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour. Recently, Belmonte enjoyed a 15th place performance in the Denny’s Dick Weber Open in Fountain Valley, Calif. He was featured in prominent stories in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Good Morning America.
 
David Williams Jr. of Omaha, Neb., rolled a 1,680 seven-game total Wednesday to top the 79-player non-exempt TQR field competing for the nine berths at Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge.
 
In addition to Belmonte and Williams the top finishers in the Tour Qualifying Round advancing to the Round of 64 are: Troy Wollenbecker, Miami, Fla., 1,645; Mike Keily, Lakewood, Colo., 1,603; George Lambert IV, Canada, 1,595; amateur Kris Koeltzow, Wheat Ridge, Colo., 1,589; John Slavich, Schaumburg, Ill., 1,527; Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 1,520, and Chris Wimpey, Aurora, Colo., 1,509.
 
The 64-player field, which begins Round of 64 competition on Thursday, will now be required to use identical plastic balls throughout the rest of the event.
 
The concept of having the players use identical equipment is similar to that of the former International Race of Champions auto racing series where all competitors drove identically-prepared cars.
 
Competition continues through Friday to determine the four finalists who will compete in the ESPN-televised finals Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Mountain).
 
The GEICO Plastic Ball Championship is the 15th stop on the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour.
 
GEICO Plastic Ball Championship
Wheat Ridge, Colo.
PBA Tour Qualifying Round Standings
1, David Williams Jr., Omaha, Neb., 1,680
2, Troy Wollenbecker, Miami, Fla., 1,645
3, Mike Keily, Lakewood, Colo., 1,603
4, George Lambert IV, Canada, 1,595
5, Kris Koeltzow, Wheatridge, Colo., 1,589
6, John Slavich IV, Schaumburg, Ill., 1,527
7, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 1,520
8, Chris Wimpey, Aurora, Colo., 1,509
9, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 1,507
10, P.J. Haggerty, Clovis, Calif., 1,502, $1,000
11, Ryan Abel, Bel Aire, Kan., 1,501, $633
11, Frank Guccione, Castle Rock, Colo., 1,501, $633
11, Brett Cooper, Aurora, Colo., 1,501, $633
14, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,497, $390
14, Tom Crites, Loveland, Colo., 1,497, $390
16, Marc Scherlis, Littleton, Colo., 1,494, $360
17, Tyler Jensen, Keller, Texas, 1,490, $340
18, Jim Pratt, Glendale, Ariz., 1,488, $320
19, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 1,487, $300
20, Don Patterson, Loveland, Colo., 1,476
21, Dru Hylen, Longmont, Colo., 1,463
22, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,452
23, Humberto Vazquez, San Pedro, Mexico, 1,446
24, Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 1,437
25, George Brooks, Aurora, Colo., 1,432
26, Daryl Stone, Westminster, Colo., 1,423
27, Scott Myers, Thornton, Colo., 1,421
28, Mike Lewellen, Scotts Bluff, Neb., 1,417
29, Tom Sorce, Blasdell, N.Y., 1,413
29, Dennis Samsel, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1,413
31, Keith Odette, Waipahu, Hawaii, 1,408
32, Ricky Schissler, Henderson, Colo., 1,406
33, Jason Poole, Aurora, Colo., 1,403
34, John Cicero, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1,402
35, Robert Carlson, Littleton, Colo., 1,401
36, Rudy Kasimakis, Baldwyn, Miss., 1,396
37, James Johnson, Arvada, Colo., 1,389
38, Matt Freiberg, Somerset, N.J., 1,377
39, M. Shane McCrary, Silt, Colo., 1,373
40, Donald Barry Jr, Omaha, Neb., 1,370
41, Kevin Pickett, Mechanicsville, Va., 1,368
42, Scott Durham, Springfield, Ill., 1,356
43, Jim Tomek Jr., Camp Hill, Pa., 1,346
44, Amy Stolz, Castle Rock, Colo., 1,342
45, Wayne Stellick, Aurora, Colo., 1,325
46, Robert Henle, Bailey, Colo., 1,321
47, Paul Kreins, Edmonds, Wash., 1,319
48, Chad Lusche, Arvada, Colo., 1,315
49, Michael Honeyman, Westminster, Colo., 1,306
50, Lawrence Marquez, Lakewood, Colo., 1,299
51, Paul Stolz, Castle Rock, Colo., 1,295
52, Dennis Sandoval, Thornton, Colo., 1,294
53, Tish Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1,292
54, George Eason, Fort Collins, Colo., 1,290
55, Ben Kreins, Lakewood, Colo., 1,287
56, Zachary Lewis, Thornton, Colo., 1,278
57, Marco Popovich, Greenwood Village, Colo., 1,276
58, Shawn Lee, Centennial, Colo., 1,265
59, Brian Hayes, Lakewood, Colo., 1,264
60, Walter Schaub II, Schaumburg, Ill., 1,262
61, Ron Hosler, Denver, 1,258
62, Ed Hurley, Aurora, Colo., 1,232
63, Everett Lontine Jr, Basalt, Colo., 1,216
64, Mark Payne Sr, Amarillo, Texas, 1,213
65, Michael Reichstein, Agoura Hills, Calif., 1,196
66, Eric Failer, Littleton, Colo., 1,190
67, Michael Smith, Aurora, Colo., 1,185
68, Michael Vasquez, Longmont, Colo., 1,184
69, Jacob Cooper Jr., Aurora, Colo., 1,170
70, Ed Hawkins, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, 1,166
71, Nick Miller, Elgin, Ill., 1,159
72, Larry Snodgrass, Lubbock, Texas, 1,145
73, Darrin Cisar, Grand Jct., Colo., 1,142
74, Adam Miller, Littleton, Colo., 1,140
75, Henry Moralez, Denver, Colo., 1,129
76, Frank Kebis, Denver, 1,105
77, Ron Pendergraft, Wheat Ridge, Colo., 1,083
78, Bobby Dunsworth, Augusta, Kan., 1,081
79, Craig Carpenter, Westminster, Colo., 1,039
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PBA Tour Returns to Denver Area for GEICO Plastic Ball Championship

by PBA Editor February 16, 2009 19:00
Perhaps the most anticipated and certainly the most controversial event in this 50th Anniversary season of the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour is the first-ever GEICO Plastic Ball Championship to be held at Brunswick Zone in Wheat Ridge, Colo., Feb. 18-22.
 
Debates in the bowling world rage on as to what bowling styles and players will succeed in this radical departure from the usual, generally unlimited equipment rules. In the Plastic Ball Championship, each of the 64 players in the main draw will be given two identical, unmarked plastic bowling balls with pancake weight blocks, branded only by the PBA 50th Anniversary logo.
 
“Plastic” polyester balls like the ones that will be used in this tournament are used today almost exclusively for spare shooting due to the balls’ tendency to go straight on the majority of today’s lane conditions. Plastic was the most popular form of bowling ball in the 1970s and early 80s. Today’s most popular bowling balls are composed of resin with exotic weight blocks, which enhance the balls’ ability to hook.
 
“Having all the players in a PBA Tour event use the same, low technology bowling ball could be likened to the International Race of Champions auto racing series where all drivers compete in identical cars,” said PBA Chief Operating Officer Tom Clark. “Normally, those same bowlers choose from hundreds of bowling balls of different makes and models with varying characteristics.”
 
Because all of the exempt players seeded into the main draw of 64 qualified by virtue of their success in tournaments with unlimited bowling ball technology, the event’s Tournament Qualifying Round will be contested with normal, unlimited technology (as always, equipment must be PBA product registered), on the traditional Cheetah lane pattern. Another reason for the TQR being a separate tournament not limited to plastic balls is the main draw event will use just one exact replica ball, which is impossible to do in the TQR. Also, if the TQR players’ personal plastic balls were the only balls allowed in the TQR, there would be the potential for dramatic inequality from ball to ball.
 
The 64 players, including the players who emerge from the TQR, will be distributed their plastic balls for use for the first time in the Wednesday afternoon practice session. The lane condition will be a modified Cheetah pattern, utilizing less volume of oil yet the same shape as the Cheetah, which is the shortest pattern in the PBA stable of sport-compliant lane conditions.
 
Players will be granted the same rules for drilling options and surface manipulation of the bowling balls as they are typical weeks, meaning that while the balls will be identical in composition and color, there will be the opportunity for diversity of ball reaction. While the players will be given two plastic balls initially, they will have the option of drilling more than two over the course of the event. The players will not be permitted to take the plastic balls out of the bowling center.
 
While some fans and experts expect experienced players who had success in the plastic ball era such as Pete Weber to rise to the top, others lean towards accurate players who have succeeded in many eras such as Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Parker Bohn III, while some think younger players with incredibly high revolution rates such as Tommy Jones will excel.
 
The 64 players in the main draw will bowl 14 games of qualifying on Thursday before the top 32 are set off into brackets for single elimination, best-of-seven game matches on Friday until the final four are remaining for the ESPN finals airing Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. Eastern.
 
The GEICO Plastic Ball Championship is part of the 50th Anniversary season “Extreme Swing,” which also includes the Ultimate Scoring Championship, Etonic Marathon Open, Don Johnson Buckeye State Eliminator and the GoRVing Match Play Championship. The creative format events are meant to test the greatest bowlers in the world in different areas of the game, provide television audiences with a fresh look while providing education on pertinent aspects of the game.
 
At the end of the five-week swing, the top eight points leaders from those events will automatically be entered into the Six Flags Shootout this summer in New Jersey. Points from the Plastic Ball Championship also count towards Player of the Year and PBA points lists, and the winner earns a one-year exemption.
 
On the Plastic Ball show, the final four players, who normally use the most modern technology, will have time to describe the bowling balls they more typically would have been using that week. A feature story on the evolution of bowling balls will educate viewers of the ESPN show as well.
 
Most bowling Web site message boards have been buzzing about the GEICO Plastic Ball Championship ever since it was announced before the season began. Now all that’s left is the answer to the question most asked on those message boards: Who will win?
 
The GEICO Championship marks the PBA Tour’s return to the Denver area after a three-year absence. Wes Malott of Plugerville, Texas won the Mile High Classic conducted in Lakewood, Colo., in the 2005-06 season.
 
Learn from the pros following the live ESPN finals on Sunday Feb. 22 starting at 2 p.m. Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge will play host to the Brunswick Zone Mini Camp featuring instruction from the world’s best professional bowlers.
 
Bowling fans will also have two opportunities to participate in Pro-Ams at Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge. Pro-Am squads are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 18 and 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. on Feb. 21. For more information on the Brunswick Zone Mini Camp or Pro-Am information call (303) 467-7989.
 
 
LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PBA TOUR
GEICO Plastic Ball Championship Schedule
Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge, Wheat Ridge, Colo.
 
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2009
8 a.m. – 3 p.m. - Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour Qualifying Round (7 games total pins)
4:30 – 6 p.m. - exempt player practice
Pro-Am: 7 p.m.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2009
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. - Round of 64 (7 games of qualifying, all bowlers advance)
5 – 9 p.m. / Round of 64 (7 games of qualifying, cut to top 32 players)

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2009
9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Round of 32 (Best 4 of 7)
2 – 5 p.m. - Round of 16 (Best 4 of 7)
7 – 10 p.m. - Round of 8 (Best 4 of 7, Final Four advance to ESPN finals)

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2009
PBA Pro-Am Events and Fan Day
Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge, Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Pro-Am Times: 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m.

Sunday, February 22, 2009
Live ESPN Television Finals, 1 p.m. Eastern, 11 a.m. Mountain Time
2 – 4 p.m. – Brunswick Zone Mini Camp
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