Not So Deep Thoughts

by Randy Peterson November 7, 2007 19:00
By Randy Pedersen

Well, bowling fans, he’s done it again. The greatest bowler in the history of the sport has won for the 43rd time. Now don’t get me wrong, I know how good the late Mr. Anthony was. Earl completely dominated the sport like no other back in the '70s and early '80s. Then this skinny kid from Pomona came along and won his first Player of the Year award in 1986. THAT’S RIGHT, 21 years ago.

Now, I know that some of us feel that Earl has 43 titles, not 41. Remember, Earl won two Masters titles. At that time, they didn’t count as a PBA title and now they do. So let’s just say WRW Jr. and Earl Anthony are now tied. Walter Ray is 48 years old. How much gas is left in the tank? Well, I think he’ll win 50 titles before he’s done. He’s gone through a multitude of transitions in our sport: bowling ball technology, lane surface changes, format changes, it just doesn’t matter. I remember when reactive resin first came out, some guys on Tour said the only reason he was doing so well was because of the equipment. HA!!!! I hope those boys have finally figured it out.

On Sunday’s show, it looked like WRW’s ball reaction was so bad he couldn’t beat me. Weak 10 after weak 10, his ball was coming back with dental floss on it… yeah a lot of plaque. Jeff Lizzi was going to beat WRW by 40 pins, and then the 4-9 split in the eighth frame. Jeff came back and struck in the ninth. Now the stage was set, WRW could throw three strikes in the 10th and force Jeff to strike on the first ball. It was almost like a locomotive light in the distance on a dark foggy night. You could see it coming for miles. WRW strikes out, Jeff leaves a 10-pin, final score: WRW 217, Lizzi 215. WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? Jeff bowled a great game, WRW’s ball was hitting like a wet noodle, the enigma continues.

Then in the title match, McCune’s ball was hitting twice as hard as WRW’s. He bowled a big semifinal game against Mika Koivuniemi. On Walter Ray’s first ball: weak 10. Surely this time he wouldn’t escape with victory. What kind of adjustment did the greatest bowler in the world make between the semifinal and final match? Apparently none. Final score: WRW 214, McCune 194.

It’s a crazy game. Remember last week at the Masters? Walter Ray lost with a 240 game. This week, on a very scoreable oil pattern, his high game for the show is 217 and he wins for the 43rd time.

I think Earl and Walter Ray were a lot alike. Both guys relied on accuracy and shot making. That’s how Earl was able to lead tournaments by hundreds of pins when no other lefty cashed. That’s why Walter Ray is always in contention. Two guys who are the greatest the sport has ever seen: one righty, one lefty; both players who hit a target and rely on shot making; not big giant hook balls. Yet every young player in the world wants to hook the ball from gutter to gutter. Go figure.

Earl Anthony will never be forgotten, along with other greats like Dick Weber and Don Johnson, just to name a few. Walter Ray will be remembered as the winningest player and the greatest the sport has ever known. It has been an honor to have been able to compete and bowl along side the above mentioned names.

Now let’s segue to something a little more light hearted. I have started an instructional book. I’ll be sharing chapters each and every week.

Chapter 1: How to Effectively Nose Grease Your Opponent’s Thumb Hole to Maximize Earnings.

That’s all for now folks. See ya on Sunday.

Read more "Not So Deep Thoughts" by Randy Pedersen:
Dydo Japan Cup

USBC Masters
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Simply the Best

by PBA Editor November 3, 2007 19:00
They’re both in their 40s and both two of the game’s greatest champions. On Sunday, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard showed they’re as good as they’ve ever been.

Williams set a Denny’s PBA Tour record with a title in his 15th consecutive season and captured his 43rd career title, defeating Eugene McCune, 214-194, to win the 2007 Motor City Classic at Taylor Lanes.

Dorin-Ballard, meanwhile, won the first ever PBA Women’s Series event, which is sponsored by the USBC, defeating top-seed Missy Bellinder, 233-192. The four-event series featuring 16 women is running in conjunction with Denny’s PBA Tour events.

The 48-year-old Williams is the Tour’s all-time titles leader and Sunday won his first title since breaking Earl Anthony’s all-time record in September of 2006. Dorin-Ballard, 43, won 20 titles on the now-defunct Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Tour. She joined the PBA in 2004 and was the first woman to bowl a 300 game in a PBA event.

Williams barely escaped his semifinal match against Dorin-Ballard’s brother-in-law, Jeff Lizzi, 217-215. Lizzi had control of the match until leaving a 4-9 in the eighth frame, giving Williams an opening. After leaving his fifth 10-pin of the match in the ninth frame, Williams came through with three strikes, forcing Lizzi to strike with his first ball in the 10th. This time, the 10-pin bit Lizzi, and Williams escaped.

In the title match, Williams again fell behind, this time to Eugene McCune, who defeated Williams in the title match of the 2002 Banquet Classic for his only career title. Williams trailed by one-pin for most of the match until McCune left a 5-7 in the ninth frame. Williams struck in the eighth and ninth frames and converted his ninth 10-pin in the 10th to clinch the win.

“It was a real grind. I had a good look to the pocket but unfortunately it was a blah look because I kept leaving 10-pins,” Williams (Ocala, Fla.) said. “I really felt like I bowled much better games than my scores indicated, but that’s part of the game. Fortunately my opponents didn’t throw a lot of strikes. Jeff threw a good shot in the 10th that didn’t carry and Eugene threw a great game but that split gave me an opportunity, and I just needed a mark. Fortunately, I had a lot of practice picking up 10-pins all day.

“If someone had told me ‘you’re going to shoot 217-214 and win,’ I’d have laughed at them.”

Dorin-Ballard had an easier route to the title, striking in four of the first five frames and never looking back. She had help from Bellinder, who was never able to string two strikes together until the match was decided.

“It’s overwhelming,” Dorin-Ballard (N. Richland Hills, Texas) said. “We’ve been off now for four years and I didn’t think we’d see the day where there would be any type of tour for us again. I consider myself very lucky to be the first Women’s Series champion.”

Williams earned $25,000 for his win while Dorin-Ballard pocketed $10,000. McCune who advanced to the title match with a 246-221 win over Mika Koivuniemi, earned $13,000. Koivuniemi and Lizzi took home $6,000 each for third and fourth, respectively, and Bellinder earned $6,000 for her runner-up finish.

The Denny’s PBA Tour and PBA Women’s Series move to Cheektowaga, N.Y., for the 2007 Etonic Championship, Nov. 7-11, at AMF Thruway Lanes. The nationally televised ESPN finals take place Sunday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. EST.

The win was Williams' third at Taylor Lanes. He also won the 2002 Greater Detroit Open and the 2003 World Championship at the center.

Denny’s PBA Tour
2007 Motor City Classic
Taylor Lanes
Taylor, Mich.
Sunday, Nov. 4


Pos.Name, hometownTotal/GamesMoney
1.Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla.431 (2 games$25,000
2.Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind.440 (2 games)$13,000
3.Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich.221 (1 game)$6,000
4.Jeff Lizzi, Sandusky, Ohio215 (1 game)$6,000

SCORES – In the first match, Williams def. Lizzi, 217-215; in the second match, McCune def. Koivuniemi, 246-221; and in the final, Williams def. McCune, 214-194.

This is Williams’ 43rd career Denny’s PBA Tour title. He also broke a PBA record with a title in his 15th consecutive season.

PBA Women’s Series
2007 Motor City Classic
Taylor Lanes
Taylor, Mich.
Sunday, Nov. 4


Pos.Name, hometownTotal/GamesMoney
1.Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, N. Richland Hills, Texas233 (1 game)$10,000
2.Missy Bellinder, Fullerton, Calif.192 (1 game)$6,000

SCORES – Dorin-Ballard def. Bellinder, 233-192.

This is Dorin-Ballard’s first PBA Women’s Series title.
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A Family Affair

by PBA Editor November 1, 2007 19:00
Friday night was a memorable night for the Dorin-Lizzi-Ballard family.

As the Denny’s PBA Tour and the brand new PBA Women’s Series come together for the first time, the merger of men’s and women’s bowling is paying big dividends for Jeff Lizzi and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, the brother- and sister- in law who both made the championship round of their respective tournaments in the 2007 Motor City Classic at Taylor Lanes.

Dorin-Ballard, whose sister Cathy is married to Lizzi, a Denny’s PBA Tour titlist, nearly fired a 300 game in finishing off Liz Johnson, four-games-to-none, to advance to the finals in the first PBA Women’s Series event.

With the aid of a 279-215 win over Johnson in game four, Dorin-Ballard (N. Richland Hills, Texas) proved she is taking her dominance from the now-defunct Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Tour, where she won 20 titles, to the all new women’s mini-tour, which is being sponsored by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC).

Her brother-in-law, Jeff, will be the feel-good story of Sunday’s finals as the non-exempt bowler advanced to his first championship round since 2003. Lizzi, who has not bowled full-time in many years, will look for his first title since the 1992 Brunswick Memorial World Open which came in his first career championship round. Should Lizzi win the title, he would break the record for most time between Denny’s PBA Tour titles.

“The last five years I’ve just bowled the events that are close to home. In fact, the last time I bowled a PBA event was last year in Grand Rapids where I was in the same position, bowling Danny Wiseman in the World Championship for a spot on the show,” Lizzi (Sandusky, Ohio) said. “I wasn’t going to bowl this week but my wife entered me in the event. I didn’t know if I wanted to but she said ‘Come on, it’s only an hour and a half away.’ Thank god she did. Hopefully I can finish it out.”

Lizzi will have the unenviable task of facing all-time Denny’s PBA Tour titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr., who defeated fellow PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber, 4-0. Williams has now won six consecutive matches against Weber over the last three seasons, a streak that included his record-tying and record-breaking titles in the 2006 Denny’s World Championship and the Dydo Japan Cup 2007, respectively.

Williams has been a thorn in Weber’s side throughout their 25 years on Tour together, compiling an 8-2 record on television against the 34-time champion, which includes a 5-0 record in title matches.

“I think about it a lot,” Williams said about his advantage over Weber. “From my end, it’s awesome. Pete is one of the greatest players in the world and for whatever reason I’ve got his number badly.”

Williams (Ocala, Fla.) escaped a tough battle with Tommy Delutz Jr. in the Round of 16, winning in a game seven roll-off after they tied at 268 in the deciding game. After both players struck with their first four shots in the roll-off, Williams struck again while Delutz left a solid 10-pin to give Williams the 50-49 roll-off victory.

The winner of the Lizzi-Williams match will face either Eugene McCune (Munster, Ind.) or Mika Koivuniemi, who both won their Round of 8 matches, 4-2. McCune, who defeated Mike DeVaney, will look for his second career title while Koivuniemi (Hartland, Mich.), who took down Chris Loschetter, will be vying to become the first two-time winner in 2007-08.

Dorin-Ballard, meanwhile, will face top-seed Missy Bellinder. Bellinder (Fullerton, Calif.) is the only woman ever to win two PBA Regional Tour events.

The live ESPN-televised finals take place Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. EST at Taylor Lanes. The two men’s semifinals take place first followed by the women’s title match, which will award the winner $10,000. The men’s title match follows with the winner taking home $25,000 and an exemption for the 2008-09 season.
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Bellinder Leads First Block

by PBA Editor October 31, 2007 19:00
Though she will be competing with her fellow female bowlers four out of the next five weeks, Missy Bellinder knows her experience bowling against the men will come in handy in this year’s PBA Women’s Series.

Bellinder took the lead after the first block of the Round of 16 in the first-ever PBA Women’s Series event, finishing the first seven games with a 1,677 seven-game pinfall and a 239.57 average in the 2007 Motor City Classic Women’s Series at Taylor Lanes.

The 25-year-old was the first woman to join the PBA when the Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) folded in 2003. She has gone on to make history bowling against the men, becoming the first woman to win two PBA Regional Tour events.

Bellinder finished 10th in the PBA Women’s Tour Trials this summer, which ran in conjunction with the U.S. Women’s Open, a United States Bowling Congress (USBC) event. The finish gave her one of 16 exemptions for the new PBA Women’s Series, which features four events over the next five weeks, all of which run concurrently with Denny’s PBA Tour events.

“Bowling with the men has definitely helped me,” Bellinder (Fullerton, Calif.) said. “The experience I gained in regionals of knowing how the guys break down the lanes and knowing how the lanes transition makes a big difference, especially because we’re crossing with them during qualifying.”

On Thursday, Bellinder started strong with a 258 but dipped down to a 198 in game two. She then shot 264 and 258 over the next two games but a 185 in game five dropped her back down in the standings. She finished strong with a 236 and a 278 in the final two games to take the lead.

“I’m pretty comfortable out there. I wasn’t looking at the scoreboard at all and was just focusing on what I was doing and taking it one shot at a time,” Bellinder said. “I’ve worked hard knowing we only have four tournaments. It’s going to be exciting. We have something to bowl in and that’s awesome.”

Two other women who have made history bowling alongside the men sit second and third in the standings. Liz Johnson, a pioneer who was the first woman to advance to a Denny’s PBA Tour event, the first woman to make a championship round in a Denny’s PBA Tour event, and the first women to win a PBA Regional Tour event, is second with 1,651. Kelly Kulick, who last season became the first woman to earn a full-season exemption on the Denny’s PBA Tour, is third with 1,649. Johnson (Cheektowaga, N.Y.) and Kulick (Union, N.J.) also won both women’s Major events this summer with Kulick taking the USBC Queens and Johnson recently winning the U.S. Women’s Open.

Amy Stolz (Castle Rock, Colo.) is fourth with 1,537 while 20-time PWBA champion Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (N. Richland Hills, Texas) is fifth with 1,528.

All 16 bowlers return tonight at 5 p.m. EST for another seven-game block after which the field will be cut to the top 8. The final two will bowl for the $10,000 top prize at Taylor Lanes live on ESPN on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. EST.
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Malott, Bellinder Lead First Block

by PBA Editor October 31, 2007 19:00
Wes Malott knows if he’s going to win the coveted PBA Player of the Year award at any point in his career, it’s not going to be a result of his performance in the Round of 64 or in match play.

Still, Malott continues to show he’s one of the most consistent bowlers week in and week out on the Denny’s PBA Tour, taking the lead with a 1,732 seven-game pinfall and a 247.43 average after the first block of the Round of 64 in the 2007 Motor City Classic at Taylor Lanes.

Last season, Malott led the Tour in match play appearances and championship round appearances and finished first in the PBA World Point Rankings, but was just third in the 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year voting after winning just one title. This season, he knows it’s all about what he does on Sundays.

“Not winning Player of the Year last year wasn’t based off my performances throughout the week. The thing I have to work on is once I get to TV, I need to do a better job of understanding the moves, the lights and the heat that the TV show creates,” Malott (Argyle, Texas) said. “It’s a totally different ball game. I just have to learn how to play the lanes and understand what balls I’m going to need. It’s another learning curve of being a professional bowler out here.”

The two-time Denny’s PBA Tour titlist, who finished seventh in last week’s 2007 USBC Masters, was a model of consistency on Thursday, never shooting a game below 223. He finished with games of 277 and 259 to take the lead. He has a history of starting each season strongly, winning the third event of the 2005-06 season and the sixth event last season.

“The summer time allows me to get my body refreshed and get on top of my game,” said Malott, whose wife, Maryiedth gave birth to the couple’s second son this summer. “As the season goes on, it’s tough to be out here physically and mentally. You have to stay on top of your game and I’m going to try and get home a lot over this season, especially with the new baby and because Jordan just started tee ball. I don’t want to miss out on some of those special moments. That’s going to help me rebound week after week.”

All-time Denny’s PBA Tour titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. (Ocala, Fla.) is second after seven games with 1,719 while 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones (Simpsonville, S.C.) is third with 1,708. Mike Edwards (Tulsa, Okla.) who advanced to the championship round in last season’s Motor City Classic, is fourth with 1,685 while 22-year-old Edward VanDaniker Jr. (Essex, Md.) is fifth with 1,658. VanDaniker advanced from Wednesday’s Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round.

Defending champion Tony Reyes (San Bruno, Calif.) is right on the cut line in 32nd with 1,535. The top 32 advance to Friday’s match play.

All 64 bowlers return tonight at 5 p.m. EST for another seven-game block after which the field will be cut to the top 32. The final four bowlers will advance to Sunday’s live ESPN-televised finals at 1 p.m. EST at Taylor Lanes. The winner will take home $25,000 and a one-season Denny’s PBA Tour exemption.

To read the Women's Series story click here
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