PBA stars from around the world are heading east for a three-tournament PBA International-World Bowling Tour series, beginning with the H.H. Emir Cup, which is underway at Qatar Bowling Centre in Doha, Qatar, and ends Friday. The Qatar event will be followed by the Kingdom of Bahrain Open at Ozone Entertainment Centre in Manama, Bahrain, March 2-7, and the Brunswick Euro Challenge at Dream Bowl Palace in Munich, Germany, March 14-22.
Fans can follow the H.H. Emir Cup and Bahrain Open on the Asian Bowling Federation website: http://abf-online.org/. Brunswick Euro Challenge results will be available on its website: http://brunswickeurochallenge.com/.
Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, is defending champion in the Emir Cup, but he won’t be on hand to defend his title after a series of weather-related airline postponements forced him to cancel his travel plans. Shaker Al Hassan of the United Arab Emirates won the 2014 Bahrain title. Eventual PBA Rookie of the Year Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., is defending Brunswick Euro Challenge champion. Kent won the 2014 event as an amateur.
Heading into the three-tournament swing, Barrett is the WBT men’s points leader in the two-year, rolling points system, with 588 points. Mike Fagan is second with 582 points. Kelly Kulick is the WBT women’s points leader with 698 points, comfortably ahead of fellow American Liz Johnson (559).
“JACK RABBITS” PBA LEAGUE BOWLING BALL DEBUTS THIS WEEK
Number four in the continuing series, Concrete Software will debut the “virtual” Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits PBA League team ball into the PBA Bowling Challenge game on Thursday (Feb. 26). PBA League-logoed team balls for gaming play currently available to PBA Bowling Challenge players include the Dallas Strikers ball, GEICO New York WTT KingPins ball and the Silver Lake Atom Splitters ball. The remaining four PBA League balls will be added to the PBA Bowling Challenge arsenal, one a week, leading up to the PBA League Elias Cup competition March 28-29 at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.
PBA League-logoed balls can be used by more than 12 million people who play PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game on a regular basis. The PBA Bowling Challenge by Concrete Software app is available on Google Play, Apple iOS, Amazon App Store and Nook.
PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: BLANCHARD HOLDS OFF AMATEUR LOW FOR SUTTER CREEK TITLE
Josh Blanchard of Gilbert, Ariz., defeated 17-year-old amateur Wesley Low Jr. of Palmdale, Calif., 235-224, to win the PBA West Region’s Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort Championship at Gold Country Lanes in Sutter Creek, Calif., Sunday.
Along with his seventh PBA Regional title, Blanchard earned $2,500. Low, who became the youngest player ever to win a PBA Regional in a PBA Challenge event at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas two years ago at age 15, earned $1,300 for his SMART scholarship account. The two-handed left-hander also bowled the only 300 game of the tournament.
PBA Regional Challenge events are open only to players who have not won a PBA event.
● In an all-Baker title match, PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker of King, N.C., defeated Stoney Baker of Canton, Ga., 192-188, 173-243, 256-230, in the best-of-three-game title match to win his 31st PBA Regional title in the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota Southern Open presented by Ebonite at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., Sunday.
Tom gained the advantage in game one before Stoney found his shot in game two and tied the match. Tom got lined up in game three, winning the title and the $2,300 first prize while Stoney pocketed $1,200 as the runner-up. The Bakers are not related.
● Kyle Bigelow of Troy, Ohio, defeated amateur Ari Wilson of University Park, Ill., 257-218, to win his first title in the PBA Lynwood Bowl Midwest Challenge presented by Roto Grip at Lynwood Bowl in Lynwood, Ill., Sunday.
Bigelow earned $1,500 along with his title. PBA Challenge events are open to players who have never won a PBA title. Bigelow defeated Gerald Marrs of Huntley, Ill., 229-223, and Wilson edged Mitchell Kratic of Whiting, Ind., 203-177, in the semifinal round to set up the championship match.
● Wichita State University star Matt McNiel of Chanhassen, Minn., defeated Kris Koeltzow of Wheat Ridge, Colo., 213-201, to win the $2,500 first prize in the third annual PBA Lakewood Storm Southwest Open at Holiday Lanes in Lakewood, Colo., Sunday.
After rallying in the final two games of the casher’s round to grab the 12th and last spot in the single-elimination match play finals, McNeil eliminated fellow amateur Rick Shafer of Arvada, Colo., 2-1; George Brooks of Loveland, Colo., 2-0, and Jason Duran of Littleton, Colo., 228-227, to advance to the title match. McNiel doesn’t receive credit for a PBA title because he is not a member.
Koeltzow got to the title match by eliminating Ed Petrie from Clint, Texas, 2-0; PBA Hall of Famer Brian Voss, now living in Centennial, Colo., 2-0, and Scott Christensen of Evergreen, Colo., 266-156, in his semifinal match.
● As PBA Regional players continue their pursuit of season-long points championships in their respective regions, which will mean berths in the PBA Regional Challenge Finals along with paid entries into PBA World Series of Bowling VII at South Point in Las Vegas, a busy March schedule of PBA Regional activity gets started Feb. 27-March 1 with the PBA50 Pensacola (Fla.) South Open at New Liberty Lanes.
● The March 6-8 regional calendar includes the PBA50 Victory Lanes Central Open presented by 900 Global in Galion, Ohio; the Sunday-only PBA50 Thunderbowl Midwest Open presented by Hammer in Council Bluffs, Iowa; and the PBA West/Northwest Sands Regency Winter Challenge, Winter Classic and PBA50 Winter Classic at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno.
● The March 13-15 PBA Regional schedule includes only one event – the joint PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open presented by Track in Virden, Ill.
● A heavy slate of PBA Regional action is on tap over the March 20-22 weekend, including the PBA50 Fayetteville (N.C.) Open at Lafayette Lanes; the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Open in Elmira, N.Y.; the joint PBA Trumbull County Tourism Bureau Central/East Open presented by DV8 at Bell-Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio; the PBA Odessa (Texas) Southwest Open at Astro Bowl; the PBA50 Boys & Girls Club Midwest/Central Open presented by MOTIV at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville, Ill., and the PBA Caveman Bowl Northwest/West Open in Grants Pass, Ore.
● Wrapping up the March PBA Regional schedule over the 27-28 weekend will be the PBA50 Tony Grigat Allstate Midwest/Central Open presented by DV8 at Willowbrook Lanes in Willowbrook, Ill.
For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area.
● A commemorative special edition “Jason Belmonte USBC Masters Three-Peat” t-shirt is now available through the official online PBA Store. Click on the “Shop” link on pba.com or click here: (https://www.kotisdesign.com/estore/landing.asp?estore=pbastore).
● For a preview video for Sunday’s Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship finals on ESPN, click here: http://youtu.be/xzquWhtBZHI. The Roth-Holman Doubles Championship telecast airing at 1 p.m. Sunday on ESPN will include top qualifiers Norm Duke and Wes Malott, the defending champions, along with teams of Dino Castillo and Tom Daugherty, Jason Belmonte and Bill O’Neill, DJ Archer and Shawn Maldonado, and Dom Barrett and Osku Palermaa.
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