2015 PBA League Draft Set for Live Xtra Frame Coverage on October 31

by Bill Vint August 28, 2014 08:58

SEATTLE – Who will be the first player selected when the Professional Bowlers Association conducts its 2015 PBA League Draft on Friday, Oct. 31, during the PBA World Series of Bowling VI? Reigning Player of the Year Jason Belmonte? Hall of Famer Pete Weber? A left-hander, right-hander, budding future star?

A live international audience watching the third annual PBA League draft on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame, will be the first to know as eight team managers select all-new team rosters in preparation for the PBA Tour’s first-ever visit to the state of Maine.

The eight-team PBA League will compete in two days of team competition for delayed telecast on ESPN on Saturday and Sunday, March 28-29, at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.

The PBA League in 2015 will feature the same eight teams it fielded during its first two seasons, but the only thing about the teams that will remain the same is their names and team managers. After a random draw to determine the draft order, managers will fill their rosters with five players who will compete in Maine in two days of intense competition featuring Baker-format elimination rounds leading to the Elias Cup Finals. The Elias Cup will be decided by points earned in singles, doubles, trio and Baker team matches.

Highlights of the 2015 program include:

● The 2015 draft will be held on Friday, Oct. 31, during PBA WSOB VI at South Point in Las Vegas and carried live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel. Team managers will be: Mark Baker (defending Elias Cup champion Silver Lake Atom Splitters), Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (GEICO New York City WTT KingPins), Johnny Petraglia (Brooklyn STyLES), Norm Duke (Dallas Strikers), Tim Mack (Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits), Jason Couch (Philadelphia Hitmen), Andrew Cain (L.A. X) and Del Ballard Jr. (Barbasol Motown Muscle).

● Players eligible for the 2015 PBA League Draft will be the top 50 in PBA Tour competition points between the 2013 World Series of Bowling V and the 2014 Oklahoma Grand Casino and Resort Summer Swing, plus any player who was on a PBA League roster for 2014, but didn’t qualify based on points (see the complete draft-eligible player list below).

● For the draft, eligible players will be ranked based upon their position on the points list. The first player elected by each team must be taken from the group of players ranking 1-10 on the points list. The second player drafted will come from the group ranked 11-20 in points, plus any undrafted players from group one. The third player drafted will come from those ranked 21-30 in points. The fourth player will come from those ranked 31-40 in points, and the fifth player will come from the players ranked 41-50 and previous team members not among the points leaders. Players undrafted in each round will be eligible in the following round, expanding the pool of players as each round continues. The draft exception will be Dallas player-manager Norm Duke, who finished 39th on the points list, will draft himself in the fourth round.

● The only draft-eligible woman on the list is Colombia native Clara Guerrero, who last year became the third woman in history to bowl in a nationally-televised final when she qualified for the PBA Cheetah Championship stepladder in WSOB V, eventually finishing fourth.

● Draft-eligible players must declare their desire to participate in the PBA League. Players may begin declaring for the draft on October 1. The deadline to declare is October 15.

● A random draw will determine the team draft order. The draft will then be conducted in “serpentine” format whereby Team No. 1 will pick first in the first round and last in the second round, and Team No. 8 will pick last in the first round and first in the second round, etc.

In the 2015 PBA League playoffs, players will compete for a projected $250,000 in prize money.

The three-day visit to Portland will include a day of practice and pro-am activity where Maine adult, youth and senior league bowlers will have a chance to bowl with the stars of the PBA, followed by two days of Baker-format team competition for delayed telecast on ESPN. The quarterfinal round will include four best-of-two-game Baker team matches, with all five players bowling two frames per game. The four winning teams will advance to the two-game, Baker format semifinal round which will produce two winners to bowl for the Elias Cup.

The Elias Cup will be decided based upon total pinfall for a singles match (with 10 bonus pins to the winner), alternate-shot doubles match (15 bonus pins), trios match (20 bonus pins) and five-player Baker team match (50 bonus pins).

● ESPN will televise the PBA League quarterfinal, semifinal and Elias Cup Finals on four consecutive Sundays, March 29, April 5, 12 and 19.

2015 PBA LEAGUE SCHEDULE

Friday, October 31
PBA League Draft, South Point Bowling Center, Las Vegas (live coverage on Xtra Frame)

Competition Schedule, Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine
Friday, March 27
9 a.m. – Practice Session
Tba – Pro-Am squads

Saturday, March 28 (best of two games, Baker format; one-ball roll-off breaks ties)
Noon – Quarterfinal Match One: Team 1 vs. Team 8
    Quarterfinal Match Two: Team 5 vs. Team 4
4:30 P.M. – Quarterfinal Match Three: Team 2 vs. Team 7
    Quarterfinal Match Four: Team 6 vs. Team 3

Sunday, March 29
Noon – Semifinal Match One: Winner Match One vs. Winner Match Two (best of two games, Baker format; one-ball roll-off breaks ties)
    Semifinal Match Two: Winner Match Three vs. Winner Match Four (best of two games, Baker format; one-ball roll-off breaks ties)
4:30 p.m. – Elias Cup Finals: Winner Semifinal One vs. Winner Semifinal Two, total pinfall (singles, 10 bonus pins; alternate-shot doubles, 15 bonus pins; trios, 20 bonus pins; Baker team, 50 bonus pins)

2015 PBA LEAGUE DRAFT-ELIGIBLE LIST
(based upon PBA Tour competition points earned between 2013 WSOB IV and 2014 PBA Summer Swing)

PBAL Group One
1, Jason Belmonte, 138,842
2, Dom Barrett, 101,973
3, E.J. Tackett, 71,757
4, Sean Rash, 69,465
5, Wes Malott, 67,665
6, Tom Smallwood, 64,909
7, Pete Weber, 62,824
8, Bill O'Neill, 61,324
9, Chris Barnes, 60,008
10, Ryan Ciminelli, 55,551

PBAL Group Two
11, Tommy Jones, 49,557
12, Mike Fagan, 47,609
13, Ronnie Russell, 40,795
14, Dick Allen, 38,557
15, Mika Koivuniemi, 38,312
16, Chris Loschetter, 37,853
17, Dan MacLelland, 33,955
18, Stuart Williams, 33,396
19, Tom Daugherty, 29,836
20, Josh Blanchard, 28,529

PBAL Group Three
21, Dave Wodka, 27,129
22, Martin Larsen, 26,777
23, Michael Haugen, 26,634
24, Thomas Larsen, 25,653
25, Parker Bohn, 25,579
26, D.J. Archer 25,070
27, Brian Valenta, 24,034
28, Brian Kretzer, 22,806
29, Shawn Maldonado, 22,190
30, Nathan Bohr, 22,054

PBAL Group Four
31, Jake Peters, 21,780
32, Jason Sterner, 21,759
33, Tom Baker, 21,546
34, Ryan Shafer, 21,386
35, Walter Ray Williams Jr., 21,186
36, Lee Vanderhoef, 21,054
37, Scott Norton, 20,717
38. Patrick Allen. 20.600
39, Norm Duke, 20,543
40, John Szczerbinski, 19,444

PBAL Group Five
41, Eugene McCune, 19,387
42, Craig Nidiffer, 18,826
43, Bryon Smith, 18,218
44, Osku Palermaa, 17,076
45, Rhino Page, 16,860
46, Dino Castillo, 16,684
47, Clara Guerrero, 16,262
48, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, 15,726
49, Jesse Buss, 15,168
50, Andres Gomez, 15,067

Draft Eligible (2014 PBAL team member)
53, Michael Machuga, 14,279
57, Mike DeVaney, 13,035
63, Amleto Monacelli, 11,337
77, Mike Scroggins, 9,262

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PBA Spare Shots: Osku Palermaa Wins WBT Thailand; World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Fields Set for World Series

by Bill Vint August 28, 2014 03:27

Finland’s Osku Palermaa defeated top seed Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, New York, 227-213, 243-224, on Monday at Blu-O Paragon in Bangkok to win the WBT Thailand, the final PBA International-World Bowling tournament prior to the PBA World Series of Bowling VI in Las Vegas Oct. 24-Nov. 2.

Palermaa, who won $32,350 and his fourth PBA Tour title, had to defeat Ciminelli twice to claim the title. After entering the stepladder finals as the No. 3 qualifier, Palermaa defeated South Korea’s Suh Sang Cheon, 224-206, and Naif Oqab of UAE, 234-191, to advance to the final match.

The WBT Thailand also was the final qualifying event for the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals, presented by PBA, that will be contested during WSOB VI at South Point Bowling Stadium for telecast on ESPN. Finnish-American star Mika Koivuniemi retained his No. 1 position on the two-year, rolling WBT points list, finishing with 567 points. He will bowl against the winner of a match between Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., the No. 2 qualifier and defending WBT Men’s Finals winner vs. No. 3 Jason Belmonte of Australia in Las Vegas. The WBT Women’s Finals will include top qualifier and defending champ Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, meeting the winner of a match between No. 2 Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, New York vs. No. 3 Sandra Andersson of Sweden.

WBT Thailand drew a field of 102 players from around the world, including a number of PBA members. England’s Dom Barrett finished sixth, earning $2,903, and Jason Sterner of Covington, Georgia, was seventh for $2,742. Marshall Kent of Tacoma, Washington; Stuart Williams of England; Rash; Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas; Martin Larsen of Sweden, and Koivuniemi all finished in the group that earned $2,258 each. Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, and Kulick were among the players who cashed for $1,613.

The next tournament in the cooperative PBA International-World Bowling series will be the WBT Ballmaster Open in Helsinki, Finland, Jan. 6-11.

PBA WORLD SERIES VI FIELD IS SOLD OUT; STANDBY NAMES BEING ACCEPTED

As expected the 240-player field for PBA World Series of Bowling VI, set for Oct. 24-Nov. 2 at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas, has been filled and names for the standby list are now being accepted. Vacancies will be filled on a first-come basis.

The 2014 WSOB field includes players from a record-tying 21 different countries including first-time representatives from Belgium, the British Virgin Islands, China and Latvia. The preliminary list of countries represented includes Argentina (1), Australia (5), Bahrain (1), Belgium (1), Bermuda (2), British Virgin Islands (2), Canada (3), China (6), Colombia (9), Denmark (2), Ecuador (3), England (5), Finland (2), Germany (3), Ireland (1), Japan (5), Latvia (1), Mexico (2), Sweden (8), Venezuela (10) and the United States (168).

The field also includes eight PBA Hall of Famers Tom Baker, Parker Bohn III, Jason Couch, Norm Duke, Amleto Monacelli, Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Danny Wiseman.

WENDELL, HARDEE LOCK UP PBA WOMEN’S REGIONAL BERTHS IN WORLD SERIES

Kristina Wendell of Poughkeepsie, New York, and Christina Hardee of Mount Dora, Florida, have locked up the first two of seven PBA Women’s Regional berths for the World Series of Bowling’s PBA Women’s Regional Finals. They will be joined by PBA Japan Region women’s points leader Yuka Tsuchiya in the eight-player match play competition on Friday, Oct. 24, to determine the two PBA Women’s Regional representatives who will bowl on the PBA Challenge special event on ESPN on Sunday, Nov. 2, at South Point Bowling Stadium in Las Vegas.

Wendell, 30, clinched her spot Sunday in the Mil-Ray Foods Eastern Open at Brunswick Zone Deptford, N.J. She finished 54th in the male-dominated field in Deptford, but advanced to the finals in the other two PBA East Region events she entered.

Hardee, also 30, locked up her WSOB entry and PBA Women’s Regional Finals berth in the Fayetteville South Open at Lafayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C., Sunday.

“I was lucky enough to win the ladies points in the South and will be getting to go the WSOB,” Hardee said. “This will also be my first time seeing Vegas and even getting on an airplane. I know I have been living in a cave.”

Qualifying events for women are still underway in the PBA’s Southwest, Central, Midwest, West and Northwest Regions. For detailed information on qualifying events, visit pba.com and click on the PBA Women’s Regional Tour link under the Schedules tab.

PBA REGIONAL SUMMARY: CARUSO PULLS OFF “SUPER” VICTORY IN PBA EAST REGION

“Super Senior” Bob Caruso of Dayton, New Jersey, outscored Danny Wiseman of Baltimore by 43 pins over 17 games to win the PBA Mil-Ray Foods Eastern Open presented by Columbia 300 at Brunswick Zone Deptford, New Jersey, on Sunday.

Caruso, who joined the PBA in 1985, turned 60 years of age earlier this year, making him eligible to earn Super Senior prizes in PBA50 events. Last fall, Caruso announced he would be limiting his participation to the PBA50 events plus a few close-to-home standard regionals.

He had never finished higher than third place in more than 100 standard regionals prior to turning 50 10 years ago. Caruso won a PBA50 regional title in 2010 but figured he would never be in contention for a standard title again. After qualifying second in Deptford on Saturday, and holding his position after the 12-game cut on Sunday, he moved into the lead after the 15-game cut and held on over the final two games to defeat Wiseman, a PBA Hall of Famer.

Caruso earned $2,300 for the victory while Wiseman earned $1,200 as the runner-up. William Barlow of Bel Air, Maryland, who rolled the event’s only 300 game, earned $1,000 for finishing third. 

Amateur Jack Ness of Lake Wylie, North Carolina defeated Chris McSwain of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, 244-180, 247-230, in a best-of-three-game title match to win the PBA Fayetteville South Open at Lafayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C., on Sunday.

The win was Ness’ second this year (he also won in Gastonia, North Carolina in June), but he doesn’t get an official title because he is a non-member. He earned $2,400 for the win.

Two-handed competitor Shawn Maldonado from Houston, Texas, dominated the field to win the PBA Greenville Southwest Open, presented by allBowling.com, Sunday at Shenaniganz in Greenville, Texas. The victory made Maldonado the PBA Southwest Region’s first two-time winner in 2014.

Maldonado took a 201-pin advantage over Andy Patterson from Tyler, Texas, into position round and won by 108 pins after Patterson toppled Maldonado, 289-182, in their position round match. Maldonado collected the $2,500 winner’s prize. 

In the PBA Women’s Regional competition held as part of the Greenville tournament, Colombia’s Clara Guerrero led the three women entered, finishing ninth and earning $640.

PJ Haggerty of Roseville, California, posted a 7-5 match play record and a 20-game total of 4,747 pins to win his eighth PBA Regional title in the PBA West/NW Capital City Open hosted by Steve Cook’s Fireside Lanes Sunday in Citrus Heights, California.

Haggerty, who earned $2,500, defeated Michael Haugen Jr. of Phoenix, by 117 pins. Haugen had an 8-4 match play record and 4,630 pins.

In the companion PBA50 Open, Kevin Croucher of Grants Pass, Oregon, went 8-4 and knocked down 4,438 total pins for 20 games to top Ron Mohr of Las Vegas by 11 pins for his eighth PBA50 regional title and $1,500.

In the first of three PBA West/Northwest Region Women’s Regional Finals qualifying events, Lindsay Boomershine of Brigham City, Utah, led a field of 10 women, finishing in 12th place for $500.

● The extended Labor Day weekend includes another full schedule of events, including the PBA50 Wilson & Sons Termite Pest Control Super Senior Open (for players 60 and older) followed by the PBA50 Mooresville South Open at George Pappas’ Victory Lanes in Mooresville, N.C.; the Tony Reyes Memorial Member/Non-Member Doubles presented by Brunswick at Fourth Street Bowl in San Jose, Calif., and the BOWLSTRONG Midwest/Central Challenge (for non-winners) plus the BOWLSTRONG Midwest/Central Tournament of Champions (for PBA title winners) at King Pin Lanes in Springfield, Ill.

Kicking off the September schedule will be the PBA50 Kingsport Super Senior South Open for players 60 and older at Warpath Lanes in Kingsport, Tenn., Sept. 2-4, followed by Sept. 5-7 weekend events including the Moon City Central Classic presented by Roto Grip at Astro Lanes in Wapakoneta, Ohio; the Grand Hotel, Casino & Resort Southwest Invitational at Firelake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla. (featuring live Xtra Frame coverage); the PBA50 Howell Lanes East Open in Howell, N.J.; the Rufus West Open presented by Columbia 300 at FlipSide Lanes in Gilbert, Ariz., and a pair of one-day PBA50 events presented by Ebonite at Illinois Valley Super Bowl in Peru, 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.

QUICK NOTES

Xtra Frame, the PBA’s online bowling channel, will be on hand for the PBA Grand Hotel, Casino and Resort Southwest Regional Invitational from Shawnee, Okla., Sept. 5-7, and the Diamond Jo’s Casino Midwest Open at Diamond Jo’s Cherry Lanes in Dubuque, Iowa, Sept. 13-14. The Dubuque event will be the second of three PBA Women’s Regional events in the Midwest Region.

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Barb Wilt Retires After 44-Year Career of Service to PBA and its Members

by Jerry Schneider August 26, 2014 09:33

 

In the 56-year history of the PBA, there is no one who has personally experienced as much of the history and evolution of the sport’s professional organization than Barb Wilt, who will bring her 44-year career with PBA to an end when she retires on Aug. 31.

Wilt began her career with PBA in a clerical position in July 1970 when PBA’s offices were located on Merriman Road in Akron, Ohio, and there were just five people working in the office. Over the next 44 years, she created a legacy of service to the organization and its members.

“It’s impossible to thank Barb Wilt enough for her professionalism, reliability and talent over an amazing career with PBA,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “Without ever having thrown a ball in competition, Barb has been the heart of the association and no one has meant more to the enduring history of the PBA.”

It was an employment agency newspaper ad and an opportunity to work in public relations that peaked Wilt’s interest in working with PBA.

“I saw this ad in the paper for a job at the PBA which included working in public relations among other things, so I went to the employment agency and applied, and they sent me for an interview,” said Wilt. “I met with Joe Antenora (who was director of operations and later commissioner) and (financial director) Chuck Clemens and they contacted me a couple of days later with an offer. I paid Snelling and Snelling $250 for helping me get the job and they were kind enough to let me take out a loan and I made monthly payments of $25 to pay off the fee.

“By the way,” Wilt added jokingly, “public relations meant running press releases on the mimeograph machine and stuffing them in envelopes and then mailing them.”

She may have been disappointed with that PR job, but there was no shortage of things to do as the organization grew. Wilt was called on to handle assignments in membership and tournament entries among other jobs which became increasingly important with the development of the senior and regional tours.

“I processed all PBA Tour entries and payments and sent all mailings to the membership and media,” she said. “Later, I became involved in keeping tournament and player stats in our database which is something I have been doing ever since I started.

“I’ve seen so many things and had the pleasure of meeting so many people. It doesn’t seem possible; I mean, who thinks when they walk into an office on the first day that they’ll still be there 44 years later?”

Wilt wasn’t a stranger to bowling when she applied to work with PBA which no doubt led to her interest in the job at the PBA. She lived near a bowling center in Akron as a kid.

“The first director of operations at the PBA was Danny Mitseff whose father owned Bories Bowland which was at the end of my street when I was in junior high,” said Wilt. “In the summer we would go down there to get out of the heat. One dollar could get your rental shoes, two games, a Coke and a Kit Kat candy bar. Pop Mitseff wanted you to bowl when you came into his establishment so I was fortunate to be taught how to bowl correctly by Danny’s father when I was 12 years old.”

Another interesting part of her experience with PBA was not actually working for PBA at all, but helping PBA founder Eddie Elias with some of his projects.

“Eddie (Elias) who was an agent and manager who represented people in entertainment and sports. He would get scripts and unpublished books from people all the time and he would pay me on the side to read them and tell him what I thought,” she said. “His administrative assistant (Rainy Stitzlien) also had a boutique attached to our building and she sold furs and other high-end clothing. Once I got asked to try on clothes and model them because actor Bernard Fox, who played Colonel Crittenton on the TV series Hogan’s Heroes and Dr. Bombay on Bewitched, wanted to buy something for his wife. I had a build similar to hers.

“Since Eddie’s company was in the same building, you didn’t just work for the PBA but for Eddie Elias Enterprises and for Rainy’s company as well. I got to meet movie and TV stars, professional golfers, and, of course, the greatest bowlers in the world.”

As a nearly lifelong bowling fan, Wilt also was excited with the opportunity to meet and work with the world’s greatest bowlers who were made famous on ABC telecasts of the PBA Tour.

“I always loved bowling,” she said, “I watched it on ABC before I started working at PBA, so I was really excited to get to meet all the bowlers. I’ve been blessed to know the Weber family and all the truly great bowlers who have come and gone over the years and to watch some of our current champions grow up and become successful. One project that was really closed to my heart was getting the opportunity to teach and be part of the PBA School.

“More recently, seeing PBA’s growth internationally, changes in technology and to see people like Jason Belmonte and Osku Palermaa revolutionizing the sport with their two-handed delivery have kept working with PBA very interesting to me.”

Now in retirement, Wilt will continue what might be her most important job of all – as a grandmother – to eight-month-old Will when she moves across country to Asheville, North Carolina to be closer to her daughters Angie and Amanda (who lives in Carrollton, Ga.) and their families. She also plans to do some volunteer work with the Asheville Humane Society.

If there was one guiding principle that guided Wilt throughout her career it was the dedication to customer service.

“I would often get the same question a hundred times, but I had to make each person or player feel like they were getting the best part of me and they were getting the best service possible,” she said. “You have to always remember that these were people who cared a lot about the sport and it was their passion, and in many cases their dream.”

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PBA Moves Administrative Headquarters to Chicago as of September 2

by Bill Vint August 26, 2014 04:56

SEATTLE – Effective September 2, the Professional Bowlers Association will enter into a shared services agreement with Luby Publishing, publisher of Bowlers Journal International and other periodicals, and move its operational headquarters to Luby’s home in Chicago, Commissioner Tom Clark announced today.

The move, Clark said, is designed to improve the organization’s operational efficiencies, taking advantage of Luby Publishing’s expertise in membership services. The PBA will sub-lease space in the Luby Publishing offices and use Luby’s staff for many of the PBA’s day-to-day operational needs. The PBA will retain its IT staff and services in Seattle.

“The PBA has been a pioneer in the virtual office arena ever since it moved its administrative office from Akron, Ohio, to Seattle in 2000,” Clark said. “The organization has successfully functioned with key staff members living in areas across the United States ever since. We anticipate there will be no major change in the way we do business other than having a new mailing address.”

Putting the PBA and Luby Publishing together in the same office space unites two of the oldest business entities in the sport. Luby began publishing Bowlers Journal magazine in 1913; the PBA has provided competitive opportunities for the best bowlers in world and mass-media coverage for the sport since 1958.

"We are happy to assist the PBA by sharing our office, as well as in sharing some of the operational duties to the benefit of both companies," said Keith Hamilton, president of Luby Publishing. “The processing of the PBA memberships is nearly the same as the processing of circulation for LPI's magazines.”

As of September 2, the PBA’s mailing address will be: PBA, 55 East Jackson Ave., Suite 401, Chicago, IL 60604. The PBA office phone numbers will remain the same: 206-332-9688 (fax: 206-332-9722).

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PBA Spare Shots: WBT Thailand to Determine World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finalists

by Bill Vint August 21, 2014 08:12

The final qualifying event to determine the top three players for the 2014 World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by PBA is underway in Thailand. The two-year rolling WBT points competition will be complete when the WBT Thailand at Blu-O Paragon in Bangkok ends on Monday, Aug. 25.

In both situations, defending WBT Thailand and WBT Men’s champion Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., is the player to watch.

Rash, an eight-time PBA Tour titlist, defeated Finnish-American star Mika Koivuniemi, 235-225, 245-228, to win the 2013 WBT Thailand title (Koivuniemi was top qualifier, so Rash had to beat him twice). After winning in Thailand, Rash defeated Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas, to win the WBT Men’s Finals during WSOB V. But he’s at risk of not qualifying for the 2014 finals.

Heading into the Thailand event, the WBT Men’s Finals field was a toss-up. Koivuniemi leads the men’s points list with 555 points, 17 points ahead of Australia’s Jason Belmonte (538). Rash is third with 534 points – four points behind Belmonte – but only 27 points ahead of England’s Dom Barrett (507). Barrett is the only other player with a mathematical chance to break into the top three.

With 50 points awarded to the winner in Thailand, a win by any of the four contenders would shake up the final standings for the WBT Men’s Finals, which will be contested (along with the women’s finals) over the Nov. 1-2 weekend during PBA WSOB VI at South Point in Las Vegas.

The top two berths in the women’s finals are decided. Defending WBT Women’s Finals winner Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., has clinched the No. 1 berth with 683 points, more than 200 ahead of Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y. (459). Sweden’s Sandra Andersson is third with 396 points, but she could be overtaken by Singapore’s Jazreel Tan (351) or tied by Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, Calif. (346).

You can follow the progress of the WBT Thailand event by visiting http://www.ttbaworldtour.com/. The champion will take home the top prize of 1 million Thai baht (roughly $32,258 in U.S. dollars) and a PBA International Tour title if he is a PBA member.

YOUTH MOVEMENT MAKING A STATEMENT IN PBA’S SOUTHWEST REGION

The PBA Southwest Region has experienced a youth movement during the 2014 season, according to Southwest Region manager Pete McCordic. So far this year, the region has seen four players win their first PBA titles – and all of them are under the age of 28.

The most recent additions to the list are 23-year-old twin brothers Anthony and Sean Lavery of Pasadena, Texas, who won their first titles in back-to-back weeks. Sean won the Killeen Southwest Open on Aug. 10 and Anthony won the Emerald Bowl Southwest Challenge in Houston on Aug. 17. The other first-time titlists include 17-year-old Anthony Simonsen of Mesquite, Texas, and 28-year-old Shawn Maldonado of Houston.

In addition to the first-time title winners, 2013 Southwest Region Rookie of the Year Roger Petrin, 23, of Wichita, Kan., won his second title and Andy Patterson of Tyler, Texas, who just turned 26, won his fifth title earlier in the year. And three non-members also have won PBA Southwest events for the first time: Kansas State collegiate bowler Dylan Burns, Eric Traylor of Pearland, Texas, and Jay Nephew of Houston.

PBA REGIONAL SUMMARY: TACKETT TOPS PAGE IN COLDWATER

EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., defeated Rhino Page of Dade City, Fla., 221-193, to win the $4,000 first prize and his third PBA Regional title in the PBA Lefeld Implement Central Classic at Pla-Mor Lanes in Coldwater, Ohio, on Sunday, Aug. 17.

Page edged Brandon Novak of Chillicothe, Ohio, 210-204, to advance to the championship match. In the first stepladder match, Novak defeated Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, 233-223.

The tournament was the first of the PBA Central Region’s three PBA Women’s Regional points events. Three-time PBA Women’s Series titlist Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, was the top finisher among the five women who bowled the event, finishing in 37th place and earning $325.

Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., went 7-4-1 in match play and finished with a 20-game total of 4,593 pins to record a 146-pin victory over Brian LeClair of Albany, N.Y., in the PBA Bethmann-Russell Syracuse Open presented by Radical at Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool, N.Y., Sunday.

Shafer led qualifying but lost his first three matches to lose the lead to LeClair. After making a ball change, Shafer won his next five matches to race away to victory while LeClair held on to second place by two pins over Rick Graham of Lancaster, Pa. In addition to his 26th regional title, Shafer earned $2,500 and improved his competition points lead to over 43,000 points over LeClair in the battle to see who represents the East Region in the PBA Regional Finals which will be held during the PBA World Series of Bowling VI in Las Vegas.

The event also was the second of three PBA Women’s Regional events for women. Kristina Wendell of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., qualified for match play for the second time and virtually guaranteed her spot in the PBAW Regional Finals in Las Vegas as well as a paid entry into the World Series of Bowling.

Anthony Lavery of Pasadena, Texas, out-dueled Mexico’s Humberto Vazquez to win the PBA Houston Emerald Bowl Southwest Challenge, presented by Mike Austin’s Bowling Dynamix, Sunday.

Lavery led Vazquez by 41 pins going into position round, started his final game with five strikes and never looked back to claim the $2,000 winner’s check. PBA Challenge events are open only to nonmembers who have not won a PBA event and PBA members not credited with a PBA title.

● Amateur Daniel Jackson Jr. of Portland, Ore., posted a 9-3 match play record and a 20-game total of 4,910 pins Sunday to win $2,000 and his second regional title as a non-member in the PBA Dave Husted Northwest Open presented by Dexter at Husted’s Milwaukee Bowl by 190 pins over Blaine Weninger of Happy Valley, Ore. The tournament was the 35th annual PBA Regional hosted by the Husted family at Milwaukie Bowl.

● The Aug. 22-24 regional schedule includes the Fayetteville South Open at Lafayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C.; the Mil-Ray Foods East Open presented by Columbia 300 at Brunswick Zone in Deptford, N.J.; the PBA and PBA50 Steve Cook’s Fireside Lanes Capital City West/Northwest Opens presented by DV8 in Citrus Heights, Calif.; the Greenville Southwest Open presented by allbowling.com at Shenaniganz in Greenville, Texas, and the Bowlerama Lanes Midwest Open presented by Radical (a live Xtra Frame event) in Des Moines, Iowa. Fayetteville, Deptford, Citrus Heights, Greenville and Des Moines are all PBA Women’s Regional qualifying events.

The extended Labor Day weekend includes another full schedule of events, including the PBA50 Wilson & Sons Termite Pest Control Super Senior Open (for players 60 and older) followed by the PBA50 Mooresville South Open at George Pappas’ Victory Lanes in Mooresville, N.C.; the Tony Reyes Memorial Member/Non-Member Doubles presented by Brunswick at Fourth Street Bowl in San Jose, Calif., and the BOWLSTRONG Midwest/Central Challenge (for non-winners) plus the BOWLSTRONG Midwest/Central Tournament of Champions (for PBA title winners) at King Pin Lanes in Springfield, Ill.

Kicking off September will be the PBA50 Kingsport Super Senior South Open for players 60 and older at Warpath Lanes in Kingsport, Tenn., Sept. 2-4, followed by Sept. 5-7 weekend events including the Moon City Central Classic presented by Roto Grip at Astro Lanes in Wapakoneta, Ohio; the Grand Hotel, Casino & Resort Southwest Invitational at Firelake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla. (featuring live Xtra Frame coverage); the PBA50 Howell Lanes East Open in Howell, N.J.; the Rufus West Open presented by Columbia 300 at FlipSide Lanes in Gilbert, Ariz., and a pair of one-day PBA50 events presented by Ebonite at Illinois Valley Super Bowl in Peru, 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.

QUICK NOTES

● Don’t forget: Xtra Frame, the PBA’s online bowling channel, will be on hand this weekend to provide live coverage of the PBA Bowlerama Lanes Midwest Region Open from Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 23-24. The event will include coverage of the first of three PBA Women’s Regional competitions in the Midwest Region. Next up: the PBA Grand Hotel, Casino and Resort Southwest Regional Invitational from Shawnee, Okla., Sept. 5-7, and the Diamond Jo’s Casino Midwest Open at Cherry Lanes in Dubuque, Iowa, Sept. 13-14. The Dubuque event will be the second of three PBA Women’s Regional events in the Midwest Region.

● According to Bowlers Journal International’s eBowler, PBA legend Dick Weber's longtime home in Florissant, Missouri will honor the late bowling great with a plaque on the community's Walk Through History. Weber moved to Florissant in 1955 and, 16 years later, opened Dick Weber Lanes. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Weber's widow, Juanita, will be in attendance, as will their famous bowling son, Pete, and other family members. The plaque will be dedicated on Sept. 2.

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