“The Bad Boy of Bowling” to Debut Online on ESPN’s 30 for 30 Shorts on Feb. 23; On Air on Feb. 26

by Bill Vint February 10, 2016 03:12

CHICAGO – “The Bad Boy of Bowling,” an award-winning documentary centered around the life-and-times of Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Pete Weber, will premiere on the ESPN Films 30 for 30 Shorts website (http://espn.go.com/30for30/shorts) on Tuesday, February 23. Later in the week, the film will make its broadcast debut as part of Friday Night Movie Night on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Friday, February 26 during the 6 p.m ET hour.

The ESPN Films 30 for 30 Shorts documentary, directed by SideStilt Films’ Bryan Storkel and produced by Amy Storkel and Daniel Judge, covers the sometimes controversial but always successful career of the youngest of bowling legend Dick Weber’s three sons. Pete Weber, who made his PBA debut at age 17, went on to win PBA Rookie of the Year honors in 1980.

Still active on both the traditional PBA Tour and the PBA50 Tour at age 53, Weber has won 37 PBA Tour titles (fourth-best on the all-time titles list) and earned more than $3.8 million (second only to Walter Ray Williams Jr.’s $4.6 million) despite occasional clashes with PBA leadership, battling personal demons along the way, and never apologizing for his approach to life and PBA competition.

While capturing the essence of Weber’s career through the eyes of his fiercest competitors as well as Weber’s own insights, Storkel also provides “Bad Boy” viewers with a history of PBA competition during the Weber years.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Storkel said of producing the film. “I knew about Pete for a while. I saw him in “League of Ordinary Gentlemen: a few years back. When we were asked to do a 30 for 30 film, I thought about bowling because 30 for 30 hadn’t done a bowling segment, and I immediately thought about Pete and his father, and how their lives were all centered around bowling.

“I think having the father-and-son element creates something even non-bowling fans will enjoy,” Storkel added. “It’s really a human story, not just a bowling story.”

After reviewing the film, despite it showing some of his darker moments, Weber’s reaction was, “I thought it was awesome.”

PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark said, “The story of Pete Weber is one of the most compelling in sports history. It was a great decision by ESPN to feature Pete’s story in its artful 30 for 30 documentary series and producer Bryan Storkel captured the story in a way that will entertain and inform those familiar with Pete’s career while also introducing him to those who don’t know much about him.”

Prior to its debut as part of ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series, “The Bad Boy of Bowling” was shown at more than 25 film festivals across the United States, where it routinely received rave reviews and won a special jury prize at the DOC NYC festival, one of the largest and most prestigious festivals.

“The film’s largest screening was at the Maryland Film where it played to hundreds of fans on opening night,” Storkel added. “We could hear the crowd laughing out loud, crying… It was pretty special.”

“The Bad Boy of Bowling” will be widely available to fans through ESPN’s and PBA’s digital platforms and social media outlets following its formal release.

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Louisville’s Matt Ogle Averages 250 to Lead USBC Masters First Round

by Jerry Schneider February 9, 2016 14:21

By Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications

Matt Ogle of Louisville, Kentucky, has enjoyed past success on the national stage, but he was able to experience a whole new level of nervousness Tuesday on the way to the top of the standings at the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Masters.

The 31-year-old right-hander saw a personal dream come true when he rolled the first perfect game of this week's event at Woodland Bowl, and he matched the feat two games later to surge into the lead with a five-game total of 1,251, a 250.2 average.

Ogle was able to hold off Brandon Novak of Chillicothe, Ohio, who started the day with a 299 game and closed with 278 for a 1,227 total. Patrick Dombrowski of Parma, Ohio, is third with 1,191 and is followed by Canada's Dan MacLelland (1,188) and John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, New York (1,174).

While Ogle was wrapping up his second perfect game, George Gohagan III of Dayton, Ohio, was at the other end of the 70-lane bowling center putting the final touches on his own 300. The left-hander finished the opening round of qualifying with a 1,120 total, which is 15th overall.

"This is something I've always dreamed about doing, and to do it twice in a block is amazing," said Ogle, who had games of 196, 225, 300, 230 and 300 on Tuesday. "I was shaking pretty badly, I probably couldn't have written my name in English after the first one. This definitely is the most nervous I've been as far as 300s go, but I think it's going to help me relax a little the next two days."

Ogle will lead the 417-player field back onto the lanes at Woodland Bowl on Wednesday for the second of three five-game qualifying blocks. Competition will get underway at 8 a.m.

"To be the leader, especially with all of the top professional bowlers here this week, is a great feeling and something I never thought would happen," said Ogle, who won the Kentucky Open in 2015 and was the Open Singles champion at the 2014 Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC. "I'm just fortunate to be able to be here bowling this week, and I'm very happy with how I started. My plan now is to pick the right ball, make good shots and stay clean."

All players will bowl 15 games over three days to determine the match-play field. The top 63 bowlers will join three-time defending champion Jason Belmonte of Australia in the three-game, double-elimination bracket.

As the defending champion, Belmonte is guaranteed the No. 64 spot in the bracket, but bowling qualifying will give him a chance to improve his seeding as well as get a feel for the bowling center and oil pattern. He is tied for 30th place after the first day of qualifying with a 1,088 total.

Match play will take place Friday and Saturday and will determine the five players for the championship round. Those five bowlers will compete in Sunday's stepladder finals, live on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern.
The 2016 Masters features a total prize fund of $295,000 and is a major event on the PBA Tour.

All qualifying and match play rounds of the Masters are being covered live on Xtra Frame, the PBA's online bowling channel. For subscription information, visit pba.com.

For full first round standings visit http://scores.bowl.com/2016-Masters/2016MastersRound1.pdf

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Belmonte Turns His Attention to a Fourth Consecutive USBC Masters Title

by Jerry Schneider February 8, 2016 01:13

After his fourth-place finish in the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions, three-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte will turn his attention to trying for an unprecedented fourth consecutive USBC Masters title.

The 2016 USBC Masters will take place Feb. 8-14 at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, and Belmonte once again will enter as the defending champion, a role he has assumed each year since 2014.

The unique double-elimination format seems to suit the powerful two-hander, who was the first bowler since 1965 to successfully defend a Masters title when he won in 2014. He then became the first to win in three consecutive years, joining USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby as the tournament's only three-time winners.

"It's hard to put into words what my accomplishments at the Masters means," said Belmonte, who owns 12 PBA titles, including five majors. "I'm proud of what I have done. However, I am not the kind of guy who is content with that. I am always pushing myself to strive for more, and that's why I'm as hungry to win my fourth Masters as I was the previous three."

Belmonte will battle a sold-out field at Woodland Bowl as 420 of the best bowlers in the world look to capture the coveted Masters trophy and $50,000 top prize in 2016.

All players will bowl 15 games of qualifying over three days to determine the match-play field. The top 63 players will join Belmonte in the three-game, double-elimination bracket, where he knows anything can happen.

All qualifying and match play rounds of the Masters will be covered live on Xtra Frame, the PBA's online bowling channel.

As the defending champion, Belmonte is guaranteed the No. 64 spot in the bracket, but bowling qualifying will give him a chance to improve his seeding as well as get a feel for the bowling center and oil pattern. In 2014, he was the tournament leader after qualifying, and, in 2015, he earned the No. 10 seed for match play.

"The Masters is so unique in the fact that you just have to win matches, and depending on your opponent, you can create different strategies for every match," Belmonte said. "The idea of bowling with five different balls in five different parts of the lane against five opponents isn't unusual, but it would be crazy in any other event. In a three-game total-pin match, the scoring pace of the field is irrelevant. The focus is only on the pair you are on."

On the way into the record books last year, Belmonte topped collegiate bowler AJ Johnson of Oswego, Illinois, 202-157, in the championship match. Belmonte earned his spot in the final by defeating USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Missouri, 232-210. Weber owns 10 major titles but hasn't won the Masters.

Regardless of how the 2016 Masters turns out, Belmonte already has enjoyed a major triumph this year. He and his wife, Kimberly, welcomed their third child in late January, but the life-changing event has not taken his focus off his preparation.

"Bowling is always on my mind, just maybe not as much the past couple of weeks," said Belmonte, who was the runner-up to Weber at the PBA Tournament of Champions at Woodland Bowl during the 2012-2013 season. "I am still practicing when I can, as I want to be ready for the February swing of majors. I dropped a few kilos and strengthened my legs and core to help with the long formats coming up. I will practice a little more a few days before I have to go and then practice a little when I'm State-side."

2015 PBA Rookie of the Year Jesper Svensson of Sweden will try to make it two consecutive major titles after winning Sunday’s Tournament of Champions.

The official practice day for the Masters is Feb. 8, which will be followed by three days of qualifying. Match play will take place Feb. 12 and 13 and will determine the five players for the championship round.
Those five bowlers will compete in the stepladder finals, live on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, Feb. 14.

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Sweden’s Jesper Svensson Becomes Youngest FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions Winner at 20

by Jerry Schneider February 7, 2016 09:02

SHAWNEE, Okla. – Eight days shy of his 21st birthday, Sweden’s Jesper Svensson, the 2015 Professional Bowlers Association Rookie of the Year, became the youngest player to win the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions Sunday at FireLake Arena.

Svensson, a 6-foot-3, 158-pound left-handed two-hander, defeated top qualifier Mitch Beasley of Clarksville, Tenn., 226-177, to win his third career PBA Tour title, his first major and a $50,000 first prize. The previous youngest winner of the TOC was PBA Hall of Famer Marshall Holman who won the event in 1976 at the age of 21 years, 207 days. Another PBA Hall of Famer, Mike Aulby, is the youngest player ever to win a PBA major title, winning the 1979 PBA National Championship at the age of 19 years, 83 days.

Svensson won the title convincingly, striking on five of his first six shots to build a 30-pin lead while Beasley, making his first television appearance, struggled to figure out the tricky lane condition on the left lane.

“I was pretty comfortable from the start, but then I opened in the second frame (against Daugherty),” Svensson said. “I was a bit nervous. It would be weird if you weren’t when you’re bowling on TV. But I made the right adjustments and I was fine.”

Setting the record as the youngest TOC champion was never on his mind.

“That’s a bonus,” Svensson said. “I try not to think about how young I am. I just try to compete against the best in the world. Everything has gone pretty quick for me. I just came out here (on Tour in the United States) to get experience. I probably haven’t even realized what I’ve done so far.

“Winning a major is one of the biggest achievements you can have in bowling, so I’m pretty much out of words.”

Beasley said he knew he was in trouble early because the power players on the right side of the lane moved the oil to such an extent he couldn’t figure out where to throw the ball.

“When you throw your best shot and miss the head pin, that’s not good,” the retired 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran said. “The guys in front of me really destroyed the left lane. You try to figure it out, but if I missed left, the ball went right and if I missed right, the ball hooked too much. And then you’re out of time.”

Svensson advanced to the title match by defeating Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Fla., 245-206, breaking open a tie match with a string of seven strikes after leaving and failing to convert a 4-6-7 split in the second frame.

In the second match, Daugherty ended three-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte’s bid for a third consecutive TOC title, 220-169. Belmonte contributed to his own defeat, missing a 10 pin in the first frame, a 2-8 spare attempt in the sixth and then failing to convert a 2-4-8-10 split in the ninth frame.

In the opening match, Daugherty finished with seven consecutive strikes to overcome a pair of missed 3-10 spare conversions earlier in the game and rally from a 35-pin deficit to eliminate EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., 231-221.

PBA’s “Super February” schedule continues next week with the United States Bowling Congress Masters at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. Belmonte, the only player ever to win the USBC Masters three consecutive times, will be trying to extend his streak to four in a row. Qualifying begins Tuesday. The top 63 qualifiers plus Belmonte will compete in three-game double-elimination match play Friday and Saturday leading to the live ESPN stepladder finals on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST.

All qualifying and match play rounds of the Masters will be covered live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video-streaming service. Live scoring also will be available throughout the event on pba.com.

FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
FireLake Arena, Shawnee, Okla., Sunday

Final Standings
1, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, $50,000.
2, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., $25,000.
3, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., $13,000.
4, Jason Belmonte, Australia, $11,000.
5, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., $10,000.

Stepladder Results
Match One – Daugherty def. Tackett, 231-221.
Match Two – Daugherty def. Belmonte, 220-169.
Semifinal Match – Svensson def. Daugherty, 245-206.
Championship – Svensson def. Beasley, 226-177.

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FireLake PBA TOC Milestones: Who Will Make History Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN?

by Jerry Schneider February 6, 2016 05:41

The field for the stepladder finals of the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions is set.

Tom Daugherty, EJ Tackett, Jason Belmonte, Jesper Svensson and Mitch Beasley will battle for the first major title of the season in PBA’s signature event Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Who will add their name to the list of great moments in the tournament’s 51-year history?

Here’s a look at some of the TOC milestone moments:

1962 – The first PBA Tournament of Champions was contested in 1962 at Play Bowl in Indianapolis, Ind., and was won by Joe Joseph of Lansing, Mich. Joseph won the inaugural event in the two-game three-player final with 480, followed by Billy Golembiewski, 416, and Carmen Salvino third with 409. Joseph won a $15,000 first prize from the $50,000 prize fund.

1965 – The event was not contested again until 1965 when it moved to Bowlarama in Akron, Ohio, and Firestone’s long-running sponsorship made it possible for the event to be conducted annually. Firestone’s involvement was one of the first and longest-running sport sponsorships by a corporation lasting 28 years. Firestone also became the first company to have titled-event sponsorship on a nationally-televised sports event, launching a new era in sports marketing. Billy Hardwick won the event.

1966 – The event moved to Riviera Lanes in the Akron suburb of Fairlawn, Ohio, where it would remain through 1994.

1967 – Jack Biondolillo bowled the PBA’s first nationally-televised 300 game in a match against Les Schissler. Biondolillo finished third in the event.

1970 – One of the great images in sports was Don Johnson sprawled out on the approach after leaving a 10 pin on the final shot of the championship match when he defeated Dick Ritger, 299-268.

1973 – Jim Godman became the first player to win the event twice (1969 & 1973).

1975 – PBA inducts its first Hall of Fame class (Ray Bluth, Don Carter, Dick Weber, Billy Welu, Harry Smith, Carmen Salvino, Frank Esposito and Chuck Pezzano) in ceremonies during TOC week, a tradition that has continued nearly every year since.

1984 – Mike Durbin, who lived in the nearby Cleveland suburb of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, became the first player to win the TOC three times (1972, 1982 & 1984).

1987 – Hall of Famer Pete Weber wins the PBA Tournament of Champions, a tournament his legendary father, Dick Weber, never won.

1991 – Second-seeded David Ozio overcame the distraction of a 40-minute bomb threat delay from a crank call to defeat Amleto Monacelli, 236-203, for the Firestone Tournament of Champions crown at Riviera Lanes. It was his ninth PBA title and third of the year.

1993 – George Branham III became the first (and, thus far, only) African-American to win the TOC. This event was also the last one sponsored by Firestone.

1994 – Norm Duke won the last TOC contested at Riviera Lanes.

1995 – Brunswick picked up sponsorship of the event (and remained as sponsor through 2000) and moved it to the Chicago suburb of Lake Zurich, with an arena finals in Palatine, Ill. Mike Aulby won the event to become the first player to complete the PBA’s “Grand Slam” (wins in the TOC, USBC Masters, PBA National/World Championship and U.S. Open).

1997-2000 – The event moved to Reno (1997), Overland Park, Kan. (1998 & 1999) and then back to Lake Zurich, Ill. (2000).

2002 – After a one-year hiatus, the event returned to Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., where it remained through 2007. In 2002, Jason Couch became the first and only player to win the TOC three consecutive times (1999, 2000 & 2002, no event held in 2001) and joined Mike Durbin as the event’s only three-time winners.

2008 – Event moved to Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas.

2010 – Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., made sports history by winning the TOC in Las Vegas, becoming the first woman – and still only woman - to win a PBA Tour title.

2011 – Eligibility for the event was expanded to include all PBA champions (national tour, senior tour and regionals). The TOC also returned to the ABC Network and its original Saturday afternoon timeslot for the first time in 14 years. Mika Koivuniemi won the record $250,000 first prize from the $1 million prize fund by defeating Tom Smallwood in the championship match 269-207. Koivuniemi also rolled a 299 in the semifinal match for a PBA-record 199-pin margin of victory over Tom Daugherty, who bowled a 100 game, the lowest score ever in a PBA televised match.

2012 – Sean Rash wins Tournament of Champions for first major and fifth career Tour title which sealed his first PBA Player of the Year honor.

2013 – Hall of Famer Pete Weber wrote another chapter in bowling history when he defeated Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte, 224-179, to win the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. The victory made Weber the first player to complete the PBA Triple Crown for a second time and tied bowling legend Earl Anthony for most major PBA titles with 10.

2014 – Jason Belmonte, with a strike on his final ball, defeated Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, to win the Tournament of Champions by a single pin at Thunderbowl Lanes suburban Detroit. Belmonte, defeated Malott, 219-218. It was the first of two consecutive major wins for Belmonte who would go on to win the USBC Masters weeks later.

2015 – Jason Belmonte successfully defends his TOC title by winning the 50th annual event at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. In winning his 12th career PBA Tour title and fifth major, Belmonte defeated Rhino Page in the title match 232-214.

WINNERS OF MULTIPLE TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS TITLES

Jason Couch 3 (1999, 2000 & 2002)
Mike Durbin 3 (1972, 1982 & 1984)
Jason Belmonte 2 (2014 & 2015)
Dave Davis 2 (1968 & 1975)
Jim Godman 2 (1969 & 1973)
Earl Anthony 2 (1974 & 1978)
Marshall Holman 2 (1976 & 1986)
Pete Weber 2 (1987 & 2013)
Mark Williams 2 (1985 & 1988)

HISTORY OF PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS WINNERS

2015 Jason Belmonte
2014 Jason Belmonte
2013 Pete Weber
2012 Sean Rash
2011 Mika Koivuniemi
2010 Kelly Kulick
2009 Patrick Allen
2008 Michael Haugen Jr.
2007 Tommy Jones
2006 Chris Barnes
2005 Steve Jaros
2004 Not contested
2003 Patrick Healey Jr.
2002 Jason Couch
2001 Not contested
2000 Jason Couch
1999 Jason Couch
1998 Bryan Goebel
1997 John Gant
1996 Dave D'Entremont
1995 Mike Aulby
1994 Norm Duke
1993 George Branham III
1992 Marc McDowell
1991 David Ozio
1990 Dave Ferraro
1989 Del Ballard Jr.
1988 Mark Williams
1987 Pete Weber
1986 Marshall Holman
1985 Mark Williams
1984 Mike Durbin
1983 Joe Berardi
1982 Mike Durbin
1981 Steve Cook
1980 Wayne Webb
1979 George Pappas
1978 Earl Anthony
1977 Mike Berlin
1976 Marshall Holman
1975 Dave Davis
1974 Earl Anthony
1973 Jim Godman
1972 Mike Durbin
1971 Johnny Petraglia
1970 Don Johnson
1969 Jim Godman
1968 Dave Davis
1967 Jim Stefanich
1966 Wayne Zahn
1965 Billy Hardwick
1962 Joe Joseph

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