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.
● 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.