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

by Bill Vint 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 Bowling Center, 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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Retired Air Force Veteran Mitch Beasley Wins No. 1 Berth for FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions Finals

by Bill Vint February 5, 2016 14:39

SHAWNEE, Okla.  – Retired U.S. Air Force veteran Mitch Beasley of Clarksville, Tenn., will make a bid for his first Professional Bowlers Association major title Sunday as top qualifier in the 51st FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions after dominating match play Friday at FireLake Bowling Center.

Beasley, a 47-year-old right-hander, won all 13 of his final 14 matches Friday, and tied the other one, to advance from third place to first, finishing with a 48-game total of 11,559 pins. Beasley has never finished higher than fourth in a PBA Tour event, but he has won 20 PBA titles, including at least two titles in six of the PBA’s seven domestic regions where he was based during his 20-year military career. Beasley served as a crew chief on C130s and recruiter for the U.S. Air Force.

“I retired on Jan. 1, 2008, and left the next day to bowl on Tour.”

On Sunday, he will face the player who emerges from three preliminary matches in a one-game duel for the $50,000 first prize. Also qualifying for Sunday’s ESPN stepladder finals were 2015 PBA Rookie of the Year Jesper Svensson of Sweden, a left-handed two-hander who turns 21 on Feb. 15; two-time defending champion Jason Belmonte of Australia; 2013 PBA Rookie of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., and one-time PBA Tour winner Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Fla., who is best known for the 100 game he bowled against eventual winner Mika Koivuneimi in the 2011 Tournament of Champions finals.

Daugherty will bowl Tackett, a two-time runner-up in major championships, in the first match. The winner will try to end Belmonte’s bid for a record-tying third consecutive TOC title in match two. The match two winner bowls Svensson in the semifinal match for the right to meet Beasley in the title contest.

For Beasley, Friday’s final round was the best performance of his career.

“I made four changes to my game two weeks ago. I was really focused on the changes and make good shots and let the ball tell me what to do,” he said. “I felt the pressure, but I was just trying to make the shots I needed to make.

“I missed my best years as an athlete while I was in the Air Force, so when you have the opportunity, you have to take advantage of it,” he added. “When I started bowling on Tour, I got hurt twice, once with a shattered wrist and then I missed a couple of years with hip and back injuries, so about half of my time, I’ve been hurt. It feels good to be healthy again.”

Sunday will give him a chance to realize the goal he’s always dreamed of.

“It’s every bowler’s dream to win a national title, and to have a chance to have your first title be a major, that’s the ultimate,” Beasley said. “That’s what I’ve worked for ever since the first time I picked up a bowling ball when I was 19 and in the service in Germany.”

Sunday’s live ESPN stepladder finals will be contested on a special two-lane installation inside FireLake Arena at 1 p.m. CST (2 p.m. Eastern). First prize in PBA’s first major championship of the 2016 season will be $50,000.

FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Friday

Final Match Play Standings (after 48 games, including match play bonus pins)

1, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 20-3-1, 11,559.
2, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 14-10, 11,455.
3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 15-9, 11,421.
4, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 17-7, 11,300.
5, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 15-9, 11,203.

Failed to advance

6, Dom Barrett, England, 14-9-1, 11,188, $5,500.
7, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 16-8, 11,168, $5,000.
8, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 12-11-1, 11,088, $4,500.
9, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 12-12, 10,964, $4,000.
10, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 12-12, 10,857, $3,800.
11, Anthony Simonsen, Princeton, Texas, 11-13, 10,801, $3,600.
12, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 15-9,  10,793, $3,400.
13, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 8-16, 10,774, $3,200.
14, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 11-13, 10,747, $3,100.
15, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 7-16-1, 10,744, $3,000.
16, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 12-12, 10,732, $2,900.
17, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 11-13, 10,654, $2,800.
18, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 10-14, 10,609, $2,700.
19, y-Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 9-7, 10,602, $1,850.
20, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 8-16, 10,535, $2,500.
21, Tyler Jensen, Ft. Worth, Texas, 8-16, 10,501, $2,400.
22, x-A.J. Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 10-14, 10,349, $1,850.
23, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 7-17, 10,316, $2,300.
24, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 8-16, 10,295, $2,200.
25, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 4-4, 7,133, $1,500.
26, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 0-0, $1,700.

x-Johnson replace Norm Duke, who withdrew due to a neck injury; y-Sterner replaced Pete Weber, who withdrew due to a hip injury.

300 Games: Anthony Simonsen, Dom Barrett.

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289-300 Start Propels Sweden’s Jesper Svensson into FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions Lead

by Bill Vint February 4, 2016 07:16

SHAWNEE, Okla. – Sweden’s Jesper Svensson struck on 22 of his first 23 shots Thursday morning in the 51st FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions at FireLake Bowling Center, advancing from sixth place to first, and he continued his blistering pace in match play Thursday night to build a 266-pin lead over Mitch Beasley of Clarksville, Tenn.

Svensson, a 20-year-old left-handed two-hander and PBA’s 2015 Rookie of the Year, averaged 232.1 for his first 32 games to lead the field of 24 finalists into Friday’s final two rounds of match play in the PBA’s first major championship of the year. Following games of 289 and 300, Svensson finished his morning round with games of 220, 258, 235, 213, 223 and 203. He then started Thursday night’s first round of match play with games of 267, 229, 256 and 290, winning all four matches to break away from the field.

He finished the evening round games of 213, 196 and 213 for losses, and a 238 win in his last game for a 5-3 match play record and a 32-game total of 7,624 pins, including 30 bonus pins for each match won.

“That was good,” Svensson said of his start in the evening round, “but I struggled a bit in the middle, so it was good to finish with a good game. In the middle, the urethane ball I was using got a bit shiny, and I couldn’t get as good of pin carry as when it has a fresh surface.

“But I’m happy; I didn’t expect this at all. I’m just going to have a good time and see where I finish tomorrow.”

Chasing Svensson and Beasley (7,358 pins) in the race for Sunday’s five-player stepladder finals were Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Fla., with 7,328 pins; Dom Barrett of England with a 7,317 total and EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., with 7,300 pins.

Australia’s Jason Belmonte, the two-time defending champion, was fifth heading into match play, but posted a 4-4 record in the opening round and slipped back to ninth place.

The 24 finalists will bowl their final two eight-game round-robin match play rounds Friday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST to determine the five finalists for Sunday’s live ESPN stepladder finals at 1 p.m. CST (2 p.m. Eastern). The finals will be held on a special two-lane installation inside FireLake Arena.

All match play rounds are being covered exclusively, live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel. For subscription information visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.

FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Thursday

Round Four Standings (after 32 games, including match play bonus pins)

1, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 5-3, 7,624.
2, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 7-1, 7,358.
3, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 6-2, 7,328.
4, Dom Barrett, England, 4-4, 7,315.
5, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 6-2, 7,300.
6, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 6-2, 7,292.
7, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 2-6, 7,262.
8, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 3-5, 7,219.
9, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 4-4, 7,212.
10, Anthony Simonsen, Princeton, Texas, 4-4, 7,178.
11, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 5-3, 7,167.
12, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3-5, 7,141.
13, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 5-3, 7,139.
14, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 4-4, 7,135.
15, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 5-3, 7,125.
16, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3-5, 7,110.
17, x-A.J. Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 6-2, 7,085.
18, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 4-4, 7,044.
19, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 2-6, 7,036.
20, Tyler Jensen, Ft. Worth, Texas, 3-5, 7,014.
21, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 2-6, 7,010.
22, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 3-5, 6,987.
23, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3-5, 6,949.
24, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 1-7, 6,704.

x-Johnson replace Norm Duke, who withdrew due to a neck injury.

300 Game: Jesper Svensson.

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Tom Smallwood Rolls into FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions Lead; Belmonte Remains in Contention

by Bill Vint February 3, 2016 08:22

SHAWNEE, Okla. – Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., who has made a career out of bowling well in major championships, averaged 231.4 for 16 games to move into the lead at the end of qualifying in the 51st FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions at FireLake Bowling Center Wednesday.

Smallwood, 38, posted games of 258, 258, 203, 259, 260, 200, 206 and 231 Wednesday for a 16-game total of 3,703 pins, advancing from 10th place to first in a hotly contested battle for the top 27 berths in Thursday’s eight-game cashers round.

Among those who remained in title contention was Australia’s two-handed star, Jason Belmonte, who advanced from 48th place to qualify 13th for the cashers round. Belmonte is trying to equal PBA Hall of Famer Jason Couch’s record as the second player to win the Tournament of Champions three consecutive times.

Trailing Smallwood at the end of qualifying was 2014 PBA Rookie of the Year Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash., with 3,665 pins, 38 pins behind Smallwood, followed by PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., at 3,662; EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., at 3,661 and Dom Barrett of England at 3,633.

Smallwood, who made national news when he won the 2010 PBA World Championship after losing his job at General Motors during the recession, has done his best work in PBA majors. He finished second in the 2011 Tournament of Champions, fourth in the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Masters and fifth in the 2012 PBA World Championship in addition to winning his second PBA title in the 2012 PBA Scorpion Championship.

“I don’t put any more time or effort into the majors, but it’s only natural to put a little more emphasis on them because they pay more and they’re more prestigious,” Smallwood said. “For whatever reason my ball decides to strike more in the majors, which is fine with me.”

Smallwood said he found a way to play the lanes that other players weren’t playing, and they actually helped move the oil around to his favor.

“Usually I’m playing the wrong part of the lane, but I played a little farther right of everybody tonight and it worked,” he said. “The first six games, I only moved four boards with my eyes, and that was it. Everyone else was playing farther inside than I was, and they actually gave me more hold area which allowed me to stay where I was.”

Among the players advancing to Thursday’s cashers round was reigning Professional Women’s Bowling Association Player of the Year Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., who also is the first woman ever to advance to the PBA national telecast and the only woman ever to accomplish that feat twice. Johnson qualified in a tie for 20th place.

“I never really put a PBA Tour title on my bucket list, but it would be nice to win one,” Johnson said. “The thing I realized this week is that I bowled my first women’s pro tournament 20 years ago this week, and to think I’m still out here doing what I’m doing is pretty amazing to me.”

Johnson was one of four women in the TOC field. Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., who won the 2010 Tournament of Champions to become the only woman ever to win a PBA Tour title, was in contention Wednesday but faltered down the stretch, finishing 31st and missing the cut by 14 pins.

At the conclusion of Thursday’s cashers round, the top 24 based on 24-game pinfall totals will advance to three eight-game rounds of head-to-head match play to determine the top five for Sunday’s live ESPN finals at 2 p.m. ET. PBA’s Xtra Frame online video-streaming service will cover the cashers round and all three match play rounds live. Rounds start at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Thursday and Friday.

FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Wednesday

Final Qualifying Standings (after 16 games)

1, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,703.
2, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 3,665.
3, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,662.
4, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 3,661.
5, Dom Barrett, England, 3,633.
6, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 3,631.
7, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3,627.
8, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,606.
9, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 3,595.
10, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 3,594.
11, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 3,580.
12, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,579.
13, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,575.
14, Tyler Jensen, Ft. Worth, Texas, 3,569.
15, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 3,567.
16, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 3,560.
17, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 3,525.
18, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3,522.
19, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 3,512.
20, (tie) Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., and f-Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3,497.
22, Anthony Simonsen, Princeton, Texas, 3,496.
23, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,495.
24, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 3,493.
25, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 3,483.
26, A.J. Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 3,480.
27, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,476.

Failed to advance
28, Stuart Williams, England, 3,470.
29, (tie) Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., and Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,468.
31, f-Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3,462.
32, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,458.
33, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 3,457.
34, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 3,454.
35, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 3,453.
36, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 3,447.
37, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,435.
38, Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 3,433.
39, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 3,431.
40, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,427.
41, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,422.
42, Paul Moor, England, 3,416.
43, Will Barnes, Wichita, Kan., 3,414.
44, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 3,405.
45, Patrick Allen, South Salem, N.Y., 3,379.
46, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 3,359.
47, Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, 3,353.
48, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3,352.
49, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 3,346.
50, David Scardaville, Houston, Texas, 3,341.
51, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 3,325.
52, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 3,313.
53, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 3,296.
54, Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 3,294.
55, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 3,286.
56, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 3,276.
57, Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., 3,269.
58, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 3,265.
59, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 3,244.
60, J.T. Jackson, Sherman Oaks, Calif., 3,222.
61, (tie)  f-Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, and Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,210.
63, f-Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 3,207.
64, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 3,202.
65, Scott Greiner, Platte City, Mo., 3,193.
66, Blake Demore, Springfield, Mo., 3,189.
67, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 3,180.
68, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 3,150.
69, Paul Brewbaker , Midwest City, Okla., 3,141.
70, Kyle Bigelow, Troy, Ohio, 3,133.
71, Brandon Bivens, East Ridge, Tenn., 3,083.
72, David Williams Jr., Omaha, Neb., 3,067.
73, Lee White, Odessa, Texas, 3,048.
74, Joe Salvemini, Nevada City, Calif., 2,987.
75, Ted Staikoff, Black Hawk, S.D., 2,890.
76, Carmen Salvino, Schaumburg, Ill., 2,887.
77, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 2,369.

f-denotes female

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PBA Spare Shots: FireLake Arena Being Transformed for Live PBA Tournament of Champions ESPN Finals

by Bill Vint February 3, 2016 06:25

FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Okla., normally a showcase for country music artists, cage fighting and wrestling, is undergoing a transformation into a state-of-the-art bowling facility for its national television debut Sunday when the arena will become the stage for the stepladder finals of the 51st FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions.

The first-ever ESPN telecast from FireLake Arena will begin at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local time) on a two-lane installation on the arena floor. The setting will allow for a much larger crowd than can typically fit into a conventional bowling center. Tickets for the finals will be available at the door, or through the “tickets” link on pba.com.

Fans attending the TOC finals also are invited to attend a special Super Bowl party at FireLake Arena following the ESPN finals, including live coverage of Super Bowl 50 on the arena’s giant television screens.

FireLake Arena sits across the parking lot from FireLake Bowling Center, where preliminary qualifying and match play rounds of the TOC are taking place today through Friday, along with a “PBA Experience” pro-am event on Saturday. All preliminary rounds are being streamed live to a global audience on PBA’s subscription-based Xtra Frame online bowling channel (starting at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST each day). While a traditional bowling center can rarely accommodate more than 200-300 hundred fans, PBA’s video-streaming service allows Xtra Frame’s more than 8,000 subscribers around the world an opportunity to watch preliminary rounds of PBA competition.

For subscription information, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.

USBC MASTERS NEXT ON XTRA FRAME’S SCHEDULE

Xtra Frame’s exclusive live coverage of the 2016 “PBA Year of the Fan” season continues Tuesday, Feb. 9 thru Saturday, Feb. 13, with qualifying (Tuesday-Thursday) and three-game double-elimination match play rounds (Friday-Saturday) from Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.

In addition to Xtra Frame coverage, fans can follow free live scoring on pba.com and on bowl.com, USBC’s official website.

Xtra Frame subscription options include a three-day (72-hour) subscription for $3.99; a 30-day package for $7.99, and the 12-month XF Season Ticket for $64.99. To sign up, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link. New subscribers are automatically entered into monthly sweepstakes drawings for new high-performance bowling balls sponsored by MOTIV and DV8.

BILLY HARDWICK FAMILY TO SPONSOR NEW TEEN MASTERS SCHOLARSHIPS

In memory of the late PBA Hall of Famer Billy Hardwick, his widow Rebecca Hardwick has announced the Hardwick family will sponsor the Billy Hardwick Scholarships in conjunction with the annual Teen Masters Championships.

Hardwick, who retired from competition in 1977 and ran the 40-lane Billy Hardwick All-Star Lanes in Memphis in retirement, died in 2013.

“Billy was particularly proud of his center’s programs involving youth bowlers,” Rebecca Hardwick said, “so we are very excited about getting involved with the Teen Masters and we are looking forward to helping grow the event in his honor.”

Teen Masters founder Gary Beck said the scholarship program is a perfect fit for the message Hardwick and the Teen Masters program want to get across to youth bowlers.

“Billy Hardwick is the PBA poster child for perseverance, a life skill we teach through Teen Masters competition,” Beck said. “His story will serve as an inspirational lesson for all Teen Masters participants. Having the Hardwicks celebrate Billy’s legacy through these college scholarships is wonderful for our event and for all youth bowlers.”

Two $2,000 college scholarships, one for the top male and one for the top female, will be awarded to eligible candidates based on total pinfall (not including match play bonus pins) at the Teen Masters Championships. To be eligible, bowlers must meet the following criteria: Must be a high school senior, hold a cumulative GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, submit a letter of recommendation from a coach or teacher by June 1, and submit a 300-plus word essay on “How competitive bowling has taught me how to handle pressure in life” by June 1. Additional information is available at TeenMastersBowling.com.

WAYNE’S LANES IN “WAIT AND SEE” SITUATION FOR COMEBACK

BJI Cyber Report has reported that Wayne Lanes, a 12-lane center in Waynesboro, Va., that first opened in 1958, suffered a devastating roof collapse due to the heavy snowfall that hit the region over the Jan. 23 weekend. But is beginning to take steps to recover.

"I was just in shock and disbelief," proprietor Shawn Lavender told Bowlers Journal in an exclusive interview. "…So many people are tied to this center. I have been around it my whole life."

Although it was a small center, Lavender and the PBA found a way for it to host PBA regional events, including the Decker Appraisal Services Baker Trios event won in November by PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker; PBA Tour champion Jason Sterner, and PBA regional titlist Jeff Schrum.

The center immediately began receiving strong support.

"”I can't even tell you how many times my phone has rung from guys inside the PBA world and from local people to people that had just been to Wayne Lanes once or twice,” Lavender said. “It has been incredible."

Will Wayne Lanes be rebuilt?

"I think the chances each day continue to be much stronger," Lavender said. "It is just a wait-and-see situation right now. There are so many factors when you might rebuild. We have to see what the city has to say about it, and what the insurance company says… I am in the process of looking at buildings that can accommodate me."

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: BUTTURFF WINS FIRST REGIONAL TITLE IN RENO

Jakob Butturff of Chandler, Ariz., posted a 6-4 match play record and a 18-game total of 4,528 pins Sunday to win his first PBA Regional title in the PBA Sands Regency West/Northwest Winter Classic Open presented by Storm.

Butturff defeated Chris Ferreira of Visalia, Calif., by 185 pins to win the $2,000 first prize in the standard regional that was part of a tripleheader weekend.

In the companion PBA50 Open, Ron Mohr of Las Vegas went 6-2 in match play and knocked down 3,848 total pins for 16 games to top Dennis Horan Jr. of Oakley, Calif., by 33 pins for a $1,500 prize and his 18th PBA Regional title.

Kicking off the weekend on Friday, Miles Duty of Modesto, Calif., defeated Butturff, 299-202, to win $1,500 in the PBA Sands Regency Winter Challenge presented by Radical. The Challenge was open to players who had never won a PBA title.

● Leading into the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions, Anthony Pepe of Elmhurst, N.Y., ran away from top qualifier EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., 278-182, Sunday to win the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Southwest Winter Open at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla.

Tony Majcher of Rolling Meadows, Ill., defeated David Tyrell of Harlan, Iowa, 206-162, to win his first PBA Regional title and the $1,600 first prize in the PBA50 Tony Grigat Allstate Midwest Open at Arlington Lanes in Arlington Heights, Ill., Sunday.

Majcher defeated Curt Aemisegger of Waconda, Ill., 215-201, and Tyrell rolled past Mike Walters of Sheboygan, Wis., 255-191, in their respective semifinal round matches.

● PBA’s February regional schedule gets underway with the Break Point Alley Southern Challenge presented by DV8, a tournament for non-titlists, over the Feb. 5-7 weekend in Tavares, Fla.

● The Feb. 19-21 weekend includes two PBA Regionals, in the South and West Regions. Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., will host the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota South Open presented by 900 Global, and Gold Country Lanes in Sutter Creek, Calif., will host the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort Championship.

● Kicking off a busy March schedule over the March 4-6 weekend will be the PBA50 Victory Lanes Central Open presented by 900 Global in Galion, Ohio; the Lakewood Holiday Lanes Southwest Open presented by Storm in Lakewood, Colo.; the PBA50 Monte Skeels Allstate Midwest Open presented by Brunswick at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville, and the Caveman Bowl Northwest/West Open presented by DV8 in Grants Pass. Ore.

● The only regional activity over the March 13 weekend is the one-day PBA50 Thunderbowl Midwest Open presented by Columbia 300 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

● A busy regional schedule over the March 18-20 weekend includes the PBA50 Fayetteville South Open at Lafayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C.; the Odessa Southwest Open presented by Columbia 300 at Astro Bowl in Odessa, Texas; the PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open presented by DV8 in Virden, Ill.; the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Eastern Open in Elmira, N.Y., and the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau Central/East Open presented by Radical at Bell-Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio.

● The March regional calendar concludes over the March 25-27 weekend with the Cooperfield Bowl Houston Challenge presented by 900 Global in Houston, Texas; the South Point West Challenge and Member/Non-Member Doubles, both presented by Track, at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas.

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

Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., the runner-up in the 2015 GEICO Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year voting, was forced to withdraw from the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions due to a lingering illness. Eight-time PBA Tour champion and 2015 PBA50 Rookie of the Year Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, also withdrew due to a chronic plantar fasciitis issue.

● As expected, PBA founding member Carmen Salvino of Chicago broke his own record as the oldest player ever to bowl in a PBA Tour event when he threw his first ball in the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions on Tuesday, Feb., in Shawnee, Okla. Salvino, 82, broke the record he set a year earlier by bowling in the 2015 TOC in Indianapolis – 53 years after he finished third in the inaugural TOC in 1962 in Indianapolis.

● With his 20th career PBA Tour win in the DHC PBA Japan Invitational, Amleto Monacelli became the third-oldest player ever to win a PBA Tour title. The Venezuelan hall of famer won in Tokyo at the age of 54 years, 276 days. The record is held by John Handegard who won his only PBA Tour title in Kennewick, Wash., in 1995 at the age of 57 years, 139 days. Second-oldest was Buzz Fazio who won twice in 1964 and 1965 at the age of 56-plus.

● The HotelPlanner.com sweepstakes winner for January is Craig Goodwill, Monessen, Pa. By booking a room through HotelPlanner.com’s link on pba.com, Goodwill earned a $200 gift certificate for future lodging booked through PBA’s official travel partner.

Daron Hansen of Brooklyn Center, Minn., and Kevin Palmer of Coral Springs, Fla., were the January sweepstakes winners of new high-performance bowling balls sponsored by MOTIV and DV8. As new Xtra Frame subscribers, Hansen won a new MOTIV ball while Palmer won a DV8 ball. New subscribers (monthly plan $7.99 or 12-month XF Season Ticket for $64.99) are automatically entered into the monthly sweepstakes sponsored by the two members of the PBA’s Product Registered family.

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