Red-Hot Russell Rolls into PBA Players Championship Lead; Williams-Smallwood Duo Top Doubles Standings

by Bill Vint January 27, 2015 08:45

WAUWATOSA, Wis. – Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., arguably the hottest player on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, caught fire after an opening 212 game and rolled into the first round lead in the PBA Players Championship Tuesday at AMF Bowlero.

Russell, who is trying for his third PBA Tour title, finished the eight-game opening round with games of 268, 289, 259, 234, 247, 238 and 269 for a 2,016 pinfall total – a 252 average – and a 135-pin lead over DJ Archer of Friendswood, Texas. Newly-crowned PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia, who threw one of the eight 300 games bowled during the opening round, was third with 1,964 pins.

Russell, a 35-year-old, 11-year PBA Tour veteran, is coming off a stellar-year when he won the PBA Bear Open and was the only player to qualify for three television shows during the recent GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling. He said his hot streak is a matter of confidence and relaxation.

“I’m just throwing it and taking full advantage of it over everything,” he said. “I’m very loose. I feel good. I’m enjoying bowling. I threw 212 the first game, but I didn’t panic. I just kept throwing it, figured it out and pins started falling.

“The players out here are so good, if you start putting expectations on yourself, you’re going to get yourself in trouble,” he said. ““I’m just letting things happen.”

In the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship qualifying which is being held concurrently with the Players Championship, PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Fla., and his partner, Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., combined for 3,855 pins – a composite 240.94 average – to take a 56-pin lead over Russell and his partner, Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, who finished with 3,799 pins.

The final four games of Players Championship and Roth/Holman Doubles qualifying will take place at 8 a.m. CT Wednesday, with the top 24 individuals and top 12 doubles teams advancing to match play. Players Championship finalists will bowl three eight-game match play rounds Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., and Thursday at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the top five after 36 games advancing to the stepladder finals on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.

The top 12 teams will bowl two six-game, Baker format match play rounds at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. CT on Friday. After a composite total of 36 qualifying and Baker games, the top five teams will advance to the Roth/Holman PBA Doubles Championship finals on Sunday, Feb. 15, at Woodland Bowl, following the live 1 p.m. telecast of the 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions finals.

The PBA Players Championship finals will air on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. ET. The PBA Doubles show will air on ESPN on March 1 at 1 p.m. ET.

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

PBA PLAYER CHAMPIONSHIP
AMF Bowlero, Wauwatosa, Wis., Jan. 17

First Round (after 8 games)

1, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 2,016.
2, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 1,981.
3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 1,964.
4, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 1,943.
5, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 1,920.
6, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,912.
7, Dom Barrett, England, 1,889.
8, Brian Himmler, Cincinnati, 1,886.
9, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 1,876.
9, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, 1,876.
11, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1,875.
12, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 1,874.
13, Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., 1,863.
14, Dean Billings, Rootstown, Ohio, 1,859.
15, Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., 1,858.
16, Dave Wodka, Beaver Creek, Ohio, 1,857.
17, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 1,852.
18, Dan MacLelland, Saginaw, Mich., 1,850.
19, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, Ariz., 1,849.
20, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,844.
21, Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 1,841.
22, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 1,830.
23 (tie), Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, and Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 1,829.
25, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 1,824.
26, Jon VanHees, Charlestown, R.I., 1,819.
27, Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., 1,816.
28, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 1,811.
29, Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill., 1,810.
30, Patrick Girard, Canada, 1,809.
31 (tie), Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., and Tom Baker, King, N.C., 1,807.
33, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 1,806.
34 (tie), Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., and Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 1,799.
36, John Szczerbinski, N. Tonowanda, N.Y., 1,798.
37, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,792.
38, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 1,790.
39, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,783.
40, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 1,779.
41, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 1,775.
42, Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 1,774.
43, Mike DeVaney, San Diego, Calif., 1,770.
44, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 1,768.
45, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla., 1,767.
46, Blake Demore, Springfield, Mo., 1,763.
47 (tie), Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., and Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,761.
49 (tie), Nathan Bohr, Austin, Texas; Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., and Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 1,760.
52, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 1,752.
53, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 1,745.
54, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 1,743.
55, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,742.
56, Paul Moor, England, 1,741.
57, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 1,740.
58, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 1,733.
59, Bob Learn Jr, Erie, Pa., 1,728.
60, Aaron Lorincz, Saginaw, Mich., 1,717.
61, John Furey, Freehold, N.J., 1,716.
62 (tie), J.R. Raymond, Bay City, Mich., and John Ferraro, Kingston, N.Y., 1,713.
64, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,712.
65 (tie), Stuart Williams, England, and Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 1,711.
67, Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, 1,710.
68, David Haynes, Las Vegas, 1,704.
69 (tie), Osku Palermaa, Finland, and Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 1,702.
71 (tie), Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., and Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 1,694.
73, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,688.
74, Chad Lusche, Arvada, Colo., 1,680.
75, Steven Arehart, Chesapeake, Va., 1,668.
76, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 1,660.
77, Julio Cesar Blancas, Mexico, 1,647.
78 (tie), Chad Roberts, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and Brad Miller, St. Charles, Mo., 1,643.
80, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 1,639.
81, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 1,632.
82, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 1,630.
83, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 1,627.
84, Missy Parkin, Lake Forest, Calif., 1,606.
85, Humberto Vazquez, Mexico, 1,599.

300 Games (8): Mike Fagan, Dave Wodka, Jason Belmonte, Dom Barrett, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Josh Blanchard, Brian Himmler, Chad Roberts.

MARK ROTH/MARSHALL HOLMAN PBA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

First Round (after 16 composite games)
1, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich./Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 3,855.
2, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio/Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3,799.
3, Jason Belmonte, Australia/Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3,709.
4, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas/Shawn Maldonado, Houston, Texas, 3,692.
5, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas/Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., 3,683.
6, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz./Dan MacLelland, Canada, 3,649.
7 (tie), Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y./Jonathan Bower, Middletown, Pa., and Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla./Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 3,634.
9, J.R. Raymond, Bay City, Mich./Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 3,633.
10, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas/Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,628.
11, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla./Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,619.
12, Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill./John Szczerbinski, Columbus, Ohio, 3,608.
13, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla./Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 3,599.
14, Dom Barrett, England/Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,591.
15, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind./Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,585.
16, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla./Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., 3,583.
17, Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa./John Furrey, Freehold, N.J., 3,574.
18, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash./EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 3,569.
19, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix/Stuart Williams, England, 3,560.
20, Aaron Lorincz, Saginaw, Mich./Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 3,558.
21, Thomas Larsen, Denmark/Paul Moor, England, 3,533.
22 (tie), John Ferraro, Kingston, N.Y./John VanHees, Charlestown, R.I., and Mike Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich./Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,532.
24, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga./Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 3,522.
25, Nathan Bohr, Austin, Texas/Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 3,521.
26, Bob Learn Jr., Erie, Pa./Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 3,518.
27, Dave Wodka, Columbus, Ohio/Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 3,517.
29, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa/Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 3,515.
30, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C./Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 3,495.
31 (tie), Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas/Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, and David Haynes, Las Vegas/Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 3,478.
33, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas/Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,456.
34, Blake DeMore, Springfield, Mo./Chad Lusche, Arvada, Colo., 3,443.
35, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J./Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3,414.
36, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif./Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., 3,412.
37, Andres Gomez, Colombia/Martin Larsen, Sweden, 3,374.
38, Julio Cesar Blancas/Humberto Vazquez, Mexico, 3,246.

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Australia’s Jason Belmonte Wins Second Consecutive Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Award

by Bill Vint January 26, 2015 10:22

MILWAUKEE -- With another outstanding record in 2014 PBA Tour major championships, Australian two-handed competitor Jason Belmonte picked up where he left off in 2012-13 to earn his second consecutive GEICO Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year award.

Belmonte, along 2014 Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.; Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner Brett Spangler of Niles, Ohio, and Tony Reyes PBA Community Service Award winner Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, Calif., were recognized during a presentation webcast live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel Monday in advance of the PBA Players Championship/Mark Roth–Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship preliminary rounds which get underway Tuesday at AMF Bowlero in suburban Milwaukee.

An overwhelming winner in balloting among his fellow competitors and a panel of veteran bowling journalists over Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas, and Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., Belmonte won three PBA Tour titles in 2014 including back-to-back majors in the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions and United States Bowling Congress Masters. He also won the Oklahoma Open during the Grand Casino Resort Summer Swing, and led the PBA Tour in earnings ($163,788), average (226.71) and competition points (136,454).

He is the only two-handed player to win the PBA Player of the Year award. He joined Venezuela’s Amleto Monacelli (1989 and ’90) as the second international player to win PBA Player of the Year honors in back-to-back years, and he joined Monacelli and Finland’s Mika Koivuniemi as the third foreign-born player to win PBA’s highest annual honor twice. Belmonte is the sixth player to win the POY award in consecutive years. Walter Ray Williams Jr., Earl Anthony (twice) and Mark Roth all won the honor three years in a row.

During the 2014 season, Belmonte defeated Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, with a strike on his last shot to win the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions by a single pin in January at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., 219-218. A month later, he defeated top qualifier EJ Tackett of Huntingon, Ind., 221-177, to become the third player to win back-to-back Masters titles, joining Hall of Famers Billy Welu (1964 and 1965) and Dick Hoover (1956 and 1957) in that exclusive club. The 31-year-old Australian then won four straight matches on a demanding Bear lane condition to win the Oklahoma Open, defeating Tackett in the title match, 193-145, for his 10th career title.

“The PBA boasts the best bowlers in the world and we aspire to be the best of the best,” Belmonte said. “To be standing here, holding this award again, is very special.

“I don’t put myself in the category of the other guys who have won Player of the Year back-to-back,” he added, “but one day I hope I can join that elite group.

“I also want to thank the haters,” Belmonte said of those who criticize his two-handed style. “It seems like the more you hate, the better I bowl, so keep it up.”

Kent, one of the Tour’s top young stars at age 23, won the Saudi Arabia Kingdom International Open in December for first PBA Tour title. He defeated Sweden’s Martin Larsen, 257-206, in championship match. Prior to joining the PBA in the summer of 2014, Kent won the Brunswick Euro Challenge in Munich, Germany, as an amateur.

Kent, a former collegiate star at Robert Morris-Illinois University, also finished fourth in the Badger Open, his first television appearance as a PBA member, losing to Brian Valenta in the second stepladder match, 236-165. He dominated PBA rookies for the season, earning $32,528 and averaging 217.03 in only a half season as a professional.

“(Winning Rookie of the Year) was the main goal when I joined and to be able to accomplish that feels great,” Kent said. “It’s an honor and a privilege, and to get my first title, too, makes it even better. It was just in time for me to bowl in the 50th anniversary PBA Tournament of Champions.”

Also during the Xtra Frame webcast, PBA awarded its prestigious Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award, selected by PBA Tour players, to Brent Spangler of Niles, Ohio. The 33-year-old, nine-year PBA member has gained the respect and admiration of his fellow competitors not only on the lanes, but for his help as a representative for MOTIV bowling balls.

“Winning (the Nagy award) was a surprise. Actually, being nominated was a surprise,” Spangler said. “I’ve worked really hard on my physical game in order to become competitive, but the thing I really wanted to do when I came out on tour was to exemplify the principles I believe in – being nice to other people, earning respect, that kind of thing. I guess at least some people took notice.”

In Nagy voting among PBA Tour players, Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., and four-time Nagy winner Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., tied for second place behind Spangler.

Established in 1966, the Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award is named after the late PBA Hall of Famer and founding members of the PBA. A colorful and talented performer, Nagy made such an impact on his fellow pros that the award was established shortly after his death.

Parkin, a three-time PBA Regional titlist, earned the second Tony Reyes Award which recognizes a PBA member for outstanding community service, charitable and/or educational contributions over the course of a PBA Tour season. The first woman to join the PBA when the opportunity became available in 2004, Parkin was recognized largely for her work in organizing the Baby Reesa Foundation fundraiser which supports families with children born with Krabbe Disease and has raised more than $20,000.

Parkin is a staunch supporter of the sport, serving as a volunteer USA Bowling and Junior Gold instructor. She regularly donates her time organizing other charity bowling tournaments. She also provides autographed jerseys, bowling balls and photos that are auctioned for charities such as BVL, Ronald McDonald Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Junior Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

”I’m very surprised,” Parkin said. “Just the fact that the award is named after Tony makes it very special. He was a special guy. His smile would light up any room he walked into. To receive an award named for him is such an honor.”

The Reyes award is named after the popular PBA Tour titlist who died in September 2012 of injuries sustained in a traffic accident near his home in San Bruno, Calif. Parker Bohn III was the first Tony Reyes award recipient in 2014.

For a complete list of PBA Players of the Year, click here: http://news.pba.com/post/2014/01/17/Australiae28099s-Jason-Belmonte-Named-2012-13-Chris-Schenkel-PBA-Player-of-the-Year.aspx

For a complete list of PBA Rookies of the Year, click here: http://news.pba.com/page/Harry-Golden-PBA-Rookie-of-the-Year-Award.aspx

For a complete list of Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winners, click here: http://news.pba.com/page/Steve-Nagy-Sportsmanship-Award.aspx

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Koivuniemi, Kulick Win WBT Finals Titles; Experimental “Frame Play” Scoring System Unveiled

by Bill Vint January 25, 2015 06:54

LAS VEGAS – Experimental scoring system or not, veteran professional champions Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, Mich., and Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., proved great bowling prevails as winners of the fourth annual World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals, presented by the Professional Bowlers Association, at the new South Point Bowling Plaza.

The World Bowling Tour Finals, presented by the Professional Bowlers Association, was the concluding event of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VI. It featured three men and three women who earned their berths in the finals through a two-year global competition points race conducted jointly by World Bowling, the international governing body for tenpin bowling, and the PBA. The finals aired Sunday on ESPN.

Koivuniemi, a Finnish native and 14-time PBA Tour champion, won his second WBT Men’s title in a tightly-contested 1-up, 12-frame battle against Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., while Kulick won her second consecutive WBT Women’s Finals title with a 3 & 2 decision over Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y.

The scores, reminiscent of Ryder Cup golf competition, were based on a “frame play” scoring system where the primary goal was to win each frame, and then win more frames than your opponent can possibly win in a 12-frame contest. For example, a strike by Player A would win the frame of an opponent who got nine pins on his/her first ball, and if Player A wins seven frames with only five remaining, he/she would win the match, 7 & 5.

The “frame play” system is being tested by World Bowling as an alternative for international match play competition, to make scoring in bowling more easily understood by the non-bowling public and, hopefully, more attractive to the International Olympic Committee.

In the Koivuniemi-Rash match, both players struck in six of their first seven shots to stand “all-square” with five frames to go. Koivuniemi struck in the eighth and ninth while Rash got eight and nine pins, respectively, to take a 2-up lead. Rash got back to within one point when he won the 10th frame, 9-7. Both struck in frame 11. Koivuniemi, protecting his fragile lead, matched Rash’s strike in the 12th frame for the 1-up victory.

In the men’s semifinal match, Rash eliminated Australia’s Jason Belmonte, 3 & 2, taking a 3-point lead after six frames and throwing another string of four strikes to shut out the reigning PBA Player of the Year with two frames to go.

Kulick’s string of three strikes early in the women’s final match gave her a 1-up lead after six frames, and she gained a 2-up edge with a 9-8 win in frame eight followed by a strike-7 win to go 3-up after nine frames. Both players went nine/spare in frame 10 to give Kulick a 3 & 2 victory.

The women’s semifinal match might have been the most dramatic contest under the new system. Andersson struck on six of her first seven shots to take a 3-up lead over Johnson, but Johnson answered with her own string of five strikes to pull the contest to all-square after 12 frames, and then won the match, 1-up in the 13th frame, with a strike while Andersson left a 4 pin.

The six players involved in the WBT Finals had varying viewpoints about the scoring system.

Koivuniemi said, “It was pretty easy to strike on this (lane conditioning) pattern, but you probably have a little more pressure on every shot in this format than normal because every shot means a little more. It’s still bowling and I like to throw more spares because I usually find a way to grind when conditions are tough. I keep myself close by throwing spares.

“I don’t mind (the format), but I’d like to see it on a tougher pattern to see how it goes. Right now, nobody throws spares, but this (format) is made for more non-bowlers. If they like and it helps save bowling, I have nothing against it. But I personally don’t think scoring is the problem (with the sport).”

Rash said, “I liked and enjoyed how every frame had pressure which kept me focused. I don't have a conclusion because this was a test run and I’m sure there will be a few tweaks to help make it even better going forward. The change I hope that is made is to add the spare shooting somehow.
“Overall, I look forward to the changes and look forward to being a part of a future show. If this will help bring more sponsors, more fans, more TV and publicity to our sport, I am all for it.”

Belmonte said, “My strategy, no matter what the scoring format is, is to strike. So from that standpoint, I don’t think it had any impact. I was very open-minded to this scoring system. I didn’t have any preconceived thoughts. I wanted to give it every possible chance to influence my thoughts without bias.

“My personal feeling is that I don’t believe the scoring system has anything to do with the decline in popularity of bowling. It fell a little flat for me, because I didn’t think the fans were into a regular-scored match. What I loved about it was that the World Bowling isn’t afraid to try new things. I admire and respect the leaders of World Bowling and I will always support the organization, even if my personal opinions are different than theirs.”

Kulick said, “You still have to show up, you still have to make shots. Every shot is precious. Usually, under conventional scoring, if you get a three-bagger and get a little ahead, your swing gets loosened up a bit, but frame-for-frame, every shot is crucial.

“As a player, my adrenalin was higher than if we were keeping score normally. I don’t know what my score would have been. Maybe I would have been up by 30 pins or so going into the 10th frame, but frame-for-frame, it comes down to execution. Maybe a little luck, but mostly execution.”

Johnson said, “It was definitely exciting. I honestly wasn’t all for it because I didn’t know much about it, but in the first match, it worked in my favor because I had a 4-9 and a 5-7 (splits that only counted as one lost point). Once I got to the end of the first match, I liked it a little better.

“It kept things exciting for the fans. I don’t know if I’m a fan of it for every week, personally, but it definitely adds a little excitement to the mix. If that’s what it takes to (get put into the Olympic Games program), if that’s what it takes to get more fans for bowling, then, yeah, I’m for it.”

Andersson said, “It was different. I haven’t made up my mind about how I feel about it. But my mindset was still the same. It was one shot at a time. I tried to repeat my shots. As long as I throw it good, there’s nothing more I can do.

“It was hard for me to keep up with the scoring system. I really didn’t know what was going on while I was bowling. It’s new, but it’s missing out on one important thing, and that’s making spare shots. For me, if you can’t make your spare shots, you’re not going to win. That’s bowling in my eyes.”

The PBA Tour returns to action Jan. 19-25 with qualifying and match play rounds in the PBA Players Championship and Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship at AMF Bowlero in Wauwatosa, Wis. Preliminary rounds will be covered live by PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame.

The ESPN-televised championship rounds in both events will be contested Feb. 14-15 as part of the 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions celebration at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. The Players Championship will air on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. ET and the Doubles Championship will air on March 1 at 1 p.m. ET.

WORLD BOWLING TOUR FINALS
presented by the Professional Bowling Association
South Point Bowling Center, Las Vegas

MEN’S FINALS
Championship
: Mika Koivuniemi, Finland-Hartland, Mich. ($20,000) def. Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill. ($10,000), 1-up in 12 frames.
Semifinal Match: Rash def. Jason Belmonte, Australia ($5,000), 3 & 2.

WOMEN’S FINALS
Championship
: Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J. ($20,000) def. Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y. ($10,000), 3 & 2.
Semifinal Match: Johnson def. Sandra Andersson, Sweden ($5,000), 1-up in 13 frames.

UNDERSTANDING THE EXPERIMENTAL WORLD BOWLING “FRAME PLAY” SCORING SYSTEM
The experimental system impacts how the sport is scored as well as the format for singles match play competition. It was used during the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by the PBA during the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VI on a trial basis to help gather player, fan and news media input. Here’s how the system works:
1) A match will involve 12 frames.
2) In each frame, each player will throw one shot.
3) If Player A gets a higher pin count than Player B, he/she will win the frame.
4) If both players strike, the frame will be tied.
5) If neither player strikes, but each has the same pin count, each player will try to convert the spare. If both successfully convert their spares, the frame will be a tie. If one player has a higher pin count than the other after two shots, that player will win the frame.
6) Scoring for the match will reflect who has won the most frames (example, 1 up, 2 up, etc. All-square means the match is tied).
7) At the point one player has won more frames than frames remain (example: 3 up after 10 frames), he/she will be declared the winner.
If a match is “all-square” after 12 frames, the tie will be broken using the single-frame format described above until the tie is broken.

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PBA Charter Member Chuck Pezzano Dies at 86

by Bill Vint January 23, 2015 13:14

CHICAGO – Chuck Pezzano of Clifton, N.J., a charter member of the Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Fame and widely recognized as the dean of bowling journalists, died Friday of cardiac arrest while undergoing a stent procedure at St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic, N.J. He turned 86 on Jan. 14.

Since the formation of the PBA in 1958, no one has contributed more to the organization in so many different ways than Pezzano, a founding member of the organization.

Born in Paterson, N.J., in 1929, Pezzano lived his entire life in New Jersey. After graduating from Rutgers University, he started his writing career with the Paterson Morning Call in 1952 and continued writing for The Record in Bergen County until his death, more than 60 years later. Over the years, he contributed to more than 100 publications round the world and authored or co-authorized more than a dozen books about bowling.

Pezzano first became involved with the PBA as a top-flight competitor. He was the first collegiate bowler in the United States to bowl an 800 series. One of his proudest accomplishments as a bowler was joining his four sons – Charles Jr., Craig, Curt and Clay – as the first father and four sons to bowl 300 games.

But his legacy off the lanes far surpassed his credentials as a player as he evolved into the most prolific bowling writer in history.

In the 1960s, Pezzano and fellow New Jersey entrepreneur/PBA Hall of Famer Frank Esposito created the PBA Regional program, creating a close-to-home, affordable competition arena for thousands of would-be professional bowlers to develop their skills.

He was the first Meritorious Service inductee in the inaugural PBA Hall of Fame class in 1975, and later inducted into the United States Bowling Congress and Bowling Writers Association of America Halls of Fame, among his 12 halls of fames.

In addition to his prolific writing contributions, Pezzano was a television pioneer, working with hall of fame broadcasters Mel Allen, Chris Schenkel, Jack Buck, Brent Musberger, Al Trautwig and others. He worked as a consultant on television, movie and instructional videos, and traveled the country serving as an emcee and guest speaker at hundreds of bowling functions.

Pezzano also was heavily involved in PBA business affairs, running the PBA East Region for 20 years. He was secretary of the PBA Hall of Fame for nearly 20 years, and served as the organization’s official historian for longer than that. He helped open the door for women bowling writers to join the previously all-male Bowling Writers Association of America (which later named its scholarship program in his honor) and he was a lifelong advocate for high school and collegiate bowling. He was actively involved in charitable fundraisers, and worked closely with curator Bruce Pluckhahn in planning exhibits for the “new” International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in St. Louis.

When the PBA dedicated its pressroom in his honor in 2011, Pezzano said, “It was Will Rogers who noted that he never met a man he didn't like. I won't go that far but I will say that I never met someone in bowling that I didn't like something about.

“Through bowling I have traveled more than three million miles, visited every state, and places such as Las Vegas and Reno more than 150 times, delved into the history of the sport, learning about the roles of women, minorities, bowling communications and halls of fame. Writing, broadcasting, speaking, serving on special committees (18 hall of fame committees) being involved in major innovations to and for the sport that provide endless fodder for all bowling involvements. The goal always is to just do

everything a little better than it has been done.”

Failing health had limited his travel in recent years, but Pezzano never stopped wanting to help.

“Chuck called me a week ago, still trying to help the PBA,” PBA Commissioner Tom Clark said Friday. “He’s an icon, prolific and multi-talented. There will never be another like him. He’ll be greatly missed.”

Pezzano is survived by his four sons, grandchildren Amanda Rose Pezzano and Jarod Charles Pezzano, and brothers Russell and Arnold Pezzano. He was preceded in death by his wife Lila (nee Grosser) in 1983, brother William and sister Joan.

Services are pending.

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PBA Spare Shots: Lucky Fan Could Win a Chance to Bowl with Chris Paul in 2016

by Bill Vint January 23, 2015 07:19

NBA star Chris Paul, host of the CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational, is offering a lucky fan an opportunity to bowl with the Los Angeles Clippers’ all-star guard during the 2016 celebrity fundraiser in Los Angeles. The winning fan and a friend will win an expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles, free hotel accommodations, and a chance to meet Paul and his celebrity friends.

To enter, you need to pick the finalists and winner in the 2015 CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational. You need to visit this link: https://www.crowdrise.com/cp3foundation and click on the “Donate and Play for a chance to win” link where you will you be asked to select the two celebrity finalists and the winner. A “Player Bios” link also will give you some insight into the celebrity bowlers’ backgrounds.

For each $10 contribution you make to Paul’s CP3 Foundation, you get one entry into the contest. Entries close at 12 p.m. PT on Sunday, Feb. 1. The CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational will air on ESPN on Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

XTRA FRAME TO COVER PLAYER, ROOKIE OF THE YEAR ANNOUNCEMENTS MONDAY

Xtra Frame will kick off five days of extensive live coverage of the PBA Players Championship and Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship qualifying and match play rounds with a live presentation show Monday at 5:30 p.m. ET, when PBA Commissioner Tom Clark will announce the 2014 GEICO Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year, Harry Golden Rookie of the Year, Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner and the winner of the 2014 Tony Reyes Community Service Award.

PBA Players and Doubles Championship coverage will follow from AMF Bowlero in Milwaukee starting Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET and continuing through Friday. The PBA Network will have full coverage of the competition throughout its diverse media outlets.

For a complete schedule of upcoming events on Xtra Frame, click here: http://www.pba.com/Live/. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link. Full year Xtra Frame Season Ticket subscriptions are available for $64.99; one-month subscriptions are only $7.99. Xtra Frame is a major component of the PBA’s multi-media PBA Network.

TICKETS FOR ESPN TELECASTS IN INDIANAPOLIS NOW AVAILABLE

Tickets for the live ESPN telecast of the 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions, and finals of the PBA Players Championship and Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship, over the Feb. 14-15 weekend at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis are now on sale on pba.com.

The “tripleheader” ESPN weekend begins with the finals of the PBA Players Championship on Saturday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. ET for delayed broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. ET. The Tournament of Champions stepladder finals will air live on Sunday, Feb. 15, at 1 p.m. The Roth/Holman Doubles finals will be contested at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday for telecast on Sunday, March 1, at 1 p.m. ET.

For ticket information, click here: http://www.pba.com/Tickets/.

PBA NETWORK SIGNS SPONSORSHIP PACT WITH LEAGUE PALS

PBA Network, the PBA’s multi-platform media service, has signed a sponsorship agreement with League Pals, a new service that is designed to automate and streamline the cash flow of league bowling. The unique platform enables bowlers and bowling centers to track weekly payments, view stats and standings, search nearby leagues, create and fill teams, receive payments electronically, and more.

"It's 2015 and there are over $2.25 billion in league bowling dues being tracked and collected each year with a paper envelope and a pencil,” said LeaguePals co-founder and CEO Bill Savastano. “LeaguePals set out to introduce much needed technology in a unique and inclusive way to an industry we have a deep and unwavering passion for. We feel LeaguePals will breathe new life into leagues across the nation by starting with the most important pieces - the bowlers, the centers, and how they pay and get paid."

For a preview of what League Pals has to offer, view the introductory video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2mbQFILJmI

As part of the sponsorship package, League Pals will have a rotating ad on pba.com throughout February, presenting sponsor and other visibilities on PBA’s online video streaming service, Xtra Frame, throughout the USBC Masters (Feb. 2-7 in Green Bay, Wis.), and prominent links on PBA’s Facebook page and Twitter account.

For information about how to enroll in the League Pals program, visit: www.leaguepals.com.

BARRETT, KULICK TOP WORLD BOWLING TOUR POINTS LISTS AT END OF 2014

At the conclusion of the 2014 season – including the finals of the PBA World Championship – England’s Dom Barrett is the World Bowling Tour men’s points leader, and for the first time since the cooperative PBA-World Bowling international competition began four years ago, Finnish native Mika Koivuniemi is not among the top three men.

Koivuniemi is the defending WBT Men’s champion and the only male to win that title twice.

Barrett made his move to the top of the two-year, rolling points list with a 10th-place finish in the PBA World Championship, a successful defense of his Qatar Open title and a fifth-place finish in the Kingdom International Open in Saudi Arabia to close the year with 588 WBT points. Reigning PBA World Champion Mike Fagan is second with 582 points, Sean Rash third with 560, Australia’s Jason Belmonte fourth at 532 and Koivuniemi is fifth with 531 in the race for the top three positions for the 2015 WBT Men’s Finals which will be held as part of PBA World Series of Bowling VII in Las Vegas in the fall. Rounding out the men’s top 10 with a full schedule of PBA International-World Bowling Tour events yet to come in 2015 are Tommy Jones (467), Finland’s Osku Palermaa (444), Sweden’s Martin Larsen (394), Chris Barnes (378) and England’s Stuart Williams (338).

Two-time defending WBT Women’s champion Kelly Kulick has a big lead on the women’s points list (698), 149 points head of Liz Johnson (559). Sweden’s Sandra Andersson is third (421) followed by Singapore’s Jazreel Tan (394) and Shayna Ng (348), Missy Parkin (318), Colombia’s Clara Guerrero (286), Singapore’s Cheri Tan (283), Danielle McEwan (253) and Sweden’s Joline Persson Planefors (251).

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: TOURNAMENT ACTIVITY BACK IN FULL SWING IN FEBRUARY

PBA Regional activity returns to full swing in February, following the end-of-month Don Vay Memorial Regular/PBA50 Doubles Central Classic presented by Ebonite at Legend Lanes in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Jan. 23-25.

● The Feb. 6-8 weekend includes the Break Point Alley South Challenge presented by DV8, a tournament for non-title winners, in Tavares, Fla., and the PBA50 Tony Grigat Allstate Midwest/Central Open at River Rand Lanes in Des Plaines, Ill.

● The Feb. 20-22 weekend includes the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota South Open presented by Ebonite in Spartanburg, S.C.; the Lakewood Colorado Southwest Open at Holiday Bowling and Billiards; the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort West Championship at Gold Country Lanes in Sutter Creek, Calif., and the Lynwood Midwest Challenge presented by Roto Grip, a non-titlists event, at Lynwood Bowl in Lynwood, 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

2014 PBA Regional Challenge winner Josh Blanchard and wife Aimee are the proud new parents of Madalyn Marie Blanchard, who arrived at 1:13 p.m. on Jan. 16. Vital statistics: Madalyn weighed in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces and measured 21 inches long.

● PBA Hall of Famer Brian Voss, who has competed extensively in Europe over the past three years, added the 27th Irish Open title to his collection on Jan. 18, defeating fellow American Ron Hurt, 439-386, in the two-game title match at Leisureplex Stillorgan in Dublin, Ireland. Voss, a 25-time PBA Tour titlist, earned 5,000 Euros (roughly $5,600) along with his fourth European Bowling Tour title.

● Reminder: if you missed Sunday’s ESPN telecast of the PBA Challenge presented by the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, all GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VI telecasts are archived on Xtra Frame three days after they air on ESPN. Click on the “2014 WSOB archives” tab on the left side of the Xtra Frame home page for a complete listing of archived shows.

● Reminder: HotelPlanner.com, the official travel partner of the PBA, has renewed its sweepstakes program for 2015 and will award a $200 lodging gift certificate to a lucky winner each month all year. To enter, book a hotel room through HotelPlanner.com using one of the links below before the last day of the month, and you will be automatically entered. The monthly drawing will take place on the last day of the month. The $200 gift certificate will be valid for hotel room and tax only.

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