PBA Spare Shots

by PBA Editor November 27, 2007 19:00
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This Week
The seventh event of the 2007-08 Denny’s PBA Tour and the fourth and final 2007 PBA Women’s Series event take place this week at Spectrum Lanes in Wyoming, Mich., with the 2007 Great Lakes Classic, Nov. 28-Dec. 2. The event, which starts Wednesday with the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round, features a single elimination match play format, with the top four men and top two women advancing to the live ESPN-televised finals, Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. EST on ESPN.

This marks the seventh consecutive season Spectrum Lanes has hosted a Denny’s PBA Tour event, tied for second-longest current run of any center. Last season, the center hosted a PBA Major event for the first time as Doug Kent captured the 2007 Denny’s World Championship for his second Major title of the season, which ultimately propelled him to the 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year award. Other exempt bowlers who have won in the center include Patrick Allen, Tommy Jones, Eugene McCune, Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Danny Wiseman.

The week marks the fourth and final PBA Women’s Series event, a special four-event mini Tour sponsored by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) which features 16 of the top female bowlers in the world. The ladies took last week off for the Thanksgiving holidays following wins by Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Shannon Pluhowsky and Joy Esterson in the first three events.

Last Week
For three matches, it looked as if Brad Angelo – after years of heartbreak and close calls – would become the second bowler in as many weeks to break a long drought and win his first career Denny’s PBA Tour title, a la Michael Haugen Jr. in the previous week’s Lake County Indiana Classic.

Angelo used one of Haugen’s secrets on Sunday in the CLR Windy City Classic at Hawthorn Lanes, showing up late to the pre-show warm-ups, hoping to avoid the build-up of nervous energy that he had in his past 12 championship round appearances. The move looked to pay off as a relaxed Angelo blew past No. 4 seed Ritchie Allen, 265-168, and No. 3 Mika Koivuniemi, 256-233. In the third match, however, Angelo suddenly lost his look and it appeared the run might come to an end. Making his third consecutive championship round appearance, Chris Barnes could not take advantage, however, and in a match that turned ugly in a hurry, Angelo and Barnes traded open frames until Barnes’ fifth split and fourth open in the 10th frame gave Angelo a spot in his fourth career title match with a 162-151 win.

Just when it looked like the No. 5 seed Angelo was destined to finally win his first title, the Lockport, N.Y., native ran into another man on a mission, Robert Smith. Standing far left and launching the ball over the gutter a quarter of the way down the lane, the powerful 33-year-old used his unique style to edge Angelo, 223-205, and capture his seventh career title and first since 2004. It was a full-circle finish for Smith, who was coming off a 2006-07 season in which he bowled just four events and had to defer his exemption due to a hip injury. On Sunday, Smith proved that not only was he healthy, he still possesses the skills and fire that made him one of the top young players in the game.

This Week's Schedule
The 2007 Great Lakes Classic at Spectrum Lanes gets underway Wednesday with the Denny’s PBA Tour Qualifying Round (TQR), which will be followed Wednesday evening by the official PBA Practice Session at 4:30 p.m. The top 10 PBA members and the top amateur in the TQR will advance to Thursday’s Round of 64, which features two seven-game qualifying blocks from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. PBA Women’s Series qualifying runs simultaneously with the men’s Round of 64, with all 16 women bowling 14 games.

The field will be cut to the top 32 men and top eight women who will advance to single elimination match play on Friday. The Denny’s PBA Tour Round of 32 gets underway at 9 a.m. followed by the Round of 16 and PBA Women’s Series Round of 8 at 2 p.m. The evening wraps up with the men’s Round of 8 and the women’s Round of 4 at 7 p.m. to determine the finalists for Sunday’s live ESPN-televised championship round.

Saturday is a day for the fans as PBA Pro-Ams and Fan Day take place at Spectrum Lanes. Pro-Ams take place at 9 a.m. (juniors), 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, the top four men and two women will battle it out for their respective titles. The men’s semifinal matches take place first, followed by the final Women’s Series title match with the winner taking home $10,000. The men’s title match concludes the championship round with the winner earning $25,000 and a one-year Denny’s PBA Tour exemption.

Double-Digit Spots Available Again
After a record 11 PBA members earned spots in the Round of 64 via the Wednesday TQR the last two weeks, the top 10 members will earn a place in the field this week as six exempt bowlers have withdrawn from Great Lakes Classic competition.

The injury bug has hit the Tour hard as several bowlers continue to remain out of commission. Jason Couch has officially received an injury deferment until the 2008-09 season due to a knee injury and his exemption will go back to the Tour Qualifying Round, giving at least five PBA members a place in the Round of 64 each week. Also withdrawing this week were: Jeff Carter, Norm Duke, Patrick Healey Jr., Tony Reyes and Pete Weber.

The increase in spots bodes well for many bowlers chasing an exemption via the PBA World Point Rankings. The high non-exempt bowler at season’s end will earn a spot on the 2008-09 Tour. Additionally, a handful of bowlers have advanced through the Tour Qualifying Round and earned a spot in the ESPN TV finals the same week, including Jeff Lizzi earlier in the season in the Motor City Classic. Sean Rash in 2006 and Mike Mineman in 2007 each won titles the same week they qualified through the Wednesday TQR.

Women’s Series Returns
The inaugural PBA Women’s Series wraps up this week with the fourth and final event at Spectrum Lanes. The series has been a huge success so far, with many of the world’s top female bowlers strutting their stuff week in and week out while some of the top rising stars in the game have also emerged.

Carolyn Dorin-Ballard won the series’ first event as the 20-time Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) champion knocked off young star Missy Bellinder to win the Motor City Classic. Youth was served the next week when 25-year-old Shannon Pluhowsky defeated USBC and PWBA Hall of Famer Tish Johnson to win the Etonic Championship. Another rising star won the season’s third event as Joy Esterson won a thrilling title match in the Lake County Indiana Classic, defeating 11-time PWBA champion and 2007 U.S. Women’s Open champion Liz Johnson, 10-7, in a one-ball roll off after the two tied at 226.

This week, the women take to the lanes for the final time, with Robin Romeo replacing Wendy Macpherson in the field.

Did You Know?
Brad Angelo has finished second in a Denny’s PBA Tour event four times in his career, the most of any bowler on Tour without a title.

Angelo, whose runner-up finish Sunday left him winless in 13 career championship round appearances, finished second to Mika Koivuniemi in the 2004 Reno Open in his third career TV appearance. He also fell to Rick Lawrence in the 2004 BowlersParadise.com Classic and Patrick Allen in the 2005 Dallas Open title matches before his loss to Robert Smith this past Sunday in the CLR Windy City Classic.

Smith Reigns as Top Seed
Robert Smith’s win in the 2007 CLR Windy City Classic marked the fifth time in the last six stepladder finals the top seed has taken home the title. The run comes directly after an 0-9 stretch over two seasons for top seeds, which was finally broken by Jason Couch in last season’s Dick Weber Open.

Couch’s win was followed by Patrick Allen’s victory as the top seed in the 2007 Go RVing Classic. After a win by No. 2 seed Pete Weber over top-seed Wes Malott in the 64th U.S. Open, top seeds have won three straight stepladder finals with Norm Duke’s win in the 2007 Pepsi Championship, Sean Rash’s victory in the 2007 USBC Masters and Smith’s win last week.

So Close
After missing the previous two weeks with a back injury, Brad Angelo wasn’t sure if he was even going to compete in the CLR Windy City Classic. Instead, he nearly turned in one of the best feel-good stories of the year with his first career title.

Instead, Angelo fell to Robert Smith in the title match to come up empty in his 13th career TV appearance, which ties him for the third-most championship rounds of all time without a title. Angelo has a long way to go to reach the record of 23 shows without a title, held by Gil Sliker and Steve Wunderlich. Angelo is tied with Gary Mage, Jeff Mattingly and Bill Oakes with 13.

Winning Ugly
Angelo nearly went down in the record books for the lowest winning TV score of all time with his 162-151 win over Chris Barnes in the semifinal. Angelo’s was the third-lowest winning score, just behind Dennis Jacques’ 157-156 win over Sam Zurich in the 1983 Molson Bowling Challenge and Pete Weber’s 159-158 win over Steve Jaros in the 1994 Tournament of Champions. Additionally, the combined 313 score of Angelo and Barnes tied for the second lowest combined TV score behind Jacques’ 163-133 win over Joe Staton in the 1983 Miller Lite Challenge.

Bad News Barnes
The struggles continued last Sunday for Chris Barnes, who lost his fifth consecutive match on television, leaving five splits and opening four times to fall to Brad Angelo, 162-151.

The good news for Barnes is that he gets to television more than any bowler on Tour these days. Barnes tied for the Tour lead with six championship round appearances last season, is tied for the Tour lead with three this season and he’s tied with Walter Ray Williams Jr. for the most TV appearances (47) since 2000. Other than his rookie season, when he did not make a championship round, Barnes has been as steady as it gets, making at least four shows in each of the last eight seasons.

Last week marked Barnes’ third consecutive championship round, the fifth time in his career he’s accomplished that feat. The mark moves him into a tie with Mark Roth and Jason Couch for third all-time, behind Walter Ray Williams Jr. – who’s made three-in-a-row 18 times – and Earl Anthony, who accomplished the feat 10 times.

Pete and Repeat
Pete Weber was thankful early last week for a change in format from single elimination match play to round robin. In the previous three weeks’ single elimination events, Weber lost in the Round of 8 all three times, twice to Walter Ray Williams Jr. and once to Chris Barnes.

After leading the Round of 64 it looked as if Weber would finally break through for his first championship round of the season as all pins from qualifying carried over to round robin. Instead, Weber went just 9-9 in match play, which included a 279-226 position round loss to eventual champion Robert Smith.

Sitting sixth in the standings going into the final match, Weber could have made it to the finals with a win over Smith. Though Smith blitzed past Weber, the PBA Hall of Famer still could have gone past Brad Angelo who ended up with the No. 5 seed. Despite striking with his final six shots in the match, however, Weber came up 13 pins shy of the finals and finished sixth overall after finishing seventh the previous three weeks.

How Good Are They?
Ever wondered just how much better PBA pros are than average Joe Bowler? With PBA Experience Leagues up and running, you can finally find out.

This past summer, the USBC compiled scores on each pattern from PBA Experience Leagues across the country and computed the average from all leagues that submitted scores.

To compare the skill level, the PBA Experience Leagues averages are compared to exempt bowlers averages from all Round of 64 competition from the 2006-07 season and the first four standard events of the 2007-08 season.

PatternExperience League Avg.Exempt Avg.

2007-08 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Race
Walter Ray Williams Jr. maintained his lead in the 2007-08 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year race while Robert Smith moved into a tied for fifth with his first title since 2004.

1.Walter Ray Williams Jr.28
2.Sean Rash24
Mike Wolfe24
4.Mika Koivuniemi22
5.Michael Haugen Jr.16
Robert Smith16

2008 H&R Block Tournament of Champions Roster
With his win in the 2007 CLR Windy City Classic, Robert Smith moved from 23rd to first on the 2008 H&R Block Tournament of Champions roster. This year, the event features 52 bowlers including the 37 most recent Denny’s PBA Tour champions (with priority on the list going to exempt bowlers). The list is filled with past Tournament of Champions winners and PBA Hall of Famers based on most recent Denny’s PBA Tour win. Smith’s win kept Hugh Miller on the bubble for at least one more week.

Denny’s PBA Tour Entrants

1.Robert SmithCLR Windy City Classic (11/25/07)
2.Michael Haugen Jr.Lake County Indiana Classic (11/18/07)
3.Mike WolfeEtonic Championship (11/11/07)
4.Walter Ray Williams Jr.Motor City Classic (11/4/07)
5.Sean RashUSBC Masters (10/28/07)
6.Mika KoivuniemiDydo Japan Cup 2007 (9/23/07)
7.Tommy JonesPBA Tournament of Champions (4/1/07)
8.Doug KentDenny’s World Championship (3/25/07)
9.Norm DukePepsi Championship (3/18/07)
10.Pete Weber64th U.S. Open (3/4/07)
11.Mike MinemanBayer Classic (2/25/07)
12.Patrick AllenGo RVing Classic (2/18/07)
13.Chris BarnesGEICO Classic (2/11/07)
14.Jason CouchMotel 6 Classic (1/28/07)
15.Wes MalottDiscover® Card Windy City Classic (11/26/06)
16.Tony ReyesMotor City Classic (11/5/06)
17.Ritchie AllenMotel 6 Phoenix Classic (1/22/06)
18.Brian HimmlerEarl Anthony Medford Classic (1/8/06)
19.Mike ScrogginsUSBC Masters (11/20/05)
20.Mike MachugaGreater Omaha Classic (11/13/05)
21.Steve JarosDexter Tournament of Champions (4/10/05)
22.Parker Bohn IIIEl Paso Classic (1/16/05)
23.Danny WisemanUSBC Masters (10/31/04)
24.Patrick Healey Jr.PBA Tournament of Champions (12/14/03)
25.Ryan ShaferEmpire State Open (11/23/03)
26.Mike DeVaneyGEICO Earl Anthony Classic (1/5/03)
27.Eugene McCuneBanquet Classic (11/17/02)
28.Dave D’EntremontWichita Open (10/13/02)
29.Tommy Delutz Jr.Long Island Open (11/18/01)
30.Brian VossJackson Hewitt Tax Service Classic (1/29/06)
31.Jason HurdPepsi Open (11/28/04)
32.Rick LawrenceBowlersParadise.com Open (11/21/04)
33.Lonnie WaliczekOdor-Eaters Open (2/26/03)
34.Chris HaydenVIA Bowling Open (2/16/03)
35.Bryon SmithUSBC Masters (1/19/03)
36.Randy PedersenPepsi Open (11/24/02)
37.Hugh MillerDream Bowl 2002 (9/2/02)

PBA Senior Tour Entrants

38.Tom BakerUSBC Senior Masters PBA Senior Dick Weber Invitational

PBA Regional Tour Entrants

39.Scott SantosPBA Regional Players Championship
40.TBAPBA Regional Players Invitational

PBA Tournament of Champions Winners/PBA Hall of Famers

41.Bryan Goebel1998 Tournament of Champions
42.David Ozio1991 Tournament of Champions
43.Del Ballard Jr.1989 Tournament of Champions
44.Mark Williams1988 Tournament of Champions
45.Steve Cook1981 Tournament of Champions
46.Wayne Webb1980 Tournament of Champions
47.Johnny Petraglia1971 Tournament of Champions
48.Dave HustedNational/Senior Doubles (1/15/00)
49.Ernie SchlegelBayer/Brunswick Touring Players Championship (11/8/95)
50.Mark RothIOF Foresters Open (4/15/95)
51.Gary DickinsonB.P.A.A. U.S. Open (4/2/83)
52.Dave SoutarSyracuse Open (11/9/82)

2007-08 Denny’s PBA Tour Statistical Leaders

Point Leaders

1.Walter Ray Williams Jr.Ocala, Fla.87,457
2.Chris BarnesDouble Oak, Texas71,116.7
3.Steve JarosYorkville, Ill.61,614
4.Mika KoivuniemiHartland, Mich.61,586
5.Pete WeberSt. Ann, Mo.61,314
6.Sean RashWichita, Kan.59,677
7.Michael Haugen Jr.Cave Creek, Ariz.57,413.7
8.Wes MalottArgyle, Texas55,835
9.Patrick AllenWesley Chapel, Fla.48,425
10.Mike DeVaneyTemecula, Calif.48,363

Earnings Leaders

1.Sean RashWichita, Kan.$112,800
2.Mika KoivuniemiHartland, Mich.$67,800
3.Steve JarosYorkville, Ill.$61,800
4.Walter Ray Williams Jr.Ocala, Fla.$60,900
5.Mike WolfeNew Albany, Ind.$58,411
6.Patrick AllenWesley Chapel, Fla.$34,450
7.Michael Haugen Jr.Cave Creek, Ariz.$34,100
8.Robert SmithCaptain Cook, Hawaii$31,300
9.Chris BarnesDouble Oak, Texas$23,700
10.Wes MalottArgyle, Texas$23,700

Average Leaders

1.Walter Ray Williams Jr.Ocala, Fla.232.18
2.Chris BarnesDouble Oak, Texas228.16
3.Wes MalottArgyle, Texas226.15
4.Mika KoivuniemiHartland, Mich.225.95
5.Rhino PageTopeka, Kan225.25
6.Mike WolfeNew Albany, Ind.224.92
7.Chris LoschetterAvon, Ohio224.26
8.Tommy JonesSimpsonville, S.C.224.07
9.Michael Haugen Jr.Cave Creek, Ariz.223.96
10.Steve JarosYorkville, Ill.223.17

2007 PBA Women’s Series Statistical Leaders

Point Leaders

1.Carolyn Dorin-BallardN. Richland Hills, Texas62,473
2.Joy EstersonAnnapolis, Md.57,197
3.Liz JohnsonCheektowaga, N.Y.54,569
4.Kelly KulickUnion, N.J.49,559
5.Missy BellinderFullerton, Calif.45,480
6.Shannon PluhowskyPhoenix, Ariz.42,843
7.Olivia SandhamWichita, Kan.36,637
8.Tish JohnsonColorado Springs, Colo.35,363
9.Amy StolzCastle Rock, Colo.33,879
10.Michelle FeldmanSkaneateles, N.Y.32,547

Earnings Leaders

1.Carolyn Dorin-BallardN. Richland Hills, Texas$19,000
2.Joy EstersonAnnapolis, Md.$17,500
3.Liz JohnsonCheektowaga, N.Y.$13,611
4.Shannon PluhowskyPhoenix, Ariz.$13,600
5.Kelly KulickUnion, N.J.$11,800
6.Missy BellinderFullerton, Calif.$10,800
7.Tish JohnsonColorado Springs, Colo.$9,600
8.Olivia SandhamWichita, Kan.$7,600
9.Amy StolzCastle Rock, Colo.$7,300
10.Karen StroudVictoria, Texas$7,100

Average Leaders

1.Carolyn Dorin-BallardN. Richland Hills, Texas226.92
2.Liz JohnsonCheektowaga, N.Y.223.69
3.Joy EstersonAnnapolis, Md.218.51
4.Wendy MacphersonWalnut Creek, Calif.215.50
5.Kelly KulickUnion, N.J.215.19
6.Missy BellinderFullerton, Calif.212.92
7.Shannon PluhowskyPhoenix, Ariz.212.50
8.Stefanie NationMiami, Fla.212.17
9.Olivia SandhamWichita, Kan.210.67
10.Michelle FeldmanSkaneateles, N.Y.210.41

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