Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa., dominated the early-season Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour statistics at the conclusion of the five “animal pattern” events conducted during the PBA World Series of Bowling at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas.
O’Neill, who earned the top qualifying position for the PBA World Championship as the 60-game pinfall leader after five 12-game qualifying rounds on the PBA’s Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon, Scorpion and Shark lane conditioning patterns, is leading the World Series field in earnings with $25,090, average at 225.44 for 101 games and “cashes” in all five animal pattern events. He also advanced to the match play finals in four of the five events and won his third career title in the Pepsi Viper Championship. For complete statistical leaders, click here.
O’Neill now must win one more game in the live PBA World Championship finals at South Point on ESPN on Sunday, Jan. 16, to claim another $50,000 and the second major title of his career. Also qualifying for the unique three-day live finale of the PBA World Championship were No. 8 Jason Belmonte, Australia; No. 7 Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas; No. 6 Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz.; No. 5 Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich.; No. 4 Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas; No. 3 Osku Palermaa, Finland, and No. 2 Sean Rash, who recently moved to Montgomery, Ill.
Belmonte, Malott and Haugen will compete on the first live stepladder event which will air at 5 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2 on Friday, Jan. 14. Friday’s winner will join Koivuniemi and Barnes for Saturday’s live ESPN2 telecast at 9 p.m. Eastern. Saturday’s survivor will join Palmermaa, Rash and O’Neill for the championship finals on ESPN on Sunday, Jan. 16, at 1 p.m.
ZIESIG RECEIVES COMMISSIONER’S EXEMPTION FOR PLASTIC BALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Brian Ziesig of Levittown, N.Y., who won the 2010 PBA Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship in West Babylon, N.Y., as an amateur, has been awarded a Commissioner’s Exemption for the 2011 event March 1-6 at AMF Thruway Lanes in Cheektowaga, N.Y. PBA Hall of Famers Johnny Petraglia and Tom Baker also have been awarded Commissioner’s Exemptions for the tournament.
JENSEN HELPS WITH A DIFFERENT TYPE OF BOWL
Tyler Jensen of Fort Worth, Texas, who earned an exemption to bowl on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour for the 2011-12 season based on his fifth-place finish in the Sands Regency PBA Regional Players Invitational, offered a helping hand at the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
Jensen, in his second year of volunteering for the Dec. 30 Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas, served on the player hospitality committee assigned to assist Army in their players' suite.
"I am very happy to be a part of such a great bowl event,” Jensen said. “Not only is the football game great, but the purpose of the Armed Forces Bowl game is so much more. Last year I had a family member in attendance who serves in the Marines and it felt great to see him and the military get the recognition they deserve for everything they do for our great country."
Jensen said the players’ schedule was full while visiting the Metroplex, but he hopes one year to take the teams bowling.
Jensen is one of more than 100 PBA title winners who will compete in the “Champions Field” in the $1 million PBA Tournament of Champions Jan. 15 and 16 at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas. If he finished in the top half of the Champions field after 14 games, he’ll advance to the Elite Field where he’ll have a shot at the record $250,000 first prize. The Tournament of Champions finals will air on ABC on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
O’NEILL, KULICK PARTICIPATE IN CHICAGO’S “BEAT THE CHAMPS” CHARITY EVENT
The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicagoland bowling proprietors celebrated the 50th anniversary of their “Beat the Champions” program in December, with reigning U.S. Open champions Bill O’Neill and Kelly Kulick are the center of the program. O’Neill rolled a 747 series and Kulick 696 in posting scores which grassroots bowlers will try to beat, including their handicaps.
The Beat the Champs participants also earned bonus money for their favorite personal charities for every strike they threw in the fifth and 10th frames. O’Neill earned $500 for the PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Foundation in honor of his father, who underwent a kidney transplant a year ago as a victim of the disease. Kulick earned $500 for the Goodwill Mission.
LOVE IT OR HATE IT, “HAMBONE” HAS FOUND A PLACE IN BOWLING LEXICON
Rob Stone’s “hambone” – a term he “invented” for four strikes in a row – irritates some bowling fans and is loved by others. But it has become an established part of bowling’s lexicon. Among those endeared with the term is nationally-syndicated columnist Norman (The Couch Slouch) Chad, whose recent column on “23 more facts, tried and true about the widening world of sports television” included: "New drinking game: Every time ESPN's Rob Stone says 'hambone" during a Pro Bowlers Tour telecast, I swig a PBR and crush the can."
Keep an eye on the “In The News” tab on pba.com to find out what the rest of the world is reporting about the PBA.