Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., is off to an unprecedented start in the third annual PBA World Series of Bowling, qualifying third, third, first and third in the Viper, Chameleon, Scorpion and Shark lane condition championships, respectively – the four qualifying elements to reach the PBA World Championship.
On Wednesday, Rash, a 29-year-old four-time PBA Tour title winner, became the first player to reach five consecutive ESPN finals when he led the field of 204 in PBA World Championship qualifying with a 40-game total of 9,361 pins, averaging 234.03 across the four “animal patterns” plus the eight-game cashers’ round which was conducted on the PBA World Championship pattern.
Additional PBA World Series notes:
● On the heels of a successful World Series in 2010, the international players in this year’s field are again asserting themselves. In the Bayer Viper Open, England’s Stuart Williams, and Venezuela’s Ildemaro Ruiz joined qualifying leader Mike Fagan of Dallas and Rash in the ESPN finals. In the Chameleon Open, Australia’s Jason Belmonte, Finland’s Osku Palermaa, Rash and Ruiz advanced to the ESPN finals. In the Scorpion Open, England’s Dom Barrett led the field thanks to a final-game 299. Dave Wodka of Henderson, Nev., Rash and Patrick Allen of Baltimore rounded out the Scorpion finals field. The GEICO Shark Open final four are Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas; Belmonte, Rash and native Finlander Mika Koivuniemi who now resides in Hartland, Mich.
● The 53 PBA World Championship cashers included representatives from Australia, Venezuela, England, Finland, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Sweden and South Korea in addition to the U.S. Six of the international players (Australia’s Belmonte, England’s Williams and Barrett, Finland’s Palermaa, Venezuela’s Ruiz and Colombia’s Andres Gomez) advanced to the World Championship television final rounds.
● International players recorded five of the 11 300 games bowled in the WSOB “animal pattern” events. Australia’s Belmonte, Canada’s Patrick Girard, Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., and John Furey of East Windsor, N.J., rolled 300s in the Chameleon Open. Finland’s Palermaa, Bahrain’s Fawaz Abdullah and South Korea’s Ji-Hyun Cha rolled 300s in the Scorpion Open along with Californians Chuck Tillson of Rohnert Park and Alan Mojado of Pala. Lonnie Waliczek of Wichita, Kan., and Dave Wodka of Henderson, Nev., rolled 300s in the GEICO Shark Open. There were no 300s bowled in the Bayer Viper Open or World Championship cashers’ round.
● Kelly Kulick, beginning her third season as the only woman ever to earn PBA Tour exempt player status, had her highest finish since winning the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions, finishing seventh in the Chameleon Open and missing the TV finals by only 21 pins. The Union, N.J., resident’s only other top 10 finish in PBA Tour competition was sixth in the 2008 Don Johnson Buckeye State Open. Kulick also tied for 53rd in the Bayer Viper Open, finished 25th in the Scorpion event and tied for 61st in the GEICO Shark Open to advance to Wednesday’s PBA World Championship cashers’ round in 18th place. She eventually finished 43rd in the World Championship field.
● Two-time Teen Masters champion Zack Hattori of Las Vegas added $1,010 to his scholarship account with an impressive 31st place finish in the Bayer Viper Open. But the 18-year-old amateur cooled off, finishing 103rd in the Chameleon Open, 139th on the Scorpion lane condition and 65th in the GEICO Shark Open to finished 87th in the 32-game PBA World Championship standings.
● As of the conclusion of the four “animal pattern” championships, 83 different players (40.7 percent of the field) had cashed in at least one of the four events.
PBA REGIONAL RECAP: BAKER, TRABER WIN TITLES IN VIRGINIA, ILLINOIS
PBA Senior Tour star and hall of famer Tom Baker of King, N.C., defeated Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C., 279-248, to win the PBA South Region Gloucester Open at Village Lanes in Gloucester, Va., on Sunday, Nov. 4. The win was Baker’s 25th in PBA Regional competition and earned him a $2,200 first prize.
In Kankakee, Ill., Dale Traber of Cedarburg, Wis., defeated Kenny Parks of Hammond, Ind., 243-226, Sunday to win the PBA Midwest Region’s Victory Lanes Senior Invitational sponsored by Allstate Insurance. The title was Traber’s 10th as a PBA Senior Regional player and the 48th overall in his PBA Regional career. He also earned $3,000.
This week’s regional activity will be focused on the All Regions South Point Open plus the PBA West Region Member/Non-Member Doubles at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas Friday through Sunday. Both events are expected to attract star-studded fields as part of the PBA World Series of Bowling.
All PBA Regional competitors continue to compile qualifying points toward the 2012 Dick Weber PBA Playoffs. The top 16 points leaders in the PBA’s East, South, Central, Midwest, Southwest and combined West/Northwest Regions as of Feb. 26 will earn berths in the new Xtra Frame Tour event which will be held March 30-April 1 at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.
All first-time PBA Regional title winners also become eligible for the season-ending PBA Tournament of Champions.
For complete Regional tournament schedules and entry information, visit pba.com and click on “Regional Tour” under the “Schedules” drop-down tab.