The second PBA Tour title to be awarded as part of the organization’s new alliance with the World Tenpin Bowling Association will occur Sunday when the finals of the Brunswick Euro Challenge take place at Plaza Bowl in suburban Paris, France.
A large contingent of PBA Tour players are bowling in Paris. Mid-way through a 25-round qualifying system, 2011 USBC Masters champion Tom Hess was the early leader followed by Dino Castillo, Sean Rash and Tom Smallwood. Others among the leaders were Josh Blanchard, Liz Johnson, Dan MacLelland, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Parker Bohn III, Del Ballard Jr., Mike Fagan, Ildemaro Ruiz, Jake Peters, Chris Loschetter, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Nathan Bohr and Stuart Williams. A number of other PBA Tour players had yet to bowl qualifying, including Chris Barnes, who won the inaugural WTBA International Open on Wednesday, and Finland’s Osku Palermaa who won his third PBA Tour title in the Kuwait International Open on Monday.
Barnes defeated top qualifier Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., 245-188, Wednesday to win the International Open. The new WTBA World Bowling Tour event, which began with qualifying in Las Vegas in late January, concluded with a three-player stepladder final conducted as part of the Brunswick Euro Challenge. Because it began before the WTBA-PBA agreement went into effect, no PBA Tour title was awarded for the Inteernational Open.
Barnes earned $20,000 along with his title. Johnson, who received six handicap pins per game under WTBA rules for women who compete in otherwise all-male events, earned $10,000. Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., earned $8,000 after losing the opening match to Barnes, 267-231.
Palermaa won the Kuwait title when he defeated Smallwood, 267-232 and 268-226, in the title match. Because Smallwood was the top qualifier in Kuwait, Palermaa had to beat him twice for the victory.
Women bowling in the Brunswick Euro Challenge receive six “handicap” pins per game, a common practice in international competition where women bowl alongside men. Women who receive “bonus” pins are not eligible to win the PBA Tour title.
XTRA FRAME, YOUTUBE PROVIDE PREVIEW COVERAGE OF PBA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP
The PBA, Xtra Frame and the PBA's YouTube Channel are offering fans a unique opportunity to prepare for Sunday's ESPN finals of the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship.
First, fans can watch the Turbo Selection Show where the top 16 players from the WSOB Elite Players Championship are drafted to form doubles teams for the event, and see interviews with the newly formed teams. Then, the extended eight-team stepladder begins with matches only seen on Xtra Frame and the PBA YouTube Channel.
To view the Turbo Selection Show and preliminary matches on YouTube.com, enter “Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles” in the search box.
Will Sean Rash get his first PBA World Series of Bowling title after making every show to this point? Will the international team of Gomez/Larsen continue the WSOB streak of international champions? Will Duke or Weber add to their growing number of historically significant titles? Stay tuned.
REGIONAL ROUNDUP: WARREN WINS FIRST REGIONAL “ANIMAL PATTERN” TITLE
Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Ore., defeated top qualifier Bryon Smith of Roseburg, Ore., 246-223, to win the PBA’s inaugural Regional animal pattern championship, the Northwest Region DV8 Chameleon Open at Caveman Bowl in Grants Pass on Sunday.
The win was Warren’s a record seventh of the season in the PBA Northwest Region and the 34th Regional title of his career. He also earned $2,000 and a paid entry into the 2012 PBA World Series of Bowling.
The DV8 Chameleon Open also included a Teen Masters qualifier. Makayla Douglas of Sandy, Ore., 17, qualified in the girls’ high school division with a score of 1,565 for 8 games. In the boys’ high school division, Ethen Johnson of Grants Pass, Ore., set the pace with a score of 1,425 for the 8 games. Both qualified for the Teen Masters national finals July 8-12 in Cleveland, Ohio.
In Hubbard, Ohio, Rhino Page of Dade City, Fla., defeated Ryan Ciminelli of Buffalo, N.Y., 257-234, to win the PBA Central/East Region Panera Bread Hubbard Open presented by Trumbull County Tourism Bureau & DV8 at Bell-Wick Bowl Sunday. The title was Page’s first of the year in the PBA Central Region and his third career PBA Regional title. He collected $2,600 as champion.
Sammy Ventura of Syracuse, N.Y., boosted his chances of earning PBA East Region Senior Player of the Year honors by defeating Dennis Erion of Binghamton, N.Y., 176-165, to win the PBA East Region Rossi Lanes Storm Senior Open at Rossi Lanes in Elmira, N.Y., on Sunday. Ventura earned $2,000 and became the first bowler to win two East Region senior titles this season.
Also Sunday, PBA Hall of Famer George Pappas of Charlotte, N.C., won his second senior regional title in a row, defeating Steve Lickliter of Beckley, W.Va., 224-178, to win the PBA South Region Franklin Senior Open at Franklin Bowling Center in Franklin, Va. The win was the 25th in Pappas’ career in regional competition. He earned $1,500.
PBA Regional activity over the March 23-25 weekend includes the Midwest/Central Region’s Milan Lanes Senior Viper Open presented by Allstate Insurance in Milan, Ill.; the South Region hosts the Fayetteville (N.C.) Senior Open at Fayetteville Lanes, and the East Region will conduct the Mount Greylock Open presented by Storm at Mount Greylock Bowl in North Adams, Mass.
The next Regional Animal Pattern Championships will be the Northwest Region Pawn Brokers Cheetah Open at Bowl Arena in Ft. Lewis, Wash., March 30-April 1, and the PBA East Region Rockaway Lanes Chameleon Open in Rockaway, N.J., April 27-29.
For complete PBA Regional schedules and entry information, visit pba.com, click on “Regional Tour” under the Schedules tab, and click on the link to the region of interest. For Teen Masters information, visit teenmastersbowling.com.
● Clermont, Fla., residents Jason Couch, Norm Duke and Randy Pedersen were honored at the monthly South Lake Chamber of Commerce breakfast recently. The three PBA Hall of Famers also participated in a panel discussion, answering questions for members of the Clermont area business community.
● Albert (Al) Gates, the brother of PBA Hall of Fame employee Rainy Stitzlien and a long-time PBA employee himself in Akron, Ohio, died March 11 in Orlando, Fla. He was 85. PBA competitors in the mid 1970s knew Gates as one of the hard-working volunteers during Tournament of Champions week where he worked the gate with Chuck Clemens during all the squads. Gates’ granddaughter Kat is one of the participants on this season’s cast on “Survivor” on CBS-TV. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at Billow Fairlawn Chapel in Fairlawn, Ohio.
● Who has been the PBA’s most active competitor over the past 12 months? PBA Senior Tour player Kenny Parks of Hammond, Ind., has bowled in 35 PBA Tour, Regional, Senior Regional and Senior Tour events. That’s three more than fellow Senior Tour competitor Dale Traber of Cedarburg, Wis.; and PBA Tour exempt players Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, and Nathan Bohr of Wichita, Kan., who have each entered 32 PBA events.