SEATTLE – The 2011-12 Professional Bowlers Association Tour season turned into one of the most compelling season-long battles for Chris Schenkel Player of the Year honors in history as a group of stars battled in PBA major championships and events around the world.
The three leading vote-getters in the Player of the Year race will be announced on Wednesday, May 16, followed by the first-ever live announcement of the winner on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel on Monday, May 28, during the PBA Summer Shootout at 10pin Bowling Lounge in Chicago.
The leading PBA Player of the Year candidates, in alphabetical order are:
JASON BELMONTE - Australia
Won three titles including the Elite Players Championship, had seven top-five finishes, finished third in average and second in both points and earnings. Belmonte also finished third in the U.S. Open and Tournament of Champions, fourth in the PBA World Championship and ninth in the USBC Masters.
NORM DUKE - Clermont, Fla.
Won three titles, including the Dick Weber Playoffs, and had five top-five finishes. The Hall of Famer moved into third place in all-time PBA Tour titles with his 37th career victory. He ranked sixth in average, points and earnings.
MIKE FAGAN - Dallas
Qualified for TV shows in all four PBA Tour majors. He won the USBC Masters, finished second in the U.S. Open, fourth in the Tournament of Champions and 12th in the PBA World Championship. He also won an international PBA Tour title, the Brunswick Euro Challenge in Paris, France. Statistically, he was second in average, and third in points and earnings.
OSKU PALERMAA - Finland
Became the first two-handed player to win a PBA major (PBA World Championship) and he won the Kuwait International Open, the first international title ever awarded under a new agreement between the PBA and the World Tenpin Bowling Association. He had two other top-five finishes, and finished eighth in the U.S. Open and Tournament of Champions. Palermaa was fifth in points and earnings.
SEAN RASH - Montgomery, Ill.
Won PBA’s signature event, the Tournament of Champions. He led the Tour with eight top-five finishes, including third place in the PBA World Championship, and finished first in average, points and earnings. He also qualified for a record five consecutive TV finals during the World Series of Bowling.
PETE WEBER - St. Ann, Mo.
Won the U.S. Open, the 36th title of his career, as he became the first player ever to win that prestigious title five times. The Hall of Famer, who has never won Player of the Year honors, also had two other top-five finishes including fifth in the PBA World Championship while finishing 12th in average, and fourth in both points and earnings.
Also on the Player of the Year ballot, based upon a top-10 finish in either competition points or earnings, are Chris Barnes, Ryan Ciminelli, Andres Gomez, Bill O’Neill and Ryan Shafer. A detailed breakdown of the Player of the Year candidates’ stats are available here.
The PBA has also announced six players will be considered in voting for PBA Harry Golden Rookie of the Year with Arizona’s Josh Blanchard the clear-cut favorite based on his 10 cashes, five match play finals and one television appearance in 13 events. Five players will be considered by their PBA peers for the annual Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award.
Rookie of the Year candidates, in addition to Blanchard, are: Dennis Eklund, Sweden; Antonio Medina, Louisville, Ky.; Ron Mohr, Eagle River, Alaska; Jake Peters, Decatur, Ill.; and Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C.
Nagy candidates are Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y.; Martin Larsen, Sweden; Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa; Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., and Scott Norton, Costa Mesa, Calif. Jurek is a two-time Nagy winner. Kulick is the first woman ever nominated for the award.
PBA Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year are selected by the entire PBA membership plus a panel of veteran bowling writers. The Nagy Award is voted on by players who bowled at least half of the PBA Tour events during the past season. Ballots, full statistical data and voting instructions will be available to PBA members on the members-only section of PBA.com beginning April 25. Hard copy ballots will be mailed to media voters. The deadline for voting will be May 15.
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CLICK FOR COMPLETE PLAYER OF THE YEAR STATS