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LAS VEGAS –The stepladder finals of the Professional Bowlers Association World Championship, the final tournament of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IV and the first major of the 2012-13 season, will air Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The finals, from the South Point Hotel and Casino, features five players who are hoping to add a PBA World Championship title to their resumes, including top qualifier Jason Belmonte of Australia. Belmonte, a 29-year-old two-handed player who won three titles during the 2011 WSOB III, averaged 240.27 for the 56 games of World Championship qualifying and match play to earn the top berth in the stepladder finals by 29 pins over his fiercest rival, reigning PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill.
In Sunday’s opening match, PBA Hall of Famer and 32-time titlist Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., takes on Canadian Dan MacLelland, who is trying for his first Tour title and who hopes to become the first Canadian to win a PBA Tour title. Bohn, a two-time Player of the Year, is trying for his second major.
Bohn made it into the stepladder finals after qualifying in the 24th and last spot in match play by just three pins. He is hoping to become just the 15th player in Tour history to advance from 24th to win a Tour title. The last player to do it was Walter Ray Williams Jr. in the 1995 Rochester (N.Y.) Open. A win also would end a four-year drought for Bohn, whose last title came in the 2008 Cheetah Championship.
MacLelland, a former All-American at Saginaw Valley State University, has a previous high finish of second place in the 2010 GEICO Shark Championship. He has done well in majors, finishing fourth in the 2012 USBC Masters and sixth in the 2011 Tournament of Champions and U.S. Open.
The winner of the opening match will take on No. 3 qualifier Rhino Page of Dade City, Fla., who will be trying for his sixth Tour title and first major. Page is also hoping to end a dry spell that has lasted more than three years. He won his last Tour title in September of 2009.
The winner of the second match will meet Rash, the No. 2 qualifier, in the semifinal match. Rash, a five-time Tour winner, won last season’s Tournament of Champions for his second major. The victory helped propel him to Player of the Year honors.
The semifinal winner will battle Belmonte for the $50,000 first prize. Belmonte, who has five Tour wins, will be trying for his first title of WSOB IV. He made the finals in both the Chameleon and Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championships, but failed to win either event.
If he happens to meet Rash in Sunday’s championship match, both players will be looking for redemption. Rash lost head-to-head battles (in the 2011 Chameleon Championship at the World Series of Bowling and in the title match of the 2012 Australian Masters) in his two most recent battles with Belmonte while Belmonte will want to make a statement after losing last season’s Player of the Year title to Rash in the closest vote ever.
Each ESPN telecast will be preceded by a special pre-game show on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame, and each will feature a post-game show on Xtra Frame with an interview with the tournament winner.
Three easy steps to enhance your PBA telecast experience:
1) Tune into pba.com’s Xtra Frame for free interviews with the finalists as they give their insight into strategy and equipment selection. All preview shows on Xtra Frame are available the Monday before each Sunday ESPN telecast at no cost.
2) Watch the PBA World Championship ESPN finals Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
3) Tune into the post-event show at Sunday 2:30 p.m. ET. Xtra Frame’s post-tournament show interviews the winning player and provides in-depth ball rep analysis of the winner’s equipment selection and ball preparation.
Bowling fans can get additional Tour coverage on pba.com and provide their feedback on PBA Tour telecasts through PBA’s social networking platforms on Facebook and Twitter