ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Michael Haugen Jr. of Carefree, Ariz., who won both of his Professional Bowlers Association Tour titles in 2008, will get a chance to end his nearly five-year dry spell when he meets Scott Norton of Mission Viejo, Calif., in the Mark Roth Classic championship match.
Haugen, after qualifying for the Roth Classic match play finals in fifth place earlier Wednesday at Thunderbowl Lanes in Detroit, won seven of his nine match games, tied another, and averaged 241.94 over a span of 17 games to finish with 4,338 total pins, 114 pins ahead of Norton. Norton, who won his second career title earlier this season in the PBA Chameleon Open, overtook reigning PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., by 32 pins in the final game.
“It’s been too long. There are two guys on the show and 135 guys who tried to get there, so the odds weren’t too good,” Haugen said. “I didn’t bowl well Tuesday. Today I made some changes, and I did what I needed to do. It’s been too long. You don’t forget how to win, but we’ll see what happens. If (Norton) beats me, it’s not going to be because I gave him the title. He’s going to have to earn it.
“I came out this year as a free agent (without a bowling ball manufacturers’ contract), but to be honest, the most motivation I had was not getting drafted in the PBA League. I had the credentials; I can bowl in this building, but for whatever reason, I got overlooked, so the best way to show them was to get on the television show. That was my plan.
“It’s very difficult to be one of two guys to make it to television, but I’ve gotta tell you, it feels sweet.”
The Mark Roth Classic championship match, along with the Roth PBA League team stepladder finals, will be contested on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET at Thunderbowl Lanes. The finals will air on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 3 p.m. ET.
Wednesday afternoon, Michigan native Tom Smallwood, who launched his PBA career at Thunderbowl in 2009, helped his Motown Muscle team claim the top stepladder position in the PBA League Mark Roth round finals.
Smallwood, a Saginaw resident who lost his job at General Motors during the auto industry’s economic downturn in 2009 and turned his unemployed status into a victory in the PBA World Championship later that same season, posted an eight-game total of 1,858 pins to help the Motown Muscle team – owned by Detroit native and former Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Jerome Bettis – to the No. 1 berth in the Mark Roth team qualifying round stepladder finals by 182 pins over Billie Jean King’s New York City WTT KingPins.
Actor Jesse Williams’ BROOKLYN STyLES locked up the third team stepladder berth with 8,991 pins. The other five teams will compete in a one-ball Clash Match eliminator round to determine the fourth team that will bowl in the Baker format television finals. In Baker team competition, each of the five players bowls two frames to complete a game.
The Detroit Winter Swing features a unique combination of PBA individual and team competitions. A field of 135 players is competing for individual titles while eight teams of five players are also using their qualifying scores to help their teams qualify in inaugural PBA League competition. Competition continues Thursday with qualifying and match play rounds in the Don Carter Classic and the third day of PBA League competition.
All preliminary rounds of Winter Swing competition are being covered live, exclusively on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.
PBA MARK ROTH CLASSIC
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich., Jan. 23
Final Match Play Standings (after 17 games, including match play bonus pins; top two advance to championship match)
1, Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 7-1-1, 4,338.
2, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 7-2, 4,224.
Other Match Play Cashers:
3, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 4-5, 4,192, $6,000.
4, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 5-4, 4,125, $4,500.
5, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 4-4-1, 4,065, $4,000.
6, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 4-4-1, 4,056, $3,500.
7, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 6-3, 4,017, $3,000.
8, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 4-4-1, 4,012, $2,500.
9, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3-5-1, 3,984, $2,200.
10, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 2-6-1, 3,972, $2,000.
11, Dom Barrett, England, 4-3-2, 3,971, $1,900.
12, Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, 5-4, 3,968, $1,800.
13, Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill., 3-6, 3,951, $1,800.
14, Ronnie Sparks JR, Ecorse, Mich., 4-5, 3,944, $1,600.
15, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 2-7, 3,927, $1,650.
16, Tom Baker, King, N.C., 4-5, 3,788, $1,500.
Other Cashers (after 8 games):
17, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 1,832, $1,000.
18, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 1,829, $950.
19, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 1,827, $900.
20 (tie), Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., and Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 1,826, $835.
22, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 1,823, $800.
23, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,821, $790.
24, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 1,816, $780.
25, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 1,814, $770.
26, B.J. Moore II, Apex, N.C., 1,813, $760.
27, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 1,809, $750.
28, Mark Milasinovich, Macomb, Mich., 1,804, $740.
29, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 1,802, $730.
30, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1,801, $720.
31, Harry Sullins, Chesterfield Twp., Mich., 1,799, $710.
32, David Haynes, Las Vegas, 1,798, $700.
300 Game: Rick Zakrajsek, Jesse Buss.
EARL ANTHONY PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING LEADERS
(top 32 players after 16 of 32 games; top 16 after 32 games advance to round robin match play Friday night)
1, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,915.
2, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 3,853.
3, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,811.
4, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3,741.
5, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 3,738.
6, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 3,726.
7 (tie), Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, and Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,717.
9, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,694.
10, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3,686.
11, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 3,684.
12, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 3,650.
13, Dom Barrett, England, 3,646.
14, Frankie Calca, Elmont, N.Y., 3,636.
15, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 3,620.
16, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 3,619.
17, Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 3,615.
18, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 3,614.
19, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 3,610.
20, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 3,595.
21, Ronnie Sparks Jr., Ecorse, Mich., 3,590.
22, Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 3,570.
23, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 3,566.
24, Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 3,562.
25, B.J. Moore II, Apex, N.C., 3,559.
26, Mark Milasinovich, Macomb, Mich., 3,554.
27, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 3,545.
28, Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill., 3,544.
29, Mike DeVaney, Hemet, Calif., 3,540.
30, David Haynes, Las Vegas, 3,538.
31, Mike Fagan, Dallas, 3,534.
32, Harry Sullins, Chesterfield Twp., Mich., 3,533.