BANGKOK, Thailand – Reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., defeated top qualifier Mika Koivuniemi, a Finnish native now living in Hartland, Mich., 235-225, 245-228, to win the World Bowling Tour Thailand title Monday at Blu-O Paragon Bowling Center.
With the win, Rash claimed his seventh career PBA Tour title, his second World Tenpin Bowling Association/PBA International Tour title during the 2012-13 season, and a first prize worth US$32,140. Rash’s previous 2012-13 title was in the Kuwait Open, where he also defeated Koivuniemi for the title, but this time, because Koivuniemi entered the eight-player stepladder finals as the top qualifier, Rash had to beat him twice.
Koivuniemi was trying for his fourth WTBA/PBA International Tour title of the year. Earlier in October, he captured his 11th PBA Tour title in the Columbia 300 Vienna Open in Austria.
Rash and Koivuniemi may meet again in the World Bowling Tour Men’s Finals, presented by the PBA, which will be conducted Nov. 3 as part of the PBA’s ESPN television finals at South Point in Las Vegas. Rash will enter the WBT Men’s Finals as top qualifier and will meet the winner of the preliminary match between No. 2 Koivuniemi and No. 3 Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas. The WBT Women’s Finals field will include No. 1 Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J.; No. 2 Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., and defending women’s champion Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif.
In the first three-player, shootout match in Bangkok, Thailand’s Phoemphun Yakasem rolled a 256 game to advance over Korea’s Kim Young Kwan (211) and Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y. (193).
In the second three-player match, Hong Kong’s Michael Mak (238) eliminated Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas (182) and Yakasem (169). Mak then eliminated the only woman to finish in the top eight, Singapore’s Daphne Tan, 258-211, but Mak’s title hopes ended when he lost to Rash in the semifinal match, 242-219.
The WBT Thailand event was the final tournament prior to PBA World Series of Bowling V, which gets underway with the PBA Cheetah Championship Saturday at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas. All preliminary qualifying and match play rounds during WSOB V will be webcast live, exclusively on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. For one-day, monthly or yearly subscription information, click on the Xtra Frame link on PBA’s official website, pba.com.
WORLD BOWLING TOUR THAILAND
Blu-O Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand, Oct. 21
Final Standings: 1, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., $32,140. 2, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, $12,129. 3, Michael Mak, Hong Kong, $9,642. 4, Daphne Tan, Singapore, $6,428. 5, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, $3,214. 6, Phoemphun Yakasem, Thailand, $2,893. 7, Kim Young Kwan, Korea, $2,732. 8, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., $2,572.
Stepladder Results: Match One – Yakasem (256) def. Kwan (211) and Ciminelli (193). Match Two – Mak (238) def. Fagan (182) and Yakasem (169). Match Three – Mak def. Tan, 258-211. Semifinal Match – Rash def. Mak, 242-219. Championship (Rash had to defeat Koivuniemi twice) – Rash def. Koivuniemi, 235-225, 245-228.
WBT MEN’S POINT STANDINGS (as of Oct. 21, 2013)
1, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 583
2, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 539
3, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, 496
4, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 491
5, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 481
6, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 455
7, Osku Palermaa , Finland, 316
8, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 293
9, Stuart Williams, England, 258
10, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 253