LAS VEGAS – Defending Professional Bowlers Association World Champion Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., rolled a pair of 300 games Saturday on his way to earning the top qualifying position for the PBA Cheetah Championship finals at South Point Bowling Center while Colombia native Clara Guerrero became the third woman in PBA history to qualify for a nationally-televised stepladder final.
The Cheetah Championship is the first of five tournaments on the PBA World Series of Bowling V program which continues through Nov. 3.
Bohn, who won the 2012 World Championship during PBA World Series of Bowling IV, fired his 91st and 92nd career 300 games (one behind all-time leader Walter Ray Williams Jr., who has 93 perfect games in PBA competition) for a 14-game total of 3,503 pins and a 250.21 average. The 33-time PBA Tour champion won the top berth in the Cheetah stepladder finals by 49 pins over fellow PBA Hall of Famer and 37-time Tour champion Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo. Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, qualified third with 3,452 pins and Guerrero finished her climb from 10th place to claim the fourth berth in the finals with a 3,446 total.
Guerrero will join Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., and Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., as the third woman to reach the championship round of a PBA Tour event. Kulick went on to win the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions to become the only woman to capture a PBA Tour title.
The Cheetah Championship finals will be conducted on Saturday, Nov. 2, on lanes installed in South Point’s Exhibition Hall B and will air on ESPN on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m. ET.
Bohn, who started the semifinal round in fifth place, found his comfort zone and ran away from the field.
“I don’t have many issues with the Cheetah lane condition,” Bohn said. “My speed allowed me to play it comfortably. The lanes were a little tighter than they were in practice, but once I got my speed dialed in, the ball did what it was supposed to do.
“I’m very, very happy,” he added. “Now I get to bowl one game for the title, which is always a good thing. Even better, I’m way ahead of last year when I didn’t have one top 16 finish in any of the animal pattern events, but I still won the World Championship.”
Guerrero’s charge out of 10th place was a surprise to everyone but her. Earlier in the day, she became the second woman in the five-year history of PBA World Series competition to finish among the top 24 in the 238-player, male-dominated event. Kulick finished 15th in the 2010 Shark Championship, seventh in the 2011 Chameleon Championship and 21st in the 2012 Viper Championship. Guerrero also joined an elite group of women who have won a PBA Regional title when she won her first PBA Southwest Region title in Austin, Texas, last October.
“It would be very nice to win a title here, too,” she smiled. “I’d like to finish history the right way.”
Guerrero started her final seven-game round with a 189 game, an ominous total in the high-scoring Cheetah contest, but followed with games of 244, 289, 213, 267, 278 and 277 to complete her stunning rally.
“I was a little stiff from the layoff between the first and semifinal rounds, but then I got my rhythm and made better shots,” the former Wichita State University All-American said. “After the 189 start, I didn’t think I could make it, but after a couple of big games, I saw I had a chance and in the last couple of games, I really went for it. Things came my way. I finished strong. It was great.”
Guerrero, who has been a member of Colombia’s national bowling team since 1995 when she qualified at age 13, is now a U.S. citizen, married and living in Pflugerville, Texas.
Earlier Saturday, National Football League all-pro wide receiver Terrell Owens made his professional bowling PBA debut in the Cheetah Championship, and struggled to finish with a 1,178 total, a 168.29 average. But he said he wasn’t terribly disappointed.
“I got better as I bowled,” Owens said. “I had 194 my last game, which was decent, and I didn’t come in last.
“These are best bowlers in the world. By no means did I expect to come in here and crush the lanes,” Owens added. “Obviously I have a lot of learning to do. But tomorrow is another day and I can only get better.”
World Series competition continues Sunday with the Viper Championship presented by PBA Bowling Challenge. Qualifying squads will bowl seven games at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. PT, with the top 24 advancing to the seven-game semifinal round at 7:30 p.m. The final two animal pattern events – the Chameleon and Scorpion Championships – will be held on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
All qualifying rounds from the World Series are being covered live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel, and via “live scoring” on pba.com. For daily, monthly or yearly subscriptions to Xtra Frame, click on the Xtra Frame link on the pba.com home page.
PBA CHEETAH CHAMPIONSHIP
South Point Bowling Center, Las Vegas, Oct. 26
SEMIFINAL ROUND STANDINGS (after 14 games; top 4 advance to stepladder finals on Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. PT for ESPN telecast on Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. ET)
1, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,503.
2, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,454.
3, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,452.
4, Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 3,446.
5, Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 3,426, $4,000.
6, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 3,416, $3,500.
7, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 3,413, $3,000.
8, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 3,410, $2,500.
9, Mike Fagan, Ft. Worth, Texas, 3,390, $2,200.
10, Joe Findling, Mesquite, Texas, 3,351, $2,000.
11, Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 3,350, $1,800.
12, Bryan Viator, Friendswood, Texas, 3,341, $1,700.
13, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 3,325, $1,650.
14, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 3,311, $1,600.
15, PJ Haggerty, Roseville, Calif., 3,305, $1,550.
16, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 3,290, $1,500.
17 (tie), Dom Barrett, England, and Mike Moore, Oviedo, Fla., 3,256, $1,425.
19, Kevin Gallagher, Torrance, Calif., 3,226, $1,350.
20, Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 3,207, $1,300.
21, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 3,184, $1,275.
22, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 3,171, $1,250.
23, Travis Anderson, Washington, Ill, 3,141, $1,225.
24, Jacob Heger, Spring, Texas, 3,004, $1,200.
300 Games (9): Bryon Smith, Lonnie Waliczek, Parker Bohn III (2), Anthony Colosimo, Tom Hess, Eugene McCune, Eric Forkel, Pete Weber.