VIENNA, Austria – The 2012-13 Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year race got even more interesting Sunday when Mika Koivuniemi, a Finnish native now living in Hartland, Mich., won his third PBA International Tour title of the season, defeating fellow Finn Pasi Uotila, 258-237, in the title match of the Columbia 300 Vienna Open at Plus Bowling Center.
With his win, Koivuniemi became the first PBA Tour player to win three titles – all on foreign soil – during the 2012-13 season. He previously won the Round1 Japan Cup followed by the Qatar Open in back-to-back World Tenpin Bowling Association/PBA International Tour events in December 2012. Jason Belmonte, Australia (Bear Open and USBC Masters) and Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif. (Chameleon Open and Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship), are the only other multiple title winners this season with two each.
Koivuniemi, who owns 12 PBA Tour titles, also moved into second place in the WTBA’s World Bowling Tour men’s points standings and won a 7,000 Euro first prize (est. US$9,500) to take the 2012-13 PBA Tour earnings lead with $172,312 (roughly $3,500 ahead of Belmonte).
The Vienna Open was the next-to-last World Bowling Tour qualifying event heading into the PBA World Series of Bowling. With his victory, Koivuniemi earned 50 WBT points and now ranks second with 534 points, trailing leader Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., who has 563 points after picking up 23 points for his seventh-place finish in Vienna. Trailing Koivuniemi and Rash on the men’s points list are Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas (506); Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C. (494); Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas (491), and Belmonte (477).
The top three men and top three women on the WBT’s rolling two-year competition points list will earn berths in the WBT Finals presented by the PBA, which will be held on Nov. 3 as the final event on the PBA World Series of Bowling V program. The top three WBT women have clinched berths. Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., is the leader with 647 points followed by Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y. (555) and Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif. (539).
The final WTBA/PBA International Tour tournament and final WBT qualifying event leading into the PBA World Series of Bowling V will be the WBT Thailand which will be held Oct. 14-21 at Bul-O Paragon in Bangkok, Thailand. WBT points at stake begin at 50, 40, 35, 30 and 25 for the top five players, respectively, with lesser points awarded based upon where players finish.
WSOB V is set for Oct. 25-Nov. 3 at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas. The WBT Men’s and Women’s Finals will be held on Nov. 3. Finalists in each gender division will bowl for $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 prizes.
Seven PBA Tour titles remain to be decided during the 2012-13 season: the WBT Thailand, four animal pattern championships (Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion) plus the PBA World Championship during WSOB V, and the season-ending Round1 Japan Cup in Tokyo.
COLUMBIA 300 VIENNA OPEN
Plus Bowling Center, Vienna, Austria, Oct. 6
1, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, €7,000 (est. US$9,500).
2, Pasi Uotila, Finland, €5,000.
3, Dom Barrett, England, €3,500.
4, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, €2,500.
Match One: Uotila def. Fagan, 242-207.
Semifinal Match: Uotila def. Barrett, 272-187.
Championship: Koivuniemi def. Uotila, 258-237.
Round Three Standings (after 12 games, top four advanced to stepladder finals):
1, Koivuniemi, 2,893.
2, Barrett, 2,876.
3, Uotila, 2,834.
4, Fagan, 2,790.
5, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 2,758, €2,000.
6, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 2,750, €1,900.
7, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 2,732, €1,800.
8, Martin Paulsson, Sweden, 2,711, €1,700.
9, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 2,695, €1,600.
10, Anthony Pepe, U.S., 2,693, €1,500.
11, Christopher Sloan, Ireland, 2,691, €1,400.
12, Stuart Williams, England, 2,617, €1,300.
13, Paul Moor, England, 2,608, €1,200.
14, Mik Stampe, Denmark, 2,589, €1,100.
15, Jaroslav Lorenc, Czech Republic, 2,571, €1,100.
16, Markus Bergendorff, Denmark, 2,565, €1,000.
17, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 2,530, €1,000.
18, Tobias Bording, Germany, 2,523, €1,000.
WORLD BOWLING TOUR STANDINGS (as of Oct. 6)
Men’s Points Standings
1, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 563
2, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 534
3, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, 506
4, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 494
5, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 491
6, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 477
Women’s Points Standings
1, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 647
2, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 555
3, Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., 539
4, Shannon Pluhowsky, Kettering, Ohio, 367
5, Diandra Asbaty, Chicago, 365
6, Jazreel Tan, Singapore, 303