Walter Ray Williams Jr. topped a three-man all-star field to win the inaugural PBA50 Tour Finals, Arizona’s Ben Laughlin won the PBA Regional Players Invitational Finals, and Florida’s Greg Young repeated as Teen Masters champion in a television tripleheader that concluded the PBA’s World Series of Bowling V at South Point Hotel, Casino and Bowling Center.
The unique telecast, showcasing the PBA’s 50-and-older senior program, the stars of its year-long regional tournament program, and the future stars of bowling, aired Sunday on ESPN.
In the PBA50 Tour finals, which featured three PBA Hall of Famers who qualified based on competition points earned during the 2013 PBA50 Tour season, two-time PBA50 Player of the Year Williams defeated Venezuela’s Amleto Monacelli, 224-204, after Monacelli eliminated 2013 PBA50 Rookie of the Year Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., 243-208, in the first match.
“The fans had a chance to see three players with a lot of history with the organization and who had great seasons on the PBA50 Tour,” Williams, an Ocala, Fla., resident, said. “You can’t get much better than that.”
Williams, who won three PBA50 titles in 2013, led throughout the match before Monacelli made a late charge with a three-bagger heading into the 10th frame. But Monacelli left the 4 pin on his first ball in the 10th and missed the spare to end his chances.
“The momentum was going back and forth,” Williams said. “It was going my way with a four-bagger and then I left a 10 pin in the ninth which gave Amleto a chance. I was really surprised when he left the 4 pin. If he strikes, the match could have gone down to the last ball.”
Laughlin, who won the combined PBA West/Northwest RPI to qualify for the finals, defeated South Region representative Tom Daugherty of Wesley Chapel, Fla., 225-187, to win the special event for PBA regional champions. The RPI Finals included six PBA members who won RPI titles in their respective regions.
Laughlin won his opening round match by rolling a 222 game against East Region representative Brian LeClair of Albany, N.Y. (198) and Southwest Region representative Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas (163). Daugherty’s 244 eliminated Midwest Region representative Dave Beres of Waukesha, Wis. (202) and Central Region representative Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio (177).
“Bowling on ESPN was a dream come true,” the 42-year-old Laughlin said. “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in bowling.
“I bowled on Tour during the 2005-06 season, but I didn’t fare so well,” he added. “I’ve been bowling regionals ever since and enjoying it. The RPI program with a TV show this year was great. You couldn’t ask for much more than that. It absolutely provided incentives for regional players to get out and bowl.”
The Teen Masters Grand Championship featured a re-match of last season’s finalists, which Young also won. He won his second straight $64,000 scholarship package – the richest scholarship prize in the sport – by beating Ashley Dunn of Palmdale, Calif., in a one-ball roll-off after the best-of-two-game match ended in a tie. Dunn, who was swept in the 2012 title match, got the upper hand when she won the first game, 179-160, but Young sent the match into sudden-death with a 184-153 decision in game two. In the roll-off, Young struck and Dunn left the 2-4-5 to hand Young the victory.
Young, who will graduate from Viera High School in 2014, will attend collegiate powerhouse Robert Morris University-Illinois next fall and plans to pursue a career in cyber security.
The PBA returns to live television on Sunday, Jan. 26, when the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions finals air at noon ET on ESPN.
PBA RPI FINALS
South Point Exhibition Hall, Las Vegas
Ben Laughlin, Chandler, Ariz. ($6,000 and PBA Tournament of Champions entry) def. Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla. ($3,000), 225-187.
Playoff Results (winner of each match advanced; losers earned $1,000)
Match One – Daugherty (244) def. Dave Beres, Waukesha, Wis. (202) and Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio (177).
Match Two – Laughlin (222) def. Brian LeClair, Albany, N.Y. (198) and Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas (163).
South Point Exhibition Hall, Las Vegas
1, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., $10,000.
2, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, $6,000.
3, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., $4,000.
Match One – Monacelli def. Weber, 243-208.
Championship – Williams def. Monacelli, 224-204.
TEEN MASTERS GRAND CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
Championship (best of two games; one-ball roll-off to break tie)
Greg Young, Viera, Fla. ($64,000 scholarship) def. Ashley Dunn, Palmdale, Calif., 160-179, 184-153, 10-7 in one-ball roll-off.