PBA Spare Shots: Was “The Villages” PBA50 Field the Toughest Championship Group in PBA History?

by Bill Vint April 24, 2014 07:40


It’s one of those unofficial statistical categories, but long-time PBA observers have been wracking their brains trying to recall if there was ever a tougher field of finalists than the group of five who bowled for the PBA50 Tour UnitedHealthcare Sun Bowl in The Villages title Tuesday night at Spanish Springs Lanes in Florida.

All five finalists – top qualifier Tom Baker, Pete Weber, Norm Duke, Parker Bohn III and Walter Ray Williams Jr. – were PBA Hall of Famers and combined they have won 164 PBA Tour titles, plus another 19 PBA50 Tour titles (not including The Villages’ title Duke won Tuesday). Baker was low man on the PBA Tour titles list with 10. Weber and Duke are tied for third on the all-time list with 37 each. Bohn is sixth with 33. Williams is the all-time leader with 47 Tour title.

Baker is the leader in PBA50 Tour titles with 10 (fifth-best on the all-time list). Williams has won seven titles as a “senior” player. Weber won two titles in his “rookie” year in 2013. Duke got his first PBA50 title in his second appearance (he finished second to another Hall of Famer, Amleto Monacelli, in his “senior” debut a week earlier in New Port Richey, Fla.) Bohn, who also bowled in his second PBA50 event in The Villages, had top-five finishes in both events.

In addition, Williams is a seven-time PBA Player of the Year and two-time defending PBA50 Player of the Year. Duke and Bohn have each won PBA Player of the Year honors twice. Weber has never won Player of the Year honors, but is a former PBA and PBA50 Rookie of the Year. Baker is the only player to win PBA50 Player of the Year honors four straight years.

The PBA50 Tour season is just getting started, but it promises to be the most exciting campaign ever for the elder statesmen of the PBA…and all of the remaining tournaments will be covered live on PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel Xtra Frame (except for the USBC Senior Masters, which will be aired on USBC’s online channel BowlTV. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link. Next up: the PBA50 Miller High Life Classic presented by Columbia 300 from George Pappas’ Victory Lanes in Mooresville, N.C., Monday, April 28-Wednesday, April 30.


In a best-of-three-game final between PBA Hall of Famers, Brian Voss of Atlanta, Ga., defeated Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., 221-216, 257-247, to win $2,000 and his seventh PBA Regional title in the PBA50 Sarasota South Open at Sarasota (Fla.) Lanes on Friday, April 18.

In the semifinal round, Voss eliminated another hall of famer, Wayne Webb of Columbus Ohio, 180-189, 247-198, 212-167, while Williams swept Ron Mohr of Las Vegas, 187-186, 212-209.

● Amateur Eric Traylor of Pearland, Texas, defeated 2012 PBA Southwest Region Rookie of the Year Sean Lavery of Plano, Texas, 241-173, to win the PBA U Can Bowl 2 Houston Southwest Challenge presented by Motiv at Houston’s Del-Mar Lanes Sunday. PBA Challenge events are limited to bowlers who have never won a PBA event.

In the championship match, Traylor followed a 7-10 split in the first frame with a string of eight strikes and coasted to the victory. He earned $2,000 but does not get credit for a PBA title because he isn’t a member.

Amateur Brett Wolfe of Tempe, Ariz., defeated Steven Villanueva of North Las Vegas, 256-171, to win the PBA South Point West Challenge event at South Point Bowling Center on April 18, and Californians Kevin Jones and Deeronn Booker teamed up to win the companion PBA South Point Member/Non-Member Doubles on Sunday.

Wolfe, who won the 2002 USBC Masters as an amateur, earned $1,700, but doesn’t get credit for a PBA title because he is not a PBA member. PBA Challenge events are open to non-champions only. Both weekend tournaments were presented by Ebonite.

Booker, from Anaheim, teamed up with Jones, from Diamond Bar, to defeat Jarrett Mizo of Honolulu and Tony Sambueno of Saginaw, Mich., 470-341, in the doubles title match to claim the $4,000 first prize.

● Closing out the April schedule will be the star-studded PBA50 Cherokee Lanes Southern Open presented by MOTIV in Canton, Ga., April 24-26. The tournament is expected to attract a field of top 50-and-older PBA players as they make their way north to North Carolina for the Miller High Life Classic presented by Columbia 300 at George Pappas Victory Lanes in Mooresville, N.C., April 27-30. The Miller High Life Classic will be covered in its entirety via PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame. Click on the Xtra Frame logo on the pba.com homepage for subscription and schedule information.

The annual PBA West/Northwest Hawaii tripleheader is also on tap, beginning with the PBA Kona West/Northwest Open at KBXtreme Lanes in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, April 27-28, and followed by the PBA John Gonsalves Memorial West/Northwest Open at Pearl Harbor Naval Station on May 1, and the Hickam AFB West/Northwest Open presented by Columbia 300 May 2-4.

The May 2-4 PBA Regional calendar also includes the Junction City (Kan.) Southwest/Midwest Open presented by Storm at Junction City Bowl; the Country Club Lanes Central Open presented by MOTIV in Elkhart, Ind., and the reduced entry-fee Bowl-A-Vard Lanes Midwest Open presented by Roto-Grip in Madison, Wis.

On the May 9-11 schedule are the PBA and PBA50 Baldo Campana Central Opens benefiting the Lorain County Kids Fund at Rebman Recreation in Lorain, Ohio; the Rocky Mount South Open at The Bowling Center in Rocky Mount, N.C.; the Midcontinent Communications Midwest Open presented by DV8 at Empire Bowl in Sioux Falls, S.D., and the Vanessa Brown Homes West Open presented by Columbia 300 at Yosemite Lanes in Modesto, Calif.

The May 16-18 schedule features the PBA Lightning Lanes Challenge for non-winners in Marion, N.C., and the PBA/PBA50 Daffodil Bowl Opens presented by U.S. Foods in Puyallup, Wash.

Memorial Day weekend will include the CBS Sports Network television finals of Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort Summer Swing in Shawnee, Okla., along with the Colony Park Lanes East Challenge (a reduced entry fee non-champions event) in York, Pa.; the Brookmont Bowling Center Midwest/Central Challenge (a non-champions event) and the Brookmont Bowling Center Midwest/Central Re-Entry Classic presented by Radical Bowling in Kankakee, Ill., and a pair of West Region PBA50 events in Arizona – the fifth annual Lona King Sagurao West Open at Johnson Lanes in Sun City West followed by the Miller Lite Western Open at Starlite Lanes in Flagstaff.

For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area.


● Three-time PBA Tour titlist Teata Semiz, who celebrated his 80th birthday on April 16, returned to competition in the PBA50 Tour UnitedHealthcare Sun Bowl in The Villages presented by Radical this week. Semiz, an eight-time PBA50 Tour winner, finished 106th in the 158-player field. It was Semiz’s first PBA50 Tour appearance since 2012.

In 2013, non-member Darrell Ducat became unofficially the oldest player ever to bowl in a PBA tournament when he competed in the PBA50 Tour’s Sun Bowl in The Villages at age 87.

Anthony LaCaze of Melrose Park, Ill., the 2009-10 PBA Rookie of the Year, recorded the fourth-highest all-events total in 111 years of USBC Open Championships history on his way to the Regular All-Events lead on April 21. The 31-year-old right-hander, a former PBA Touring Player, posted series of 766 in doubles, 765 in team and 742 in singles for a 2,273 total. The USBC Open Championships all-events record belongs to Matt McNiel of Prior Lake, Minn., who shot 2,326 to win the 2010 Regular All-Events title.

● Reminder: Four paid entries into Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort PBA Summer Swing will be awarded in a “win-a-spot” qualifier to be hosted by FireLake Bowling Center on Sunday, April 27, at noon. The entry fee is $150. Competition will involve nine games total pinfall, including three games each on the Wolf, Badger and Bear patterns that will be used during the Summer Swing. To enter the win-a-spot qualifier, call FireLake at 405-275-0404.

● Former PBA member Lou Ivancik of Detroit, a pro shop owner, bowling center manager and member of the Greater Detroit Bowling Hall of Fame, died on April 18 at age 77.

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