PBA Spare Shots: PBA Japan Regional Program Off to Stunning Start

by Bill Vint July 18, 2014 06:53

The PBA’s first international regional tournament program, PBA Japan, is off to a stunning start and already has a “superstar” after its first two weekends of activity.

PBA Commissioner Tom Clark, who attended the second weekend of PBA Japan Region competition over the July 12-13 weekend at Sound Bowl in Ushiku along with PBA Deputy Commissioner Kirk von Krueger, got a first-hand look at the program, met many of the players and tournament officials, and witnessed Yuka Tsuchiya’s historic performance in adding the PBA Japan Women’s Chameleon and Chameleon Open titles to the Women’s Cheetah and Cheetah Open titles she won the previous weekend at Tokyo Port Bowl.

“Yuka has tears in her eyes when we told her she’s now eligible to bowl in the PBA Tournament of Champions and World Series of Bowling,” Clark said.

“It was an extremely successful weekend,” Clark added. “The PBA Japan tournament staffers were everything we’d ever want representing our organization. Japan Bowling Promotions, our partner in the creation of the PBA Japan Region, ran smooth events, with live streaming coverage that will soon be available on Xtra Frame, provided outstanding on-site exposure for the PBA and their main sponsor, DHC, and there were large fields considering the short amount of time we’ve had to promote the program.

“It was very gratifying to see how much the PBA brand means to the Japanese bowlers. The players wore dye-sublimated jerseys with PBA League or PBA player replicas. Our animal pattern lane conditions defined the playing fields. The respect the players gave us and the pride they demonstrated as PBA International members was terrific.

“And topping it all off was watching Yuka Tsuchiya sweep all four of our inaugural women’s and open regional titles. For one person to survive the demanding format and win four trophies and roughly $20,000 in U.S. dollars was incredible.”

Tsuchiya, a 31-year-old veteran of Japanese professional competition, won the Women’s Chameleon title over a field of 29 players on Saturday, defeating Hiroko Shimizu, 221-157, in the championship match. On Sunday, she topped a field of 72 men and women in the Chameleon Open, defeating Naoshi Ishimine in the final match, 197-176, for her fourth consecutive title. With her wins in the Cheetah Open and Chameleon Open, she joins Missy Parkin and Kelly Kulick as the third woman to win two PBA “open” regional titles.

Clark said he and von Krueger had an opportunity to visit with all of Japan’s bowling leaders and discuss the PBA’s long-term goal of expanding PBA-level competition around the world.

The PBA Japan Region has four more tournaments scheduled in its inaugural season: the PBA Japan Viper Open Sept. 15 at Sagami Fast Lane in Sagamihara, the Women’s Scorpion and Scorpion Open tournaments Nov. 8-9 at Higashiyamoto Grand Bowl in Tokyo, and the Badger Open at a location and date to be announced.

The PBA will help the Japan Region expand its international coverage via Xtra Frame. The Cheetah events are already archived on Xtra Frame (with original commentary in Japanese), the Chameleon finals will be added to Xtra Frame’s programming in the near future, and the PBA is working toward carrying future events live.

PBA HALL OF FAMER DEL BALLARD JR. RECOVERING AFTER BYPASS SURGERY

PBA Hall of Famer Del Ballard Jr., a 12-time PBA Tour title winner who currently is PBA Tour representative for Storm Products, is recovering after successful heart bypass surgery in the Dallas area on Tuesday.

"Del underwent a triple bypass and valve repair,” wife Carolyn Dorin-Ballard said Friday. “His surgeon is thrilled with the results and Del is already walking well. It’s a slow process but everything is on track. Thanks to everyone for your support and well wishes."

Ballard celebrated his 51st birthday on July 1.

RACE FOR PBA50 PLAYER, ROOKIE OF THE YEAR RESUME ON XTRA FRAME

The race for PBA50 Tour Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Super Senior Player of the Year and berths in the PBA50 Tour Finals enters the home stretch starting Friday in Fort Wayne, Ind., and PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel will video stream all of the action from the final four events live.

The PBA’s senior citizens return to action with a new Dick Weber Super Senior Classic, presented by Storm, for players 60-and-older. Pro Bowl West in Fort Wayne will host the Dick Weber event Friday thru Sunday, followed immediately by the Pro Bowl West Fort Wayne Classic for all players 50-and-older (including any “super seniors” who care to compete), July 20-23.

The PBA50 Tour continues with the Dayton Classic presented by Roto Grip, July 29-31, at Capri Bowling Lanes in Dayton, Ohio; the South Shore Open presented by DV8 at Olympia Lanes in Hammond, Ind., Aug. 4-7, and the season-ending Treasure Island Resort & Casino Open presented by Hammer at Island Xtreme Bowl in Welch, Minn., Aug. 10-13.

PBA Hall of Famers Norm Duke, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Pete Weber, Tom Baker, Parker Bohn III and Amleto Monacelli are fighting it out for Player of the Year. They also are leading the competition points race for six spots in the PBA50 Tour Finals to be held at PBA World Series of Bowling VI in Las Vegas in late October. Duke and Bohn are also leading the “rookie” race while two other Hall of Famers, Johnny Petraglia and Dale Eagle, are frontrunners in the “super senior” race.

To follow the competition as it unfolds, subscribe to Xtra Frame. Monthly subscriptions are $7.99. A full-year subscription is $64.99. Visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link to enroll.

ROE CASHES, HARDEE LEADS POINTS IN FIRST PBA WOMEN’S REGIONAL EVENT

Amateur Kimberly Roe of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., earned a check for finishing 17th in the field of 76 players, and new PBA member Christina Hardee of Mount Dora, Fla., became the first woman to earn PBA Women’s Regional points as the new PBA program for women bowlers made its debut in the PBA Crystal Automotive Spring Hill South Open at Spring Hill Lanes in Spring Hill, Fla., Sunday.

The PBA’s recently-announced regional program for women drew four competitors in Spring Hill, where Roe cashed for $425 while Hardee –who had cashed in two previous PBA South Regional tournaments as a non-member – finished 60th. But as a new PBA member, Hardee is the early South Region points leader in her bid to earn a spot in the PBA Women’s Regional Finals in Las Vegas later in the year. Non-members Morgan Rosario of Gainesville, Fla., and Amber Ottilige of Lake Wales, Fla., were the other two women who bowled in Spring Hill.

Two PBA Women’s Regional events in the Central and Midwest Regions scheduled for this weekend have been replaced on their respective regional schedules due to a conflict with the BPAA Women’s All Star which gets underway Sunday in Rockford, Ill. The Central Region’s first women’s event will be part of the Lefeld Implement Central Classic at Pla-Mor Lanes in Coldwater, Ohio, Aug. 15-17 while the Midwest Region’s debut event for women will be the Bowlerama Lanes Midwest Open presented by Radical at Bowlerama Lanes in Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 22-24.

PBA REGIONAL SUMMARY: BEASLEY WINS SOUTHWEST SUPER REGIONAL IN LUBBOCK

Mitch Beasley of Nashville, Tenn., returning to competition after a two-year layoff due to a back injury, defeated amateur Jason Duran of Littleton, Colo., 226-217, to win the PBA Lubbock Southwest Super Regional Open, presented by Track, at South Plains Lanes in Lubbock, Texas, Sunday.

Beasley jumped to an early lead in the final match when Duran left a pocket split in the third frame. After fighting his way back into the match, Duran left the 7-10 split in the ninth frame to allow Beasley a chance to clinch the title and $10,000 first prize with a spare in the 10th. The title was Beasley’s 17th in PBA Regional competition. The tournament drew a field of 138 players.

● Amateur Sean Riccardi of St. Petersburg, Fla., defeated Dustin Ochoa of Carrollton, Texas, 256-214, to win the 26th annual PBA Crystal Automotive Spring Hill South Open at Spring Hill Lanes in Spring Hill, Fla., Sunday.

Riccardi posted a 10-2 match play record and rolled three 300 games in the preliminary rounds to qualify as top seed for the stepladder finals by 253 pins over fellow amateur Jason Mahr of Spring Hill. Ochoa, also an amateur, defeated Mahr, 277-214, in the semifinal round match to advance to the title match. Riccardi earned $2,500 for winning the event, but doesn’t earn a PBA title because he is a non-member.

Jay Boyle of Garnet Valley, Pa., ended his seven-year quest for his first PBA title when he defeated Sammy Ventura of Syracuse, N.Y., 237-175, to win the PBA50 Cecil Raymond Memorial presented by Track at Playdrome Cherry Hill in Cherry Hill, N.J., Sunday.

The tournament, which began in 2004, was renamed this year to honor its sponsor who passed away in January. Raymond was the 2013 recipient of the East Region’s Pat Patterson Award for outstanding contributions to the region. Along with his first PBA Regional title, Boyle earned a $1,500 first prize.

Brad Bufkin of Citrus Heights, Calif., defeated Dennis Horan of Oakley, Calif., 225-164, to win the PBA Wine Country West/Northwest Open presented by Hammer at Double Decker Lanes in Rohnert Park, Calif., Sunday. In addition to his first PBA Regional title, Bufkin earned a $2,000 prize.

● On tap for the July 18-20 weekend are the Boss Snow Plows/Brunswick Central Open at PinHeads Bowling Center in Fishers, Ind.; the Homefield Eastern Open presented by Motiv at Homefield Bowl in Yonkers, N.Y.; the St. Charles Lanes Midwest Open presented by Storm in St. Charles, Mo., and the PBA/PBA50 Sands Regency West/Northwest Doubles at High Sierra Lanes in Reno, Nev.

The July schedule concludes over the July 25-27 weekend with the PBA50 Sparetimes Hampton Southern Open at Sparetimes Bowling Center in Hampton, Va.; the Pure-It Pro Shop East Open presented by DV8 at Cedar Lanes in Lebanon, Pa.; the Farmer’s State Bank/Roto Grip Central Re-Entry Open at Angola Bowl in Angola, Ind.; the PBA50 Progressive/Gerdeman Insurance Agency/Al Smith Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep Central/Midwest Classic at Al-Mar Lanes in Bowling Green, Ohio; the Fort Sill Southwest Open presented by Columbia 300 at Twin Oaks Bowling Center in Fort Sill, Okla.; the Plamor Lanes Midwest Challenge (for non-winners) presented by Track in Muscatine, Iowa, and the PBA and PBA50 Boise Northwest/West Opens at 20th Century Lanes in Boise, Idaho.

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.

QUICK NOTES:

● Looking for a great deal on PBA logoed merchandise? Visit the PBA Tour Store for T-shirts, caps, clearance items and special buys: https://www.kotisdesign.com/estore/landing.asp?estore=pbastore

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