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2009/02/27

Wes Malott Is Top Qualifier for PBA Etonic Marathon Open Stepladder Finals

Arguably the most versatile bowler on the Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour, Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, earned top qualifier honors Friday for Sunday's stepladder finals of the PBA Etonic Marathon Open at Woodland Bowl.

With a 12,272 54-game pinfall (227.2 average), Malott finished 223 pins ahead of Hall of Famer Pete Weber with 12,049 (223.1 average) who earned the No. 2 spot for the finals.

"I'm feeling it and I can tell you everybody out here who bowled the 54 games is feeling it," said Malott of the grueling format. "I was able to adjust to the pressure of bowling the different conditions --- I had a little trouble this morning on the Earl Anthony pattern but I found I had to stay slow on the Shark pattern tonight and I bowled well."

The unique tournament format consisted of 54 games --- total pinfall with no match play --- over the last four days contested on six different PBA Tour lane condition patterns. The long format and the use of PBA's Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon, Scorpion, Earl Anthony and Shark oil patterns was designed to test the competitors' stamina and versatility.

As the tournament leader, Malott earned the privilege of choosing the Scorpion oil pattern for the ESPN telecast which starts Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. The Scorpion pattern incorporates a larger volume of oil on the lanes applied to a distance of 42 feet which often demands a more direct line.

"There are a few reasons why I chose Scorpion, but really nothing more complicated than I do well on it," said the 32-year-old right-hander.

Earlier this season Malott, a five-time Tour titlist, won the Tour's Versatility Swing which consisted of six tournaments that featured the Tour's six named lane conditions. During the Swing he won two events including the CLR Carmen Salvino Scorpion Classic.

Weber, who is tied with Mark Roth for third on the all-time PBA Tour win list with 34 titles, came from 45th after the first round to second.

"Today especially, I was focused on what I had to do when I had to do it. I didn't second guess myself," said the 46-year-old Weber. "I've always said that the more games you bowl the cream rises to the top. Don't count anybody out when you have nine-game blocks."

Looking for his first win this season, Weber has made the last three out of four Tour telecasts.

Qualifying third was hometown favorite Ronnie Russell of Indianapolis. The 29-year-old Russell has toured off and on for the last six years with a best finish of second in last season's PBA Exempt Doubles Classic with Joe Ciccone.

Opening the stepladder on Sunday will be No. 4 qualifier Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., who coming into this event is the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour points list leader taking on No. 5 qualifier Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, the reigning PBA Player of the Year.

The winner earns a $35,000 first prize and a one-year PBA Tour exemption.


 

2009/02/26

Wes Malott Living Up to His Mr. Versatility Title in PBA Etonic Marathon Open

Wes Malott has already proven that he is one of the most versatile players in professional bowling by winning the Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour six-tournament Versatility Swing this season. He backed that title up by moving into the lead in the Etonic Marathon Open after Thursday's third and fourth rounds at Woodland Bowl.

Designed to showcase the most versatile players, the Versatility Swing was based on players' performance in six PBA Experience lane condition championships held earlier this season.

Malott had a 2,230 pinfall (247.7 average) in Thursday's nine-game block on PBA's Scorpion oil pattern and 2,019 (224.3 average) on the Chameleon pattern. The Etonic Marathon Open features the PBA six lane conditioning patterns over the course of the 54-game tournament.

"I just want to keep the momentum going and get to the show," said the 32-year-old right-hander from Pflugerville, Texas. "I've proven that I have had success on the different (PBA) patterns so I've got the confidence."

With an overall 8,295 36-game pinfall (230.4 average) on four different lane conditions thus far in the tournament, Malott holds a 129-pin lead over reigning PBA Player of the Year Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, in second.

"Having to bowl 54 games in this tournament on six conditions really tests you mentally and physically, Malott added. "I accomplished what I wanted to do today. Hopefully I'm leading the tournament when we get to the finals, but making the show is the main thing."

Malott earned the Versatility Swing title by winning two tournaments and making the ESPN-televised finals three other times. His finishes in the Versatility Swing events were: Pepsi Viper Championship, fourth; Chameleon Championship, third; CLR Carmen Salvino Scorpion Championship, first; Cheetah Championship, 12th; Lumber Liquidators Shark Championship, second, and first in the Bayer Earl Anthony Medford Classic which was conducted on the Earl Anthony lane condition.

On Friday, the 52-player field will bowl two more nine-game blocks on the Earl Anthony and Shark conditions, respectively. The top five will then advance to the ESPN finals on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern with the No. 1 qualifier determining the lane conditions to be used during the telecast.


 

2009/02/25

Chris Loschetter Second Round Leader in PBA Etonic Marathon Open

After bowling on two different lane conditions in two days and averaging 230.06 overall, Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, moved into the lead after the second round of the Professional Bowlers Association Etonic Marathon Open Wednesday at Woodland Bowl.

Finishing second to Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., after Tuesday's nine-game first round on the Cheetah condition, Loschetter put together a nine-game block of 1,997 Wednesday on the Viper condition for an overall 18-game pinfall of 4,141, to move ahead of McCune by 29 pins.

The Etonic Marathon Open features the Tour's six lane conditioning patterns and a format that includes 54 games, total pinfall with no match play. The 161-player field has now been cut to the top 53 who will bowl nine games each on the Scorpion and Chameleon oil patterns on Thursday. On Friday the players will bowl nine games each on the Earl Anthony and Shark lane patterns.

"I bowl pretty well on the Viper condition but I feel like I'm one of the stronger versatile players out here," said Loschetter, who finished second in the Pepsi Viper Championship last October to winner Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y. "I think I have all the tools to do well on any pattern I just haven't put it all together this year yet."

The Viper condition measures 38 feet in lane oil distance, and generally, allows bowlers a wider range of strategies to play the lane which seems to match up with Loschetter's game.

"I'm pretty comfortable playing anywhere on the lane but I would say my biggest test yet will be bowling on the Shark and Earl Anthony conditions which are probably the toughest for me," Loschetter added.

Looking for his first Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour win, the 28-year-old Loschetter has finished second four times in his career including his runner-up finish to Angelo. Angelo is currently 30th after Wednesday's second round.

With 45 career PBA Tour victories, all-time win leader Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., moved from 21st after Tuesday's round to third with a 4,047 18-game pinfall.

"I found a good reaction for eight of the nine games today," Williams said. "I bowled well yesterday too but didn't seem to get the same reaction. I just have to make sure I don't get the ball too far right on any of these conditions because the ball just won't come back."

After Friday's competition, the top five players will compete in the ESPN-televised stepladder finals on Sunday March 1 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. The finalists will bowl on the lane condition selected by the No. 1 qualifier.


 

2009/02/24

Perfect Game Helps McCune Take Early Lead in PBA Etonic Marathon Open

With the help of a 300 game, Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., led after the first round of the Etonic Marathon Open Tuesday at Woodland Bowl, a tournament that incorporates a unique format where players compete on six different PBA lane conditioning patterns over the course of the event.

The 40-year-old McCune, who has one Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title to his credit, topped the 161-player field with a 2,156 nine-game pinfall (239.56 average) on the PBA Tour's Cheetah lane condition. His 300 game came in the final game of the block.

"In general I do pretty well at this center and believe it or not I play most of the Tour conditions pretty much the same," McCune said. "Tonight I had a good situation where I was able to play the same area of the lane and just make some speed adjustments."

McCune, who has been battling chronic knee problems this season, finished eighth in the Lake County Indiana Golden Anniversary Championship last November and ninth in the recent United States Bowling Congress Masters, which are his best finishes this season.

"It's been an up and down year and I'm just working through it." McCune said. "It just seems like it's been one thing after the other with the knee. Tonight I was able to keep my ball speed up but as the tournament goes on I might have to work through the pain again."

For the Cheetah pattern the lane is conditioned to 36 feet which is the shortest of the six Tour lane conditioning patterns. The Cheetah generally allows players to make "risk-reward" decisions based on playing the outside areas of the lane.

PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., who won the Cheetah Championship in December, was in 27th after Tuesday's competition.

As part of the Tour's Extreme Swing, the Etonic Marathon Open format consists of 54 games, total pinfall with no match play. That means nine games on the six PBA lane oil patterns, putting the players to a supreme test of stamina and versatility. After Wednesday's competition the field will be cut to the top one-third (53 players) who will bowl nine games each on the Scorpion and Chameleon patterns on Thursday. On Friday the players will bowl on the Earl Anthony and Shark lane patterns.


 

2009/02/22

 

昨年を不本意な成績で終えた者も好成績を残した者も、それぞれ闘志を燃やして臨んだ2009年の女子トーナメント開幕戦・DHCツアー2009第1戦は、気を抜けば一瞬にして順位を落とすハイスコアな戦いとなりました。
DHC専属プロとしての意地を見せた酒井美佳や、アマチュアでただ一人決勝ラウンドロビン進出を果たしたDHC発ボウリング娘の張ヶ谷順子選手、産休復帰後の初優勝を狙う吉田真由美などが目を瞠る活躍ぶりを見せてくれましたが、最終的に予選から決勝ラウンドロビンまでアベレージ230以上をキープした中島 政江と久保田法美、昨年わずか一ヶ月足らずで2勝を挙げて頭角を現した鷲塚志麻、そして永久シード権を持つ大ベテラン稲橋和枝の4人が決勝ステップラダーへ進出を果たします。
満員の観客で沸き返る場内が見守る中はじまった決勝ステップラダー4位決定戦では、決勝ラウンドロビンで熾烈な4位争奪戦を制した稲橋が、ステップラダーに強い鷲塚をねじ伏せて勝利。
しかし3位決定戦では2度のオープンフレームで稲橋に隙が生じると、今大会絶好調の久保田が14ピン差で逃げ切り、トップシードの中島との優勝決定戦へ進みます。
予選を首位で通過したものの、その後は中島の後塵を拝し続けた久保田。4年前の札幌以来何度も優勝を逃して来た中島。女の意地のぶつかり合いとなる最終決戦は、変化したレーンコンディションに双方ともに苦戦する中、1フレーム目をオープンとして出遅れてしまった久保田に対し、中島が中盤以降ストライクを決められないものの確実にカバーし粘り強いボウリングを見せます。
ひたすらノーミスを守り抜いた中島は、ラウンドロビンと合わせて久保田との3度の対決に3度とも勝利を収めることに成功。4年4ヶ月振りの優勝で2009年のスタートを切りました!

優勝決定戦

○ 中島政江 200 - 185 × 久保田法美

珍しく(?)ピンクのユニフォームで望んだ中島が、我慢の投球で最後は泣きながらも見事4年4ヶ月ぶりの優勝を飾る!DHCツアー初・通算9勝目

3位決定戦

○ 久保田法美 225 - 211 × 稲橋和枝

序盤3マークリードの久保田を徐々に追い上げた稲橋だったが8フレスプリットミスが響き久保田が中島との優勝戦へ!

4位決定戦

× 鷲塚志麻 202 - 215 ○ 稲橋和枝

稲橋がターキースタートで逃げ切り3位決定戦へ!

 

 【JPBA】 DHC レディースオープンボウリングツアー 2009 第1戦 【ラウンドロビン】

 

中島政江

 

 【JPBA】 DHC レディースオープンボウリングツアー 2009 第1戦 【準決勝】

 

中島政江

'04の「札幌プリンスカップ」優勝以来、約5年ぶりの優勝を狙う中島政江がトップでラウンドロビンへ!そしてDHC所属の酒井美佳はラストゲーム160で一気に順位を落とすも何とか踏みとどまり8位でラウンドロビン進出を果たした。

 

 【PBA】 GEICO Plastic Ball Championship 【Finals】

Carter Tops Weber for First PBA Title in GEICO Plastic Ball Championship

Jeff Carter of Springfield, Ill., ended his 122-tournament quest for his first Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title Sunday, defeating his idol, Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., 235-213, to win the GEICO Plastic Ball Championship at Brunswick Zone-Wheat Ridge.

Carter, 39, threw six strikes in a row after an opening-frame spare to build a 56-pin lead after five frames and he easily held off Weber to win the $25,000 first prize, a one-year exemption to bowl on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour next season, and a berth in the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions.

The tournament was contested with throw-back polyester bowling equipment that dominated the sport in the 1970s, providing a challenge similar to requiring professional golfers to play an entire tournament using persimmon woods, or tennis players to compete with wooden rackets and cat-gut strings.

With the entire field using identical low-tech bowling balls, the emphasis was on accuracy, speed control and hand action at the point of release. Carter - a contemporary power player - didn't expect to do well when he entered, but he found the equipment limitations actually worked in his favor.

"This tournament took some variables out of play that I've struggled with in the past," Carter said. "I just put my game into slow motion and went from there.

"Bowling against Pete was indescribable," Carter continued, adding with a grin: "Actually, bowling him for the title made it easier. He's my friend. He's also one of my heroes. I've dreamt about bowling him for my first title. Today that dream came true."

Carter also said that Weber had made a reference before the title match that seeing Carter vs. Weber on the scoreboard was special. Pete was referring to memories of his late father Dick Weber's close relationship to fellow Budweiser teammate and hall of famer Don Carter. Jeff Carter is not related to Don, but the symbolism wasn't lost on him.

"Who would have thought it would come down to Carter vs. Weber for my first title," Carter said. "Who could ask for anything better?"

In the first semifinal round match, Weber followed an open frame and spare with eight consecutive strikes to defeat Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 269-226. In the second semifinal match, Carter fell behind when he left and failed to convert the 4-6-7-9-10 "Greek church" in the fifth frame, but struck on six of his next seven shots for a 220-191 victory over Michael Fagan of Patchogue, N.Y.


 

2009/02/21

予選上位の中島政江・久保田法美がそのまま1・2位、そしてDHC娘のアマ張ヶ谷順子選手が一時トップに立つなど大健闘を見せ3位。また大ベテラン斉藤志乃ぶ・稲橋和枝も開幕戦から順調さをアピール、5位・7位につけている。

 

 【JPBA】 DHC レディースオープンボウリングツアー 2009 第1戦 【予選】

 

久保田法美

久保田法美がラストゲーム259でトップを奪取!前半20位から一気に上がった中島政江が2位、そしてDHC専属プロ酒井美佳が期待に応え3位で進出。また後半2回の9発コールで前半50位から猛チャージを見せた森彩奈江が4位で進出。
長縄多禧子が予選8G目大会1号のパーフェクトゲームを達成!(自身5個目)


 

2009/02/20

 

小山幸恵

DHC プロボウラーの小山幸恵が期待に応えトップで本大会へ!

 

 【PBA】 GEICO Plastic Ball Championship 【Round of 8】

Barnes, Weber and Plastic Equipment Match Up in PBA GEICO Plastic Ball Championship

It has been a long time since reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Chris Barnes and PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber have used a plastic bowling ball on a regular basis for other than spare shooting. But they got the most out of that technology Friday when both bowlers advanced to Sunday's finals of the PBA GEICO Plastic Ball Championship at Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge.

Barnes, who is looking for his first win of the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season, defeated Mike DeVaney of San Diego, 4-1 in the Round of 8 best-of-seven match to advance to the finals. He had games of 279, 279, 279, 230 and 257.

"The last time I used a plastic ball on a regular basis was at the American Bowling Congress Tournament in 1992 and I shot an 800 series with it," said Barnes, who owns 10 PBA Tour titles. "Under any circumstances my primary adjustment is speed and release which is particularly critical when you are using plastic equipment."

For today's match play competition all players continued to use identical plastic bowling balls as will the four finalists for Sunday's ESPN finals which will get underway at 1 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Mountain). The concept of having all competitors use identical equipment for this event is to level the playing field from an equipment standpoint.

"For the TV finals adjusting your speed will be especially important because there will be more carry down (lane conditioner moving down the lane)," Barnes continued. "But there is one advantage--there won't be a lot of decisions to make in what equipment to use."

Weber, who is making his second television appearance of the season having previously made the finals when he finished third in the recent Denny's Dick Weber Open, defeated Jack Jurek of Lackawana, N.Y., 4-3 to advance to the finals. Weber said it has been at least 20 years since plastic equipment was the mainstay of his arsenal.

"I like the format and would have had a lot of fun even if I didn't make the finals," said Weber who is tied for third with Mark Roth in career Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour titles with 34. "Using this equipment really made you focus plus you had to have a lot of breaks. You had to make the right adjustments to keep from hitting the pocket like a 6-pound ball."

Joining Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, and Weber, St. Ann, Mo., in the finals will be Jeff Carter of Springfield, Ill., who is looking for his first PBA Tour title and Michael Fagan of Patchogue, N.Y., who hopes to win his first individual PBA Tour title. Fagan, who won the PBA Exempt Doubles Classic with Danny Wiseman last season, finished second to Norm Duke in the Denny's Dick Weber Open.

The GEICO Plastic Ball Championship is part of the PBA's 50th Anniversary season "Extreme Swing," which also includes the Ultimate Scoring Championship, Etonic Marathon Open, Don Johnson Buckeye State Eliminator and the GoRVing Match Play Championship.


 

2009/02/19

Mike DeVaney Leads After Round of 64 Qualifying at PBA GEICO Plastic Ball Championship

In a tournament where all competitors are required to use identical plastic bowling balls, Mike DeVaney of San Diego and two-handed bowling star Jason Belmonte of Australia, are the leaders after Round of 64 qualifying Thursday in the PBA GEICO Plastic Ball Championship at Brunswick Zone Wheat Ridge.

DeVaney leads with a 3,348 14-game pinfall (239.1 average) just eight pins ahead of Belmonte in second with 3,340.

The concept of requiring players to use identical plastic bowling balls for this tournament is designed to provide an even playing field from an equipment standpoint.

"I normally use 8-10 balls in a normal week," said DeVaney, who owns one Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title. "I used one ball all day today. The transition of oil is more consistent over time -- I only moved a total of six boards today between the two squads."

Belmonte's previous best finishes on the PBA Tour were a 10th in the PBA World Championship and a 15th place finish in the recent Denny's Dick Weber Open.

"I was very happy to sneak in through the rabbits (PBA Tour Qualifying Round) and very happy to be in this position," said Belmonte. "Truth be told, the first few shots in each round I threw too hard. For this pattern you had to slow ball speed down."

"Plastic" polyester balls like the ones featured in the Plastic Ball Championship are almost exclusively used for spare shooting due to the balls' tendency to go straight on the majority of today's lane conditions. However, they were at the forefront of ball technology in the 1970s and early 80s. Today's most popular bowling balls are composed of resin with exotic weight blocks, which enhance the balls' ability to hook.

The top 32 players will now move into best-of-seven game matches on Friday until the final four are remaining for the ESPN finals airing Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Mountain).

PBA Hall of Famer Brian Voss and 2009 USBC Masters champion John Nolen were given commissioner's exemptions into the tournament with Voss advancing to the Round of 32 by finishing 14th in qualifying while Nolen failed to advance finishing 45th.

The GEICO Plastic Ball Championship is part of the 50th Anniversary season "Extreme Swing," which also includes the Ultimate Scoring Championship, Etonic Marathon Open, Don Johnson Buckeye State Eliminator and the GoRVing Match Play Championship. The creative format events are meant to test the greatest bowlers in the world in different areas of the game, provide television audiences with a fresh look while providing education on pertinent aspects of the game.


 

2009/02/16

山本勲がPBAツアー参加2戦目のUSBCマスターズにて13位タイに入賞、賞金$3,500(約32万円)を獲得!

参加1戦目のディックウェーバーオープンでは、ロバート・リーや神田勝也らとともに惜しくも予選敗退した山本でしたが、USBCマスターズでは予選28位、準決勝48位で通過しダブルイルミネーション方式(敗者復活あり)の決勝トーナメントに進出を果たします。
決勝トーナメントでは2回戦目でJAPANCUP2006チャンピオンのウォルター・レイ・ウィリアムス・Jrと対戦、ウォルターを相手に僅差で勝利しましたが、3回戦目に対戦した決勝トーナメント1位進出のジョン・ノレンに敗退。
その後山本は敗者ゾーンに移って4回戦目は勝ちましたが、5回戦でノーム・デュークに敗れ、ここで最終13位タイが確定しました。

2戦目で早くも入賞・賞金獲得を果たした山本、3月末に参戦予定の第66回USオープンではさらなる活躍が期待されます!


 

2009/02/15

Top seed John Nolen wins USBC Masters title

Until recently, John Nolen of Waterford, Mich., was a virtual unknown on the national bowing scene. He used Sunday's nationally televised championship round of the 2009 United States Bowling Congress Masters to change that in a hurry.

Competing on television for the first time, Nolen defeated Danny Wiseman of Baltimore, 202-193, to win the USBC Masters and claim his first career Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour title.

Nolen, the No. 1 seed for the championship round, finished as the top qualifier and blew through match play undefeated to win the title. He finished 7-0 in his matches and became the first top qualifier to win the title since Mike Scroggins accomplished the feat in 2005.

"This means everything to me," said Nolen, who earned $60,000 and a two-year PBA Tour exemption. "I came into this week wanting to get a win, and if this is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life, I have to think that way."

Nolen, 29, sat helpless on the bench as he watched Wiseman finish the match. Needing a strike, nine, spare to even the score or two strikes to win outright, Wiseman stepped up and left a 10 pin on his first shot to hand Nolen the victory.

"I don't like rooting for people to miss, really I don't," said Nolen, who won the PBA Regional Players Invitational in December. "If someone strikes, they earn it and they deserve it, but I wasn't too upset to see that 10 pin standing. Danny is a great champion, and I didn't expect anything other than for him to put 10 back in the pit to win the title."

Wiseman started the title match with three consecutive strikes before struggling with ball reaction down the stretch. In the end, he said he just didn't make the right subtle adjustments to win the match.

"You can't second guess yourself," said Wiseman, who was seeking his second Masters title after winning in 2004. "It's all about decision making. You have to make the change and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. You have to live with the decision."

Wiseman, the No. 3 seed, defeated second seed Steve Harman of Camby, Ind., and fourth seed Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., to reach the championship match.

In the opening match of the championship round, Wiseman pulled away early from Jones with five consecutive strikes to start and cruised to a 257-216 victory. Against Harman, Wiseman struck on his final four shots in a 223-188 victory.

The 2009 USBC Masters featured a field of 452 of the best professional and amateur bowlers from around the world. A major on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour, the players competed for an overall prize fund of $350,000.


 

2009/02/13

ESPN TV Field Set for 2009 USBC Masters Finals

After four days of intense competition at Cashman Center, the field is finally set for the championship round of the 2009 United States Bowling Congress Masters on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour.

John Nolen of Waterford, Mich., outdistanced the competition during qualifying to earn the top seed for match play and then cruised untouched through the double-elimination bracket, compiling a 6-0 record on the way to the No. 1 seed for Sunday's finals, which will be televised live on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Nolen defeated Steve Harman of Camby, Ind., 755-632, to earn the top seed and is the first player since 2005 USBC Masters champion Mike Scroggins to lead qualifying at the Masters and advance to the TV show. It will be Nolen's first-career television appearance, and he'll do everything he can to stay calm and keep the momentum in his favor.

"This feels great, but the job isn't done," said Nolen, who averaged 230.39 for 33 games this week. "I'm not competing out here every week just to make the show and go home. I really want to win, and right now, I'm in the best position to do that. To lead wire to wire is amazing, and I just hope I can finish the job."

Nolen entered the season virtually unknown, but quickly got his name in the news with a win at the 2008 Professional Bowlers Association Regional Players Invitational, which also earned him a spot in the recent H&R Block Tournament of Champions and an exemption for the 2009-10 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season.

The 29-year-old right-hander has been a regular face at PBA events since and has gained valuable experience with each success and each defeat. He took what he learned during a disappointing match play performance at the Tournament of Champions and went on to finish eighth in last week's Denny's Dick Weber Open.

Now, he is just one win away from the $60,000 top prize and a two-year Tour exemption on the line at the Masters.

Also making the first singles television appearance of his career is PBA Tour sophomore Harman, who finished second with Jen Petrick at the PBA Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship earlier this year.

Harman will await the winner of Sunday's opening match, which will feature a pair of 12-time Tour titlists, 2004 Masters champion Danny Wiseman of Baltimore and 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C.

Jones' resume includes two major titles, the U.S. Open and the Tournament of Champions, while his best finish at the Masters was fourth in 2006. Wiseman's Masters victory is his lone major title, and it came in front of a record crowd of 4,303 at Miller Park, the home of Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers.

In the years since his Masters win, Wiseman has struggled to fully recover from an ankle injury he suffered in a car accident, but he's still focused on reaching his goals of winning two majors and 15 overall titles before he retires.

"This is my first show of the year, and it feels great," Wiseman said. "It's been a tough couple of years, and some things just haven't felt the same, but I've dealt with injuries before. It's a little frustrating when you feel like you're strong mentally, but your body just doesn't cooperate sometimes. It's been a tough week, but I'm elated."

This year marks the first time since 2001 that the Masters is being held on the same lanes that also will be home to the USBC Open Championships. The relationship began with the inception of the Masters in 1951 but ended when the Masters remained at the National Bowling Stadium from 2002 until January of 2004. It was then held in Milwaukee in October of 2004, and again from 2005 until 2007. Because of its return to the Open Championships venue, the Masters was not held in 2008.

In all, the field at the 2009 Masters included 452 of the best amateur and professional bowlers in the world.

For complete coverage of the Masters, including stories, photos and results, visit bowl.com.

United States Bowling Congress
The United States Bowling Congress, as the national governing body, ensures the integrity and protects the future of the sport, provides programs and services to nearly 2.5 million adult and youth members and enhances the bowling experience.


 

2009/02/12

Pete Weber Focused, Undefeated at 2009 USBC Masters

Even the world's best bowlers need a little coaching sometimes, and thanks to a recent session on the lanes, Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., is filled with confidence and proving it at the 2009 United States Bowling Congress Masters.

The USBC and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer cruised through the first two rounds of match play at Cashman Center on Thursday with wins over Ritchie Allen of Columbia, S.C., (735-619) and 2001 USBC Masters champion Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., (706-595).

Weber is one of 16 undefeated players left in the winners bracket and possibly the most determined when it comes to the Masters.

The 46-year-old right-hander owns 34 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour titles and is tied for second all-time with eight major victories, but the Masters is the one has eluded his grasp. In fact, the Masters is the only major the Weber family has never won, despite a combined 60 PBA titles between Weber and his hall-of-fame father, Dick Weber.

While that small tidbit of bowling trivia is what motivates Weber at the Masters, it was the keen eye of his brother, Rich Weber, that helped get him into top shape for this week's event.

"We recently had a week off, so I went home and was able to see my brother, who has watched me all my life, knows my game and knows what to look for," Weber said. "Whenever I feel like I'm not throwing the ball well, or I'm not striking a lot, I know something is missing, and within a few minutes, he can see what it is."

Thanks to his brother's analysis of his pushaway, Weber's mindset is better and his physical game is where he wants it to be. He's more positive and confident and not second guessing his decisions on the lanes. He's also coming off of a third-place finish at last week's Denny's Dick Weber Open in Fountain Valley, Calif.

Weber will return to the lanes Friday morning at 10 a.m. Pacific and take on Team USA member Nathan Bohr of Wichita, Kan., who defeated Jeff Carter of Springfield, Mo., 705-545, and Robert Gotchall of Lincoln, Neb., 628-626, on Thursday.

"Winning the Masters would give me all of the majors, two more years on the Tour and a boost in the player of the year standings," said Weber, who has never been the PBA Player of the Year. "For now, I'm just hoping the lanes are like they were today, and I want to continue throwing the ball well. I also want to stay comfortable and focused on my own game and not worry about what my opponents are doing."

After Thursday's competition, only 32 of the event's 452 competitors remain in the hunt for the $60,000 top prize and two-year PBA Tour exemption.

Among those left in the winners bracket are top-seeded John Nolen of Waterford, Mich., 2004 Masters champion Danny Wiseman of Baltimore and reigning PBA Player of the Year Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas.

Defending champion Sean Rash of Wichita, Kan., opened the day with a 637-608 win against Keith Odette of Waipahu, Hawaii, but fell to Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., 622-539, in the next round. He finished the day with a 722-645 win over Lonnie Waliczek of Wichita, Kan., and will take on Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio, on Friday morning.

Rash is looking to become just the third person to win back-to-back Masters titles, joining USBC Hall of Famers Dick Hoover (1956 and 1957) and Billy Welu (1964 and 1965).

By the end of the day Friday, only four players will remain in contention for the 2009 Masters crown, and they will battle for the title live on ESPN on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

This year marks the first time since 2001 that the Masters is being held on the same lanes that also will be home to the USBC Open Championships. The relationship began with the inception of the Masters in 1951 but ended when the Masters remained at the National Bowling Stadium from 2002 until January of 2004. It was then held in Milwaukee in October of 2004, and again from 2005 until 2007. Because of its return to the Open Championships venue, the Masters was not held in 2008.

 

 PBA】 USBC Masters 【Qualifying Round 3】

John Nolen Leads Qualifying at USBC Masters

Less than a year ago, John Nolen of Waterford, Mich., realized he had the passion and the talent to make a living on the Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour, and he's done everything in his power to make chasing that dream a possibility.

The past few months have been a whirlwind of success, and Nolen shined again Thursday as he earned high qualifier honors at the 2009 United States Bowling Congress Masters.

The 29-year-old right-hander finished qualifying with a 15-game total of 3,420, an average of 228, to lead the field of 452 of the best professional and amateur bowlers in the world at Cashman Center, the state-of-the-art 60-lane bowling venue that soon will be home to the 2009 USBC Open Championships. He earned the top seed for double-elimination match play, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Eastern today.

Nolen will be joined in match play by 62 other qualifiers and defending champion Sean Rash of Wichita, Kan., who will compete to determine the four players who will advance to Sunday's championship round, which will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern. The winner will take home $60,000 and a two-year PBA Tour exemption.

"It's an honor to be the top qualifier in a field as large and as talented as this," said Nolen, who recently secured an exemption for the 2009-10 PBA Tour season with a win at the 2008 Regional Players Invitational. "As far as match play, though, I'm not going to put a whole lot of stock in being No. 1 because we're all even now, and anything can happen, but I'm definitely confident and will do my best to win because that's what the top seed is expected to do."

Patrick Allen of Wesley Chapel, Fla., earned the No. 2 seed Thursday with a 3,389 total for his 15 games at Cashman Center. Allen, who recently made a record-tying five consecutive championship round appearances, has claimed two titles this season, including the H&R Block Tournament of Champions last month at nearby Red Rock Lanes.

Daniel Miyamoto of Mililani, Hawaii, and second-round leader Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., finished qualifying tied for third place with 3,387, while amateur Tom Smallwood of Flushing, Mich., finished four pins back with 3,383.


 

2009/02/11

Eugene McCune Leads after Second Day at 2009 USBC Masters

Playing pain free for the first time this season, Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., shot a perfect game as he moved into the overall lead after three of four squads Wednesday at the 2009 United States Bowling Congress Masters.

McCune has totaled 2,343 for 10 games of qualifying, an average of 234.3. Propelled by the 300 game, McCune put together a five-game block of 1,203 Wednesday evening. He leads Daniel Miyamoto of Mililani, Hawaii, by 19 pins.

The hard-throwing right-hander has been battling tendonitis and a host of other injuries in his left leg all season and said he was relieved to be able to bowl without pain.

"It's like a breath of fresh air to be able to throw the ball without pain," McCune said. "When you are battling pain like I have, everything about you feels horrible. It even hurts to get up and walk to the bathroom. Then all the sudden it went away and I hope it stays that way. I guess this is what happens when you turn 40, though."

A day after averaging better than 224, Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, improved upon that, shooting 1,171 for five games Wednesday, an average of better than 234, and sits in third with 2,292.

Scroggins, the 2005 USBC Masters champion, said capitalizing on his experience in the event moving forward will be key.

"You win the Masters one year and you just get all that experience," Scroggins said. "In qualifying you just want to stay clean and put up good scores. After that, it starts over and that's when my experience from a few years ago helps out."

Scroggins realizes if he's going to win another Masters title there's a long road ahead. The rest of the field completed their 10-game qualifying totals Wednesday with the top 115 bowlers advancing to Thursday morning's final five-game qualifying block. The top 63 bowlers then join defending champion Sean Rash in the double-elimination match play bracket.

"It would be a great honor and something I can hang my hat on if I could win the Masters again," Scroggins said. "Winning the Masters is one of the toughest feats in our sport, right up there with winning the U.S. Open."

John May of Lincolnton, N.C., currently sits in fourth place with 2,269, while Daniel Dunleavy of Staten Island, N.Y., is fifth with 2,258.

"I've done a lot of practicing leading up to this tournament and now it's a matter of staying calm," May said. "I did a little extra to prepare this week because I love this tournament. There's a lot of bowling and the format is great."

In all, more than 450 of the best professional and amateur bowlers are in Las Vegas with their sights set on the $60,000 top prize.

 

 【BWAA】 News

Duke, Barnes Win 2008 Bowling Writers Association of America Bowler of the Year Honors

On the strength of an unprecedented streak of three consecutive Professional Bowlers Association major titles, Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., has been elected Bowling Writers Association of America Male Bowler of the Year for 2008.

Likewise, Lynda Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, has earned Female Bowler of the Year honors after winning back-to-back titles and $80,000 in prize money in the United States Bowling Congress Queens and USBC Clash of Bowling Champions.

Duke, who earned a PBA-best $229,350 for the calendar year despite battling injuries early in the year, won his third Bowler of the Year title. He received 69 first-place votes for a total of 388 points on BWAA's weighted points scale. He also was honored by BWAA in 1994 and 2000.

The newly-inducted PBA Hall of Famer also prevented a Barnes family sweep. Lynda Barnes' husband Chris was runner-up with 183 points and 13 first-place votes. Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, was third with 142 points (15 first-place votes) followed by Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., 94 (8) and Rhino Page of Topeka, Kan., 32 (1).

Lynda Barnes received 53 first-place votes for 331 points to out-distance Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., who had 281 points (36), and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas, with 192 points (12). It was Barnes' first BWAA Female Bowler of the Year title, although she was BWAA's Amateur Female Bowler of the Year in 1991, 1998 and 2001.

Bowlers of the Year have been selected by the membership of BWAA since 1942. For a complete list of past winners, visit BWAA's official website, and click on the "awards" link.


 

2009/02/10

 【PBA】 USBC Masters 【Qualifying Round 1】

Tuholski Leads after First Day at 2009 USBC Masters

Craig Tuholski of Washougal, Wash., struggled during the first half of the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour season but has been able to pinpoint his weaknesses and make the changes necessary to be successful on the lanes.

The 34-year-old right-hander got the validation he was looking for as he averaged 237.4 and took the overall lead at the United States Bowling Congress Masters with a 1,187 five-game total at Cashman Center on Tuesday.

Tuholski, bowling in his 13th event as an exempt player on the PBA Tour, ended the day with a 289 game and finished eight pins ahead of England's Dominic Barrett, who is second with 1,179. Daniel Miyamoto of Mililani, Hawaii, is third with 1,173.

"It feels good to be in the lead at this tournament, but the biggest part of the event isn't until match play," Tuholski said. "I did what I wanted to do today and got myself in position to make match play, and hopefully, I can keep the same pace tomorrow."

Tuholski admits that some of his struggles this season were in his mental game and some were physical things. During a recent break between events, he spent time working on both.

"If you're not bowling well, you start watching the people who are, and you end up trying to throw the ball like they do, instead of like yourself," said Tuholski, who entered the week 52nd on the PBA points list. "I fell into that trap, and I should've known better. The good news is that it's not too late. I can still make a run and hopefully stay out here for another year."

Tuholski and company now must focus on five more games of qualifying at Cashman Center on Wednesday. The field then will be cut to the top 25 percent, who will return for five additional games Thursday before the top 63 players advance to join defending champion Sean Rash in the double-elimination match play bracket.

In all, more than 400 of the best professional and amateur bowlers are in Las Vegas with their sights set on the $60,000 top prize.


 

2009/02/08

 【PBA】 Denny's Dick Weber Open 【Finals】

Rested Norm Duke Wins Denny's Dick Weber Open

A week-long break on the Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour was a welcome relief for PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke.

Coming off a disappointing 39th place-finish in the H & R Block Tournament of Champions two weeks ago, a rested Duke defeated Michael Fagan 278-168 in the championship match to win the Denny's Dick Weber Open Sunday at Fountain Bowl.

"That week off was everything," said Duke, who was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame the same week as the Tournament of Champions. "I needed it mentally---if there wasn't this break on Tour I would have probably taken a week off anyway."

Duke's win was the 32nd of his career tying him for fifth all-time with fellow Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III. In addition to coming into the tournament with renewed focus, the Clermont, Fla., resident admitted to a little added inspiration from the late Dick Weber.

"When I started the practice session I noticed Dick's photo on a banner and I thought if I'm going to win this tournament I better bowl like Dick Weber," said the 44-year-old Duke. "It means a lot."

For Duke it was his third victory of the season having won the PBA World Championship to start the season, becoming the first player to win three consecutive majors. He also won the Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles with Liz Johnson in January.

Duke, who won a $35,000 first prize, held off the hard-charging Fagan who won three consecutive matches from his No. 5 qualifying position to get to the championship match.

The 28-year-old Fagan opened the stepladder by defeating reigning PBA Player of the Year and 10-time titlist Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, 204-183, then beat four-time Tour titlist Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., 256-223, and Hall of Famer and 34-time titlist Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., 243-201.

"I really didn't have high expectations and I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me," said Fagan, who was trying for his first individual PBA Tour title. "I felt good going into the last match but the lanes were breaking down pretty quickly. I was just hoping I could get one more good game out of it."

"But when Norm's on his game there's really not much you can do."

Fagan, of Patchogue, N.Y., won the PBA Exempt Doubles Classic with Danny Wiseman in 2008 for his lone Tour victory.


 

2009/02/06

 【PBA】 Denny's Dick Weber Open 【Round 3 Round Robin】

Norm Duke Leads Stepladder Final Field for Denny's Dick Weber Open

After a disappointing finish in the recent Professional Bowlers Association H&R Block Tournament of Champions, where he was trying for his fourth consecutive "major" title, Norm Duke regained his focus to take top qualifier honors for Sunday's ESPN-televised stepladder finals of the Denny's Dick Weber Open at Fountain Bowl.

Duke of Clermont, Fla., a 31-time PBA Tour titlist who was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame Jan. 24 in Las Vegas, posted a 17-7 overall match play record and was 7-1 after Friday's final match play round. His 9,371 39-game pinfall total put him 52 pins ahead of fellow Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., who qualified second for the TV finals.

"What else can I say but to stay ahead of Pete Weber in a tournament named after Dick Weber is unbelievable," Duke said. "All I heard was footsteps. It's going to be a tough one Sunday."

Weber, who is tied for third on the all-time PBA Tour title list with Mark Roth with 34 wins, makes his first television appearance of the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season and will be looking for his first win.

"To win this tournament would be like winning a major---it would obviously mean a lot," Weber said. "But I have to say I've had good luck winning tournaments named after professional bowlers. I won one named after Parker Bohn III, Johnny Petraglia and I think there might have been a Don Carter somewhere in there."

Qualifying in the third spot was four-time Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour titlist Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., followed by the reigning PBA Bowler of the Year and 10-time Tour winner Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas in fourth. Both will be looking for their first win of the season.

In a battle that went down to the final frame of the position round match, Michael Fagan of Patchogue, N.Y., defeated Tony Reyes of San Bruno, Calif., 224-216 to earn the fifth and final stepladder spot. Fagan will be looking to win his second career Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title.

The tournament featured the "traditional" qualifying and match play format used in PBA's early years and included three rounds of qualifying after which the top 24 advanced to 24 games of round robin match play to determine the five players for the stepladder finals.

 

 【PBA】 Denny's Dick Weber Open 【Round 2 Round Robin】

Tony Reyes Marches into Lead at Denny's Dick Weber Open

Since squeaking into match play by qualifying 22nd, Tony Reyes of San Bruno, Calif., has made a steady march to the front of the field after two rounds of match play in the Denny's Dick Weber Open at Fountain Bowl.

Reyes, in his 10th year on Tour, has one Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title to his credit, winning the Taylor, Mich., stop in the 2006-07 season. After yesterday's first match play round he was in 11th place.

"It seems like I've been bowling mid-pack the whole season so this feels pretty good," said the 35-year-old righthander. "With this type of format it's kind of like three tournaments in one. I've mainly been grinding it out and now I'm really catching some momentum."

Reyes has compiled a 12-3-1 record after two rounds of match play with a total pinfall of 7,257. He leads PBA Hall of Famer and 31-time PBA Tour titlist Norm Duke in second with 7,203.

Reyes eluded to the fact that this might be his final year on Tour.

"I've had a great run and a lot fun over the last 10 years but I think I'm going to move on to some other things after this season," said Reyes, whose best finish thus far this season is 17th. "Hopefully, I can put together some strong finishes before the end of the season to wrap up."

Rounding out the top five with one more eight-game round of match play to go this evening are Walter Ray Williams Jr., Michael Fagan and Pete Weber.


 

2009/02/05

 【PBA】 Denny's Dick Weber Open 【Round 1 Round Robin】

Pete Weber Back on Top at Denny's Dick Weber Open

Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Pete Weber posted a 7-1 record after the first round of match play to help him take the lead in an event honoring his father's incredible bowling legacy.

Overall, Weber finished with a 23-game total of 5,486 to hold a 63-pin lead over fellow PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., in the Denny's Dick Weber Open at Fountain Bowl Thursday.

"This is the position I want to be in," said the 46-year-old Weber. "At the end of the day tomorrow I want to be in this same spot."

Weber, who is tied with Mark Roth for third all-time with 34 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour titles, is looking for his first television appearance and victory of the 2008-09 season. He credited some recent tips from his brother Rich for getting his game back on track.

"I'm definitely someone who needs to have the physical part of my game right to be at the top of my game as opposed to going to different equipment to make adjustments," Weber said. "When I can feel that my approach, arm swing and follow through are all in synch, I never have to second guess myself."

Currently, the top five in the standings represent 121 PBA Tour titles: Weber, 34; Duke, 31; Michael Fagan, 1; Chris Barnes, 10 and Walter Ray Williams Jr., 45. Three of the top five...Weber, Duke, and Williams...are members of both the PBA and United States Bowling Congress Halls of Fame, and Barnes is the reigning PBA Player of the Year.

The field of 24 players will return for two more 8-game rounds of match play Friday after which the top five will be determined for Sunday's ESPN-televised stepladder final which gets underway at 1 p.m Eastern (10 a.m. Pacific). The winner will earn $35,000 and a one-year exemption on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour.

 

 【PBA】 Denny's Dick Weber Open 【Round 3 Qualifying】

Norm Duke is Qualifying Leader at PBA Denny's Dick Weber Open

After a tough outing in the recent H&R Block Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas where he was trying for his fourth consecutive "major" title, PBA and USBC Hall of Famer Norm Duke emerged as the qualifying leader at the Denny's Dick Weber Open at Fountain Bowl Thursday afternoon.

Duke, who became the first bowler to win three consecutive majors by winning the PBA World Championship to kick off the 2008-09 season last October, averaged 230.6 for 15 games. His 3,460 pinfall total is 35 pins ahead of reigning PBA Player of the Year Chris Barnes in second place.

"You know it was just fry factor the last few weeks with everything going on," Duke said. "Between the traveling, bowling in the T of C and being inducted into the Hall of Fame (PBA) I just couldn't think straight. If I had it to do over again, I probably would have taken a week off somewhere during that western swing."

Barnes finished second in the PBA World Championship opening the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour and is hoping for his first Tour victory of the season.

"You really have to stay on your toes here - this is definitely a thinker's center," Barnes said. "Momentum can be very fleeting here, but I'm making the adjustments and learning how the place plays."

Two-handed bowler and the 2008 World Tenpin Bowler of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia is 12th after qualifying and Brad Angelo made the 24th and final match play cut with a 3,181 15-game total (212 average).

The opening round of match play gets underway this evening with two more rounds to be conducted on Friday to determine the top five for Sunday's ESPN stepladder final scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern (10 a.m. Pacific).


 

2009/02/04

 【PBA】 Denny's Dick Weber Open 【Round 2 Qualifying】

Pete Weber Leads Qualifying after Two Rounds in PBA Denny's Dick Weber Open

Pete Weber averaged 227.4 to take the qualifying lead after two rounds Wednesday in the Professional Bowlers Association Denny's Dick Weber Open at Fountain Bowl.

Weber, the son of the late Hall of Fame bowler Dick Weber, had a 2,274 10-game pinfall to hold a three-pin lead over reigning PBA Player of the Year Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, in second with 2,271. Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., is third after two rounds with a 2,249 pinfall.

Weber, who is tied with Mark Roth for third all-time with 34 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour titles and is also a member of the PBA and United States Bowling Congress Halls of Fame, is looking for his first television appearance and victory of the 2008-09 season.

He credited some recent instruction from his brother Rich with fine-tuning his game.

"Actually I'm bowling better than my performances are showing this year, but I've been getting some advice from several people and I think it kind of confused me," said the 46-year-old St. Ann, Mo., resident. "Recently I went to see my brother Rich and he was able to break down in simple terms what I needed to correct so I'm coming into this tournament with a lot of confidence."

The Denny's Dick Weber Open, the 13th stop on the 2008-09 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour features the "traditional" format used in the PBA's early years with 15 games of qualifying determining the top 24 advancing to three eight-game blocks of round-robin match play. The top five players after match play advance to the stepladder finals.

"I really liked the old format," Weber said. "I think I lot of the guys will tell you that they like bowling the longer formats."

Other notables in the top 20 include Australian two-handed player Jason Belmonte, 10th; 2007 USBC Masters Champion Sean Rash, 12th, and the PBA's all-time Tour titles leader Walter Ray Williams Jr., 16th.

The field of 158 bowlers will return Thursday for a final five-game qualifying block to determine the 24 players who advance to match play beginning Thursday afternoon.


 

2009/02/01

 【PBA】 Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship 【Finals】

Johnson, Duke Nearly Perfect in Winning PBA Mixed Doubles Title

Norm Duke called his 31st career Professional Bowlers Association title "the easiest I've ever won" and that was because he and partner Liz Johnson were nearly perfect in running away with the Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship at the National Bowling Stadium.

Johnson, the first and only woman to advance to the title match in a Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour event, and Duke defeated Jennifer Petrick of Canton, Ohio, and Steve Harman of Indianapolis, 274-180, in the title match to split the $50,000 first prize.

In the Baker Format stepladder finals, where teammates bowled alternate frames, Johnson threw strikes on all five of her shots and Duke had four to build a string of nine team strikes heading into the 10th frame.

"Liz did everything you could ask a partner to do for two days," Duke said. He and his Cheektowaga, N.Y., teammate wound up paired together because they were respective top qualifiers in the men's and women's preliminary rounds.

"With four games to go in qualifying, I looked up at the leader board and saw Liz was pulling away from the field," Duke continued. "I was leading the men and I said to myself, 'I can't let anyone else have that gal to bowl with.' She's that good."

"When we got to the TV show," the newly-inducted PBA Hall of Famer from Clermont, Fla., said, "we were considering throwing our opponents a curveball by having Liz bowl anchor. But we didn't and we started with nine strikes. And then I miss the headpin in the 10th frame. It was embarrassing."

"Had I not had Liz as a partner, I might have bowled a 150 game," Duke grinned. "She was perfect, perfect, perfect. It was the easiest tournament I ever won."

It also was a victory that moved Duke into fifth place on the all-time PBA Tour titles list.

"It was pretty awesome," Johnson said. "Norm was really a great partner. If I needed help, he'd offer it, but he pretty much left me alone. We both want to win. We were both hungry to win. We have that passion to win, so that's what made it so great."

Duke's miscue in the 10th frame didn't bother Johnson at all.

"I gave him a hard time about throwing a Brooklyn in the sixth frame," she said. "I nailed the pocket in the seventh, and I came back and told him 'That's the way you throw a strike.' But he got a harder time from other people than me. As far as I was concerned, the goal was to win and we pretty much had the game locked after six frames, so neither of us was concerned about a 300. It would have been something extra, but I was so happy to win, it didn't matter."

Johnson, 34, has been a shining star in women's bowling since winning back-to-back United States Amateur Championships in 1993 and '94. She won 11 Professional Women's Bowling Association titles before the women's tour ceased operations in 2003. Since then she has frequently competed in PBA events, winning a PBA Eastern Region title as well as finishing second to Tommy Jones in the 2005 Cambridge Credit Classic in West Babylon, N.Y. Most recently, Johnson won the 2007 U.S. Women's Open, and she barely missed making the TV show in the PBA National Bowling Stadium Championship early in January in Reno.

It was also Johnson's third PBA mixed doubles title. She won the inaugural Ladies & Legends in San Diego in 1996 with PBA Senior Tour competitor Mike Kench and the 2007 version of the Ladies & Legends in Rockford, Ill., with Senior Tour partner Roger Kossert.

Shannon Pluhowsky of Phoenix and Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y., started the stepladder final with a 247-209 victory over Laura Hardeman of Chula Vista, Calif., and Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa. Petrick and Harman then defeated Pluhowsky and Angelo, 217-199, followed by a 166-155 decision over Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of N. Richland Hills, Texas, and Sean Rash of Wichita, Kan., to advance to the title match.

The PBA Tour's first mixed doubles event since the Philip Morris Mixed Championships in 1998 was named in honor of one of the sport's most celebrated couples, PBA/PWBA/United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famers Don and Paula Carter. It also was the seventh and final event in the 2008-09 PBA Women's Series.


 

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