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2011/02/27

 【PBA】 U.S. Open 【Finals】

Koivuniemi's Missed 10 Pin Hands Norm Duke Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open Title, 34th Career Title

Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., won his 34th Professional Bowlers Tour title and seventh career major in the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier Sunday with a stunning 225-216 victory over Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, Mich., when Koivuniemi missed a 10 pin spare in the 10th frame.

Duke, the tournament's top qualifier, closed his game with four consecutive strikes, to force Koivuniemi to mark in the 10th, but the Finnish native, one of the best spare-shooters in professional bowling, uncharacteristically missed the single-pin spare attempt.

With his victory, Duke earned $80,000 and moved into a tie for fourth place on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour's list of all-time title-winners with fellow PBA Hall of Famer Mark Roth.

"You'd like to say to yourself I just won the U.S. Open, and maybe I'll grow into that, but right this minute, I feel like Mika lost the U.S. Open," Duke said. "But I'm sitting here, holding the trophy. I had conceded the match. I knew the last four strikes were important, because you never know what'll happen. But missing the 10 pin is like having your ace pitcher on the mound and he throws four straight balls, and you lose."

Duke knew exactly how Koivuniemi felt on his spare attempt because in 2008, when Duke won his first U.S. Open title to complete the PBA Triple Crown and Grand Slam, he had to convert the 2-4-5-8 "bucket" in the 10th frame to win.

"I couldn't feel my legs on the approach on that shot," Duke said. "That's what happens under pressure. That's why guys miss three-foot putts. And it's fatigue. I'm exhausted. If I had to make a 10 pin to win, it would be suspect at best."

"It's not like I didn't deserve to win," Duke added. "I was the top qualifier. I did throw four strikes in a row, after leaving a solid 8 pin in the eighth frame. I did what I needed to do."

Koivuniemi, the No. 3 qualifier for the U.S. Open stepladder finals, eliminated Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., 236-222, in Sunday's first match. The key shot in that match was a pocket 7-10 split by Shafer in the eighth frame, following a double that ended his hopes for his first major title in a record 12 appearances in major championship television finals.

Koivuniemi, the only player in PBA history to reach the television finals in all four PBA major championships in a single year, eliminated Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., in the semifinal match, 241-158. Jones left splits and failed to convert in the fourth, sixth and eighth frames.

"Duke is one of the greatest players ever. I knew it was going to be a tough match," Koivuniemi said. "I took the biggest shot of my life in the 10th frame and left the 10 pin, but unfortunately I didn't make my spare. It was my nerves, I guess. I was thinking about the wrong things. This is the first time in my life I've lost a title like that."

"I sat there stunned, shocked," Duke said. "I knew I had just won the U.S. Open, but at that moment, my only thought was Mika had just lost. I was just like a fan watching in the living room. How could you not feel badly for him."

"Mika will be fine, he'll bounce back. He's going to be our Player of the Year," Duke said. "But he'll never forget that one."

Over the past five years, PBA Tour players have a 95.9% success rate in converting the 10 pin on 710 attempts on national television.

The Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour’s next event is the Mark Roth Plastic Ball Championship which begins Wednesday at AMF Thruway Lanes in Cheektowaga, N.Y. The four-player stepladder finals will air live on ESPN Sunday, March 6, at 1 p.m. Eastern. Brian Ziesig of Levittown, N.Y., is the defending champion. Live coverage of qualifying and match play will be webcast on Xtra Frame, pba.com’s exclusive video streaming service. For subscription information, visit pba.com.


 

2011/02/26

Duke Earns No. 1 Berth for U.S. Open Finals; Shafer Ends O'Neill's Bid for Repeat, Advances to Sunday's Championship Round

Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., will bowl for his 34th career title and seventh major championship Sunday as the top qualifier in the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier.

Duke, 46, battled Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., through 16 games of match play Saturday before winning the final match to finish with a 13-10-1 match play record and 50-game total of 11,098 pins, including match play bonus pins, locking up the top berth in Sunday's ESPN finals by 71 pins. Jones earned the second spot in the finals with 11,027 pins.

Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, Mich., made PBA history by advancing to the nationally-televised finals in all four major championships during the 2010-11 season. Koivuniemi finished sixth in the eight-man stepladder field in the PBA World Championship in January, won the $250,000 first prize in the $1 million PBA Tournament of Champions a week later and finished third in the Bayer United States Bowling Congress Masters in mid-February. The Finland native qualified third with 10,993.

Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., earned the fourth spot in the stepladder finals with a 10,982 total and then advanced to Sunday's championship round when he defeated defending champion and No. 5 qualifier Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., 193-183, in Saturday's night stepladder round. O'Neill jumped out to a 40-pin lead after five frames, but back-to-back open frames let Shafer back into the match. Shafer struck out in the 10th frame to force O'Neill to mark, but when O'Neill left a 4-6-7 split in the 10th frame, his hopes for back-to-back titles vanished.

Shafer, a four-time PBA Tour champion, will bowl Koivuniemi in Sunday's first championship round match. Shafer is trying for his first major title. ESPN will air the finals live at 3 p.m. Eastern.

In Saturday night's first stepladder match, O'Neill defeated Dan MacLelland of Saginaw, Mich., 204-150.

Duke, who needs one more victory to tie PBA legend Mark Roth for fourth place on the list of all-time PBA Tour title winners, said he left Florida six days ago with a specific goal in mind and now it's attainable.

"I'm exhausted. I'm out of gas. My hand's killing me. I'm in excellent shape, but I'm tired," Duke said. "But it's a new tournament now. Everything up to now is gone. Forget it. It's all new tomorrow."

"You always want to bowl one match. It's a 50-50 chance to win the title if you only have to bowl one game. It's 25 percent or worse if you aren't. And you can't win if you aren't in the title match - and I'm in the title match."

"I worked harder today than I have ever worked. I had a little cushion this morning and I need every single pin. I think I bowled horrible today and I'm in the lead, so think about what the other guys are feeling? It was very, very difficult."

"The money means nothing," Duke added. "I just want the trophy. Two years ago I had the lead and I lost. You don't get over it. In 2000 I lost the U.S. Open title by a pin to Robert Smith, and that one still hurts. You don't forget. I hate finishing second."

The Shafer-Koivuniemi winner will advance to the semifinal match to meet No. 2 Jones. The semifinal match winner will bowl one game against Duke for the $80,000 first prize and the final major title of the 2010-11 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season.


 

2011/02/25

Fast Start Propels Duke into Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open Lead Heading into Final Day of Match Play

Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., won his first six matches and lost his next two Friday, but his strong start was enough for him to overtake defending champion Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., and take the lead in the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier.

Duke, a 33-time Professional Bowlers Association champion and one of two players (Mike Aulby, Indianapolis, is the other) to complete the PBA Grand Slam of major championships, advanced from third to first with a 34-game total of 7,662 pins, including match play bonus pins. Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., was second 83 pins behind Duke, with O'Neill third at 7,527 pins.

Also leading the bid for six spots in the stepladder finals were Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte in fourth place, amateur Marcus Berndt of Sweden - a Wichita State University student - in fifth and Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., in sixth place.

Duke was in control of the round until the final two matches which were televised live on ESPN2 for the first time in PBA Tour history.

"The television lights were a bother, blinding at times," Duke said. "I applaud the PBA for putting this element into the event. We need to do things like this, but you also have to make perfect shots at US Open. It was hard to do, for all of us. We bowl our finals on TV and those of us who have done that have some experience with the lights, but those lights were blinding at times. I'd never experienced anything quite like it.

"But we do this for a living and we know about it. Next time, I'll know to bring sun glasses."

Despite closing with two losses, Duke was pleased to be the leader of the pack.

"When you start an event with 380 people and with one day left, you're in lead, I'll take it," he said. "In my position at 46 years of age, it's all about winning. I've done a lot in my career. I'm building a legacy and winning another U.S. Open would add to that. I see myself with multiple U.S. Open titles, even though I don't have them yet. You have to believe, and I believe."

"The majors are everything to me. The majors cement your place in history, and this is the hardest title, bar none, to win. I won the U.S. Open in 2008 and it took me 27 years to do it. That one was for everything: the grand slam, the triple crown. I'm glad I don't have that hanging over my head any more. The only thing bothering me now is, can you win or can't you?"

"Tomorrow the pressure increases exponentially," Duke added. "Your hands sweat. The players will be scared, confident, excited. They'll run the gamut of all of the emotions. When the day is done, they will be physically and mentally drained, and that's how I like it."

Following Saturday's final two eight-game match play rounds, the top six will advance to the stepladder finals. The first two matches will air live on ESPN2 Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern when the No. 5 qualifier will bowl against the No. 6 qualifier, with the winner taking on the No. 4 player.

Saturday's winner will join the top three finalists for Sunday's championship round at 3 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. First prize in the final major championship of the 2010-11 PBA Tour season is $80,000.

During Saturday's match play rounds, pba.com's Xtra Frame video streaming service will provide live coverage of key matches as part of 70 hours of live online coverage during the week To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame logo.

 

 【PBA】 U.S. Open 【Cashers Round】

O'Neill Leads Field of 24 Survivors into Start of Match Play in U.S. Open

Defending champion Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., led the 24 remaining survivors into the opening round of match play in the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier Friday.

O'Neill held a 114-pin lead over 2006 U.S. Open winner Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., and a 129-pin edge over 2008 U.S. Open champ Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla. Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte was in fourth place.

The field of 24 heading into match play later Friday included five amateurs: Wichita State University student Marcus Berndt of Sweden; 18-year-old E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind.; second-round leader Fero Williams of Fairfield, Ohio; Mark Clark of Naperville, Ill., and Matthew O'Grady of South Amboy, N.J. Also among the match play finalists are six PBA members who are seeking their first Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title: John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, N.Y.; Dan MacLelland of Saginaw, Mich.; John Furey of East Windsor, N.J.; Andres Gomez of Colombia; Martin Larsen of Sweden and Brian Valenta of Lockport, Ill.

Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., who is trying for an unprecedented fifth U.S. Open title, was in eighth place heading into match play.

The final two games of match play will be covered live on ESPN2 tonight starting at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Following Saturday's two eight-game match play rounds, the top six will advance to the stepladder finals. The first two matches will air live on ESPN2 Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern when the No. 5 qualifier will bowl against the No. 6 qualifier, with the winner taking on the No. 4 player.

Saturday's winner will join the top three finalists for Sunday's championship round at 3 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. First prize in the final major championship of the 2010-11 PBA Tour season is $80,000.

During Saturday's match play rounds, pba.com's Xtra Frame video streaming service will provide live coverage of key matches as part of 70 hours of live online coverage during the week.


 

2011/02/24

Defending Champion Bill O'Neill Charges into Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open Lead After Three Rounds

Defending champion Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., charged into the third round lead in the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier Thursday, hoping to turn a month of mourning into a week of celebration.

O'Neill, who sat in fifth place after 12 games, fired games of 247, 214, 254, 266, 237 and 257 on the demanding U.S. Open lane condition during Thursday's third round to finish qualifying with 4,094 pins and a 103-pin lead over 2006 U.S. Open champion Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C.

Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., was in third place with 3,983 pins followed by Canadian citizen Dan MacLelland of Saginaw, Mich., at 3,944, and Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, with 3,901 pins. Duke is the 2008 U.S. Open champion. Barnes won the event in 2005. MacLelland, who is finishing is final year of college at Saginaw Valley State University, is trying for his first professional title.

O'Neill, who won the Pepsi Viper Championship in October for his third career title, exercised his newly-discovered patience to advance into the lead.

"There are a lot of guys here who can have a good day, but stringing them together is the hard part," O'Neill said. "I had a really good day. Whenever I hit the pocket, I struck, which is telling me my ball is doing the right thing."

"Basically I used the same ball for this same squad last year (in Indianapolis)," he continued. "I'm very confident right now. Things have been going well. Now that I've been around for a few years, I'm starting to figure things out."

O'Neill admitted that he stumbled briefly Wednesday night when he started thinking about the recent death of his grandfather.

"Last night the first couple of games were a little rough," he said. "My whole family was here. I started thinking about my grandfather who passed away the day we started bowling in the Tournament of Champions (in late January), so it was tough to get out of my own way for those couple of games. I was super close to my grandpop, so I'm trying not to think about him because I get a bit emotional. I'm trying to focus on my bowling, but I'm definitely dedicating this tournament to him."

The field of 383 has been cut to the top 95 players for Friday morning's eight-game cashers' round. After the cashers' round, the top 24 will advance to the round-robin match play finals, bowling three eight-game rounds Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon. ESPN2 will provide live coverage of Friday night's final two games of match play at 6 p.m. Eastern.

After a total of 50 games, the top six will advance to the stepladder finals which will begin with two matches live on ESPN2 Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern. The No. 5 qualifier will bowl against the No. 6 qualifier, with the winner taking on the No. 4 player. Saturday's winner will join the top three finalists for Sunday's championship round at 3 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. First prize in the final major championship of the 2010-11 PBA Tour season is $80,000.

During U.S. Open week, pba.com’s Xtra Frame video streaming service is providing more than 70 hours of live coverage of qualifying and match play rounds. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame logo.


 

2011/02/23

Ohio Amateur Williams Overcomes 141 Game to Retain Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open Second Round Lead

Amateur Fero Williams of Fairfield, Ohio, stumbled briefly, but maintained the composure of a veteran Wednesday to retain the second round lead in the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier by 83 pins over Canadian citizen Dan MacLelland of Saginaw, Mich.

The 30-year-old Williams, bowling in his sixth U.S. Open, survived a 141 game that helped drop his 12-game average by 20 pins to 228.41, but he still finished with a 2,741 pinfall total to fend off MacLelland's charge out of 25th place. Williams and MacLelland, a college student at Saginaw Valley State University where he starred as a collegiate bowler, are both trying for their first Professional Bowlers Association titles.

Three pins behind MacLelland was 33-time PBA Tour winner Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla. Duke, who won the 2008 U.S. Open at Carolier, entered Wednesday's second round in 22nd place. Duke had 2,655 pins while Martin Larsen of Sweden was fourth at 2,622 and defending U.S. Open champion Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., rounded out the top five with a 2,619 total.

"I had a bad game, but it was more because I was lost on that pair of lanes," Williams said. "I just took what I could and moved on."

"The lanes played real tight today. I had keep my arm swing tight and be very close to my target to make things happen. If I got just a little fast, I could tell. The ball rolled past break point and couldn't get back to the pocket."

"But I feel great where I'm at," he continued. "I went plus 50 today (50 pins over a 200 average), and I probably should have been higher, but I threw the ball good. I have a good idea of what the lanes are going to give me tomorrow, so I'll be ready."

Williams, a former Team USA member, is bowling in his sixth U.S. Open, but has yet to qualify among the top 24 for match play. Past experience, he said, has taught him to not look too far ahead.

"My goal is just throw it good, take my time, be patient," he said. "I'm going to throw every shot like it was my last. I'm not even looking ahead to match play. I just want to stay even or go plus (over a 200 average) every squad."

"If I make it, I make it," he added. "If not, I'm learning a lot. I learn a lot every time I bowl this tournament. You won't learn much when you're bowing good; you learn when you're bowling bad."

The entire 383-player field will bowl its final six-game qualifying round Thursday to determine the top 95 players who will advance to the eight-game cashers' round Friday morning. After a total of 26 games, the top 24 will advance to the round-robin match play finals, bowling three more eight-game rounds Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon.

The top six after 50 games will advance to the stepladder finals which will begin with two games live on ESPN2 Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern. Saturday’s winner will then join the top three finalists for Sunday’s championship round at 3 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. First prize in the event is $80,000.

During U.S. Open week, pba.com’s Xtra Frame video streaming service will provide more than 70 hours of live coverage of qualifying and match play rounds. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame logo.


 

2011/02/22

Ohio Amateur Fero Williams Averages 248 to Take First Round Lead in Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open

Amateur Fero Williams of Fairfield, Ohio, averaged 248.17 to race away with the first round lead in the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier Tuesday by 105 pins over a pair of South American players, Andres Gomez of Colombia and Ildemaro Ruiz of Venezuela.

Williams, a 30-year-old former Team USA member, rolled games of 269, 234, 268, 266, 194 and 258 on the most demanding lane conditions of the 2010-11 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour season, finishing his opening round with a 1,489 total. Williams has never won a PBA title and an amateur has never won the U.S. Open.

"I want to win," Williams said. "I didn't come out here just to say I bowled with the great ones. Twenty years from now, it would be great to look back and say I won the U.S. Open. That's what we all want as bowlers - to win a PBA title, to say that I was the best guy that one day."

Williams has bowled in the U.S. Open the past six years, making the cashers' round cut five times, but never finishing among the top 24. But he also has been learning.

"What I've learned bowling against the pros is take your time, stay calm, every shot is critical, relax and repeat shots," Williams said. "When you're an amateur, most of the conditions you bowl on are a lot softer. When you bowl these guys, you have to take your time and think about what you need to do. Patience is a virtue."

Gomez and Ruiz, who averaged an impressive 230.67, were tied with 1,384 pinfall totals. Like Williams, both are also trying for their first PBA titles. Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., the winner of the 2010 PBA World Championship and runner-up in the 2011 PBA Tournament of Champions in January, was one pin behind Gomez and Ruiz.

All 383 players in the field will bowl two additional six-game qualifying rounds Wednesday and Thursday before the field is cut to the top 95 for an eight-game cashers' round Friday morning. The top 24 after a total of 26 games will then advance to three eight-game round-robin match play rounds Friday night and Saturday.

The top six players after 50 games will advance to the unique six-player stepladder finals, starting with two games live on ESPN2 Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern. Saturday's winner will then join the top three finalists for Sunday's championship round at 3 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. First prize in the event is $80,000.

During U.S. Open week, pba.com's Xtra Frame video streaming service will provide more than 70 hours of live coverage of qualifying and match play rounds. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame logo.


2011/02/20

松永裕美が開幕戦で涙の勝利!

師弟ともに涙なみだの優勝!

ボウリング日本伝来150周年の今年、女子プロボウリング開幕戦となる第33回関西オープン女子が2月18日より神戸スカイレーンを舞台に開催され、本日最終日を迎えました。

2日間にわたって行われた予選12Gは、約2ヶ月たっぷりと充電してきた選手達のパワーが炸裂。パーフェクトこそ達成されなかったものの、あちこちでナインコールがかかるハイスコア合戦となり、順位もめまぐるしく変動します。

そんな大乱戦をくぐり抜けた長縄多禧子、阿部聖水、谷川章子、板倉奈智美、姫路麗、吉野操、大山由里香、西村美紀など12名の選手による決勝ラウンドロビンは、ビッグゲームがあちこちで飛び出すさらなる打ち合いに。この激戦を制してファイナルステージへの切符を手に入れたのは、ラウンドロビン12Gで順位を守り抜いた松永裕美と時本美津子、地元の大声援を背負った中谷優子、そして大人っぽく成長した佐藤まさみの4人。

4人全員が優勝経験を持つ折り紙付きの実力派、誰が勝っても不思議のない顔ぶれで行われた決勝ステップラダーは、佐藤VS中谷の4位決定戦からスタートします。

プロボウラーとして育ててくれたセンターとファンへ優勝という最大の恩返しをしたい中谷が2フレーム目からターキーを持ってきてリードを取りましたが、7・8フレーム目を連続でオープンにしてしまい、ノーミスを守った佐藤が逆転。中谷も最後まで諦めずパンチアウトを決めましたが、佐藤に再び追いつくことは叶いませんでした。

続いて時本と佐藤による3位決定戦は、これまでの打ち合いから一転、両者ともにストライクが続かず接戦のまま10フレ勝負に持ち込まれましたが、9フレーム目からオールウェーを決めた佐藤がわずかなリードを守り抜き、かろうじて時本を下します。

勝ち上がりが優勝パターンの佐藤、ぶっちぎりの独走を得意とする松永。二人のための舞台は整い、松永の師匠である柴田英徳が見守る中、頂点を決する戦いの火蓋が切って落とされます。

スペアスタートの松永に対し、佐藤はダブルでスタート。しかし佐藤が3フレーム目をオープンにすると、松永はダブルに続き中盤で4連続ストライクを決めて一気に形勢逆転。佐藤も9フレーム目でスプリットをカバーするなど果敢に松永を追いますが、松永が10フレーム1投目でストライクを決めた時点で佐藤の敗北が確定します。

地元に愛されてファイナルまで戦い抜いた中谷、師匠に優勝する瞬間を見せたいという夢を叶える一歩手前まで行きながら果たせなかった口惜しさを、年をまたいだ次の大会で見事晴らした松永。感動の涙が尽きない、この記念すべき年に相応しい開幕戦となりました!

 

 【JPBA】 関西オープンボウリングトーナメント 【ラウンドロビン】

 

松永裕美

ポジションマッチ1位の松永裕美は204で時本美津子(247)に敗れるも余裕のトップシード、2位に最年長優勝を狙う時本、3位に地元優勝を飾りたい中谷優子、そして4位に一昨年プロデビュー年でいきなり2勝を挙げた佐藤まさみが進出を果たす。


 

2011/02/13

Iowa's Tom Hess Wins First Lumber Liquidators PBA Title in Bayer USBC Masters

Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, thrust his hands to the sky, jumped into the air and relished his place in bowling history as he claimed the title at the 2011 Bayer United States Bowling Congress Masters on Sunday at the National Bowling Stadium.

Hess defeated top seed Jack Jurek of Lackawanna, N.Y., 225-214, to win his first career Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour title.

"I can't put into words right now what this means, this is just a lifelong dream realized," said Hess, who defeated Mika Koivuniemi of Finland, 254-219, for the right to bowl Jurek. "I am a PBA champion now. It's something I've wanted to do since I was very little."

Jurek opened up the championship match in strong fashion, striking on six of his first seven shots and taking a 22-pin lead after seven frames, but disaster struck for the top seed. Jurek left back-to-back splits for open frames in the eighth and ninth.

"All I was thinking was to keep the pressure on him," said Hess, whose only open in the title match came in the first frame when he failed to convert a 4-9 split. "That's why we bowl 10 frames. I caught my bad break early in the game and was able to come back from it."

After Hess struck on his first shot in the 10th frame, he needed just a handful of pins on his final two shots to win, when Jurek approached him and gave Hess some words of advice.

"He actually came up to me and said congratulations, get your emotions together and make a good shot," Hess said. "He's a true gentleman. I almost feel bad that I took his title away from him, but I earned it."

Jurek finished second at the 2006 Masters to Doug Kent, losing as the top seed in that event as well. He said he felt comfortable and was content knowing he made good shots.

"I wasn't the most relaxed that I've been on television, but I wasn't bad," said Jurek, a two-time winner on the PBA Tour. "I felt like I made a lot of quality shots. The two open frames I had in the eighth and ninth, that's part of bowling. Those were two shots where I didn't feel nervous or anxiety."

When Jurek stepped up in the final frame of the championship match, he trailed by one pin. He delivered a clutch strike on his first shot, but left a pocket 7-10 split on his second shot and got one pin.

"Even a spare there forces him to go spare, strike to win and for your first title and a major title, that's not the easiest thing to do," Jurek said. "Throwing the second strike in the 10th and forcing him to double to win would have put a whole new emphasis on things. It was a huge shot."

In the semifinal, Hess and Koivuniemi both started with five consecutive strikes before Koivuniemi opened in the sixth frame. Hess went on to throw two more strikes to run his string to seven in a row before leaving the 3-6 in the eighth frame. Hess converted spares in the final three frames to advance.

In the opening match of the day, Koivuniemi jumped out to a big lead against Mike DeVaney of Murrieta, Calif., and took a 230-206 victory.

The 2011 USBC Masters, the third of four major championships on the 2010-11 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour, featured a field of 256 of the top professional and amateur players in the world competing for an overall prize fund of $235,000.

The Masters was the second stop on the new World Bowling Tour organized by the World Tenpin Bowling Association. The World Tour is a new concept developed by the WTBA to showcase the best bowlers from around the world.

Players who compete in the selected international events and finish among the top three men and top three women in the final points standings will be eligible to compete in the World Bowling Tour Finals, a special televised event with a prize fund of $40,000.


 

2011/02/11

Jurek Earns Top Seed for Bayer USBC Masters Finals

For the second time in his career, Jack Jurek of Lackawanna, N.Y., has earned the top seed for the television finals at the United States Bowling Congress Masters. Now he hopes to take the next step and win his first major title.

Jurek went 6-0 in the double-elimination match-play bracket at the 2011 Bayer USBC Masters, locking up the top seed with a 668-583 victory over Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa. Hess earned the No. 2 seed for the finals, which will be broadcast live on ESPN on Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Mika Koivuniemi of Finland secured the No. 3 seed and will face No. 4 seed Mike DeVaney of Murrieta, Calif., in the opening match of the stepladder finals at the National Bowling Stadium.

For Jurek, his success this week was a flashback to 2006 when he went unbeaten in match play only to lose in the championship match to Doug Kent, 277-230.

"The last few weeks of bowling haven't been very good for me, so I've been trying to find a happy place and 2006 in Milwaukee was it for me," said Jurek, who has two career titles on the Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour. "The most important thing for me is to try and stay relaxed and calm. I can't think about the magnitude of winning the Masters."

Jurek said the outcome in 2006 didn't leave a negative taste in his mouth because of the way Kent bowled in the final, although he hopes this Sunday he will be on the other side and be the one shooting the big game.

"If you tell me right now that I didn't have to put my shoes on and bowl but could take a 230 game in the final of a major championship, I'd take it," Jurek said. "If I stay relaxed and bowl well, I can beat anyone."

In the battle for the top seed, Jurek opened up against Hess with nine strikes in a row before shooting 276 and taking a 94-pin lead and never looking back.

Hess will be making his second appearance in the televised finals of a PBA Tour event. In January 2009, he made the finals of the Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship, which was also held at the National Bowling Stadium.

"It's going to be very emotional for me on Sunday," said Hess, who finished fifth with Laura Hardeman in the mixed doubles event. "It might have cost me the top seed because I was so emotional when I won the match to make the show. Winning a PBA title has been a dream for me since I was a kid."

In the final matches of the losers bracket, Koivuniemi defeated 1990 Masters winner Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Ore., 695-646, while DeVaney survived a close 594-591 match with 1987 Masters winner Rick Steelsmith of Wichita, Kan.

Koivuniemi will be looking to win his second consecutive major title. He took home the biggest prize in bowling history when he won $250,000 for his victory at the PBA Tournament of Champions last month. Koivuniemi, who has three career major titles, won the Masters in 2000 for his first PBA title.

DeVaney has won two career PBA titles, the most recent coming at the 2009 PBA World Series of Bowling in the Scorpion Championship. He will be making his first appearance in the Masters championship round.

The USBC Masters is a major on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour and the champion of the event will earn $50,000. The runner-up will take home $25,000, third place will earn $15,000 and the fourth-place finisher will earn $10,000.


 

2011/02/10

Koivuniemi Among Unbeaten Players at Bayer USBC Masters

Finland's Mika Koivuniemi's proficiency in major tournaments continued Thursday night as he went 2-0 in matches at the 2011 Bayer United States Bowling Congress Masters to lead a group of 16 undefeated players.

Koivuniemi, who last month won $250,000 for his victory at the Professional Bowlers Association Tournament of Champions, dominated his first two matches at the National Bowling Stadium and is the highest seed remaining in the winners bracket at No. 7.

"I'm probably bowling better than I have in my entire life," said Koivuniemi, who won the Masters in 2000 for his first career Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title. "If I keep it up I like my chances to make the show. But you never know if you will run into someone who will bowl a big series."

Koivuniemi defeated No. 58 Ronnie Russell, 690-572, in the first round and then took down No. 26 Brad Angelo, 754-664, in the three games, total pins matches.

"I really like where I am right now," Koivuniemi said. "It's been a long time since I went 2-0 in matches to start the Masters. I feel like I can bowl good enough to beat anyone right now. A lot depends on who I bowl and what pair I bowl on."

The double-elimination match-play bracket wasn't kind to the top seeds as No. 1 Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., No. 2 George Lambert IV of Canada, No. 3 West Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, and No. 4 Jason Belmonte of Australia were all eliminated on Thursday night.

Defending champion Walter Ray Williams Jr. entered match play as the No. 64 seed and he upset O'Neill in the first round, 739-712, but then went on to lose his next two matches to be knocked out of the tournament with a 1-2 record.

In the winners bracket, two amateurs remained alive in their quest to join an elite list of amateur players to win the Masters. Erik Vermilyea of Mansfield, Texas, and Lucas Legnani of Argentina both stayed unbeaten Thursday. Mathew Jones of Avondale, Ariz., is the lone amateur left in the losers bracket.

The only woman remaining in the field is Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J., who made sports history last year by becoming the first woman to win a PBA Tour title. She will take on the man she beat for that title, Chris Barnes, in the losers bracket Friday morning.

A total of 32 players remain in the hunt for this year's Masters title with 16 players in the winners bracket and 16 players in the losers bracket. All players completed 15 games of qualifying over three days to earn their spot in match play.

The USBC Masters is a major on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour and the champion of the event will earn $50,000. The final four players who survive bracket play will advance to the championship round, which will be televised live on ESPN at 3 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.

 

 【PBA】 Bayer USBC Masters 【Casher's Round】

O'Neill Earns High Qualifier Honors at Bayer USBC Masters

Team USA member Bill O'Neill of Southampton, Pa., emerged as the high qualifier Thursday after 15 games at the 2011 Bayer United States Bowling Congress Masters.

The three-time winner on the Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour and last season's U.S. Open champ finished qualifying with a 3,434 total, an average of 228.9, and will face defending champion and No. 64 seed Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., in the opening round of the double-elimination match-play bracket at the National Bowling Stadium.

"I haven't been bowling great, so to come out here and throw it well is nice," said O'Neill, who earned a $1,000 bonus for being the top qualifier. "I have a lot of confidence going into match play."

The top 63 players from the final qualifying standings advanced to match play. George Lambert IV, who led the first two rounds, qualified second with 3,423, while Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, was third with 3,410.

Match play begins at 4 p.m. Pacific on Thursday with three rounds of matches on the schedule. By the end of the day, only 32 players will remain in the field.

The USBC Masters is a major on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour and the champion of the event will earn $50,000. The final four players who survive bracket play will advance to the championship round, which will be televised live on ESPN at 3 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.


 

2011/02/09

Lambert Maintains Lead at Bayer USBC Masters After Second Round

Feeling relaxed and laid back after putting up a big score in the first round, Canadian George Lambert IV maintained his lead after two rounds of qualifying at the 2011 Bayer United States Bowling Congress Masters.

Lambert finished with a 10-game total of 2,356, an average of 235.6, on Wednesday at the National Bowling Stadium. Three-time Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour winner and Team USA member Bill O'Neill is second with 2,345.

After shooting 1,256 in the opening round, Lambert fired 1,100 in Wednesday's second round. He had games of 215, 236, 188, 248 and 213.

"It's just nice to come out and bowl well," Lambert said. "To still be in the lead at the Masters after Day 2? That's where you want to be."

The top 65 players after 10 games advanced to Thursday's third round of qualifying, which will determine the top 63 players who will join defending champion Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., in the double-elimination match-play bracket.

With a hefty cushion on 63rd place, O'Neill said he will use the final five-game block to gather information for match play.

"I'm going to try some different stuff and see what works," said O'Neill, who shot 1,195 for five games Wednesday. "I want to experiment and get some other bowling balls out of my bag and see what else works out there. I want to be prepared for match play."

Should Lambert retain the No. 1 position heading into match play he would face Williams in the first round. Williams finished the second round outside of the cut number but still advances to match play as the No. 64 seed. He finished in 151st place with a 10-game total of 1,937.

"I'm confused because I thought I had been throwing the ball really well," said Williams, a USBC and PBA Hall of Famer who has 47 career titles. "Yesterday the pins didn't fall at all, but today was a little better. At least with the games I bowled, I have some idea what's going on. I'm not in the best frame of mind right now but match play is a different animal and I just have to perform."

The USBC Masters is a major on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour and the champion of the event will earn $50,000 for first place. The final four players who survive bracket play will advance to the championship round, which will be televised live on ESPN at 3 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.

At the end of 10 games, two players tied for 65th place and had a one-game roll-off for the final spot in Thursday's final five-game block. Brian Himmler of Cincinnati defeated Tyler Wilds of Mendon, Mich., 185-134, to advance.


 

2011/02/08

Canada's Lambert Leads First Round at Bayer USBC Masters

After finishing in a tie and losing a roll-off to advance past the first cut last year, George Lambert IV came into the 2011 Bayer United States Bowling Congress Masters determined to avoid that situation at all costs.

The Canadian got off to a hot start to the tournament, shooting 1,256 for five games, an average of 251.2, to take the opening round lead Tuesday at the National Bowling Stadium. Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Ore., the 1990 Masters champion, sits in second with 1,200.

Lambert, who finished third at the 2006 Masters, shot an 820 set for his first three with games of 255, 279 and 286 before closing with 203 and 233.

"I tied for the last spot last year, and I remember being lost the last few games," Lambert said. "You have to get what you can get early because it's a shorter format. I definitely didn't want to be fluttering around the bubble tomorrow. I wanted to come out here and get off to a great start."

After Monday afternoon's practice session, Lambert said he was a bit uncomfortable with his ball reaction and entered Tuesday's round unsure of his game plan.

"I came into today pretty nervous because during the practice session my look wasn't very defined," Lambert said. "I didn't know how I was going to play the lanes. I decided to play them a little straighter and it paid off. I caught a couple good pairs and ran with it."

Defending champion Walter Ray Williams Jr. is competing in qualifying after a rule change for this year's Masters. Williams will advance to the match-play bracket no matter what, but can earn a higher seed with a good performance.

The 47-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion from Ocala, Fla., got off to a shaky start in the first round and sits in 205th place with a total of 914. Should he remain outside of the top 64, he would be placed in the No. 64 spot in Thursday afternoon's bracket.

All 256 players will return Wednesday for five games of qualifying before the field is cut to the top 65 for five final games of qualifying Thursday morning. The top 63 players plus Williams will move on to the double-elimination match-play bracket Thursday afternoon.

The USBC Masters is a major on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour and the champion of the event will earn $50,000 for first place. The final four players who survive bracket play will advance to the championship round, which will be televised live on ESPN at 3 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.


 

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