As we say on Hammer down, Sundays are for the bowlers. That was the case on February 11,2018. That’s when the PBA held the stepladder finals of the 53rd Tournament of champions.
The Toc as it is called has delivered no shortage of memories and this tournament was no exception.
The opening match might have been the most uneventful. BJ Moore, the fourth seed did battle with fifth seed Matt O’Grady. O’ Grady cruised to victory after Moore suffered several tough breaks, wining 219-174.
This gave O’Grady a match up with Jason Belmonte, who was looking for his tenth major title. The match came down to the wire as O’Grady failed to shutout Belmonte. Belmonte only needed a double and five pins to steal the win.
His first shot in the tenth went flush for a strike, but the second ball came up just short leaving a ten pin after a messenger pin failed to knock it over and giving the four-pin win to O’Grady.
That set up the semi-finals against Andrew Anderson , newcomer to the tour. This match played similar to the prior one and once again O’Grady walked away with the win by a 194-185 margin.
Waiting in the top position was Jesper Sevensson. Sevensson looked to be the favorite due to his performance in the tournament. However, he never got a good luck and the match remained very close between the tournament leader and last stepladder qualifier.
O’Grady sealed the championship with a late strike and took home the title with a 207-193 decision.
Overall, I really enjoyed the telecast. For one who hasn’t really watched the PBA with any consistency the past few years it was good to watch again. With three of the four matches going down the tenth frame it was exciting to watch.
Granted I wasn’t pulling for O’Grady to win. I just don’t know much about him as a now more casual fan. I would have liked to see Belmonte take it, or local/hometown player Moore win.
Take a look at the PBA’s next few events if you get the chance. They are celebrating an anniversary and it would be nice to support that.
Tonight, five men lace up the shoes and roll the bags into the alley. This time for a major championship, The United States Open.
The opening match of the step ladder is five seed Norm Duke and fourth seed Graham Fach. Duke is looking to secure his third U.S Open win and major win number eight in addition to title number 39 for his career. Fach has one once on tour, but it was the 2016 Barbasol PBA players championship, a major title.
The winner gets three seed Wes Malott. Malot is a 10-time winner, including winning this event before. He looks to become the 12th multi-winner of this event all time.
Sitting in the two seed is Rhino Page. Page used a win over Fach in the position round to jump into second position. He is looking for his first major title and sixth overall.
The top competitor for the Tournament is Jakob Butturff. He led qualifying with 13,101 total pins after match play bonus were included after 56 games. This was 617 pins better than Page. He is looking for his first major title win as well.
The step ladder looks wide open. While Duke, Malott and Page haven’t been as competitive as they used to be they are major threats. Duke and Malott both know what it is like to win majors, especially the U.S Open. It should be a confidence builder. Fach does have a major to build on as well.
Page and Butturff are both going to come out hungry for that first major title. Though hopefully they can control the excitement and not make mistakes that would cost them. I could see this being a problem with Butturff, as he is a younger player with no major title wins. Though he isn’t a total stranger to TV with two standard titles won.
I would say that Butturff is coming in hot though. He easily led this tournament by a large margin. He only has to win one match to take it all. Should inspire some confidence in him.
I think he takes it all. He faces off against Norm Duke in the finals and beats him is my prediction.
See it tonight at 7:30.
The PBA has tabulated the votes and the results are in for the new members of the hall of fame.
Three players entered the vote and all three will become hall of famers.
The first of which is Chris Barnes. Barnes has been on tour for 18 seasons and won 18 titles.He has won the triple crown of US Open, Tournament of Champions and PBA World Championship.
All this and more in achieving over a million dollars in career earnings. He is a picture of consistency on the tour and always near the top of the standings. He was rated in my top five favorite bowlers . This a well-deserved spot.
Ron Mohr is a roller on the PBA50 Tour. This is his ninth season on tour. Mohr has nine victories on tour including three during the 2009 season. He was named player of the year that year and went on to win that award in 2011 as well.
Mitchell is a bit of a unique story. He wasn’t actually a professional bowler, but a bowling center chain owner. Many of the PBA’s signature events have been held at Woodland bowl in Indianapolis, a center in Mitchell’s chain. He was a passionate promotor of the PBA and for that earned his spot in the hall of fame. He is the first bowling center proprietor to earn this honor. This is after he passed away in 2012 from cancer.
Three well deserved births in the hall of fame. Congrats to the PBA class of 2017/20018.
Despite not being the most popular sport anymore bowling is achiving a big milestone. The PBA tour has lasted 60 seasons in 2017-2018. To mark this occasion a bit of change is in order. Namely the oil patterns.
16 patterns will be used during the events of the 2017-2018 season. Eight of them are designated as animal patterns, seven has legends and one more for the Chris Paul tournament. Three of the legends are for major tournament play. Two of these are brand new patterns, while some have been readjusted.
The Chris Paul is named after the NBA player and Bowling ambassador. It is said to play like a typical house shot you would see during league, or open play. It should make for some high scoring numbers.
The dragon is the newest animal pattern. It sits at 45 feet in length and is designed to be on the harder side to play and score well.
The Cheetah at 33 feet, chameleon at 39, Scorpion 42, Shark 45, Earl Anthony 42, Don Johnson 40 pattern, Carmen Salvino 44, Dick Weber 45, Mark Roth 42 Wolf 33, Viper 36, Bear 39 and Johnny Petraglia 36 patterns join up to finish the set of oil patterns. The badger at 52 feet is out of the rotation and has an unknown status.
I like how the PBA is changing it up. It makes it more challenging to have new patterns. Rearranging the patterns can also make it harder and more competitive as players try to adjust to the changes. All the patterns can be seen here.
By S. Samek
Other than baseball, I would say the other sport I have a great passion for is bowling. Especially during my high school years. It became an obsession to watch the PBA on TV, or go bowling. Similarly, I have my favorite teams and my favorite bowlers. Today I do present my top five favorite bowlers.
5. Jason Belmonte.
I really like watching the two-hander work. He is one of the most dominate players on tour at the moment. I also like how he revolutionized the sport with his unique two- handed style.
4. Mika Koivuniemi.
This was a player that I liked more for his style of play. It was very similar to mine, but excecuted a lot better. The passion for the game was there as well. Most famous for the biggest margin of victory in a TV match with a 299 -100 win.
3. Chris Barnes.
Barnes is just another good player that I tried to emulate. Even though he threw the ball harder than I did. He was just a good guy, who loved the game and a positive ambassador for the sport. Also know for awesome trick shots.
2. Norm Duke.
I always liked Norm. He has a very similar style to my own, so he was a role model to emulate. Filled with competitive fire and also just a love of the game was the biggest takeaways I learned from Duke. This is no better demonstrated then during the 2010 Cheetah championship final match.
1. Pete Weber.
Bowling’s bad boy and an all-time great. I just love how competitive he is and winning attitude. Sure, he gets a temper every now and again, but it’s because he loves the game. Plus, as a proven winner of major titles how could you not like him. O and this memorable moment.
By S. Samek
This is it folks, the PWBA season is coming to an end. All the stands in the way is the season ending Tour championship event.
The 16 best from the tour go at it one more time for the ultimate in bragging rights. September 3-6 2017 at Richmond Race Way. The selections came from all the tournament winners and the season points list.
The matches are in a bracket format and best of five single elimination.
Liz Johnson the player of the year by points is top seed. She earns byes into the semi-finals along with second seed Kelly Kulick. Third ranked Diana Zavjalova and forth ranked Danielle McEwan also receive a bye each.
In round one fifth seeded Shannon O’Keefe battles 16 seed Birgit Poppler. Six seed Shannon Pluhowsky goes against 15 seed Stefanie Johnson. Other matches can be viewed in the bracket.
I don’t predict many if any upsets here. I can see a Liz Johnson versus Kelly Kulick final match for it all. Though I also won’t be surprised if the three, or four seeds advance to the finals too. My money would be on Zavjalova to beat Kulick, over McEwan over Johnson.
Though for a total wild card try Stefanie Johnson. She beat Liz in a recent match on her way to the Orlando open win. Other than that, look for upsets to be kept to a minimum.
Stay tuned to see who brings home the gold.
Eventful weekend in pro bowling.
By S. Samek
What a recent wave of PBA competition. Lots of trophies being awarded to players on tour.
First off is the PBA Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Classic. In the four-man stepladder it was Joe Baily, Jason Sterner, Chris Via and Rhino Page. Baily lost the opening match to Sterner, who then faced off against Page.
Page was victorious and Met up with tournament leader Via. Via was looking for his first title, while Page was looking for his first in a while. In a low scoring tough conditions match, it wasn’t decided till the tenth frame. Page struck in the tenth, while only needing seven to win the match. The win gave him his fifth career title.
Page is having a bit of a resurgence. He was rookie of the year and a rising star before an injury. Good to see him come back and win.
EJ Tackett continues to win as well. The current player of the year was named the Storm Cup winner during the same event.
The Storm Cup was a seven-event swing that gave points for performance in the tournaments, with a cash prize going to the best overall player at the end. Tackett led by nine points going in and earned two more for his 19th place finish. No one else close to him earned enough points to best him. Giving Tackett the win and $20,000.
Tackett is the man on tour right now. He has such a bright future ahead of him, that should be hall of fame worthy. He just needs to keep winning.
Then we have two handed wonder Jason Belmonte. Belmonte picked up his third title of the season and number 15 overall with a win at the PBA-WBT Storm Lucky Larsen Masters in Sweden. He defeated Cameron Weir a former college star to win it all.
Hard to believe it’s only title 15 for Belmonte. Guy just dominates the tour.
PBA should have a lot more to come stay tuned.