PBA Spare Shots/Storm WSOB XI Notebook: Fans Can Still Enjoy Spirit of Competition Through Mobile Games

by Bill Vint March 20, 2020 14:44

PBA competition may be suspended at the moment, but you can still enjoy the spirit of competition in the comfort of your living room by playing one of the most popular mobile device games in the world – PBA Bowling Challenge for mobile devices – or the new PBA Pro Bowling game for consoles and mobile devices.

Concrete Software’s PBA Bowling Challenge for mobile devices can be downloaded at no cost at Google Play or the App Store. Millions of users currently enjoy the challenges of bowling in a variety of tournaments, making equipment choices and competing in a wide range of venues.

PBA Pro Bowling is a newer virtual game, offering players multi-player and tournament options. PBA Pro Bowling is offered for XBoxOne, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Steam platforms for $19.99. To learn more, visit: http://probowling.com/.


Bowling fans around the world are aware of mass postponements and cancellations of bowling activities at all levels in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including the premature ending of the Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI.

Left in suspended animation as the PBA – along with thousands of other sporting events – rapidly shut down activities in the interest of complying with urgent safety standards intended to keep players, fans, staff and others as insulated as possible from exposure to the virus were a few news items of interest. Among them:

The joint announcement by PBA and Storm Products that Storm had become titled sponsor of the Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI.

The USA vs. The World team event that was scheduled to conclude WSOB XI was subsequently cancelled. Before the cancellation, however, three-time PBA Tour titlist Bob Learn Jr. was named captain of the United States team, and the players who had qualified for his team were Jakob Butturff, EJ Tackett, Chris Via, Darren Tang and Bill O’Neill, the five highest-finishing American players in PBA World Championship qualifying. The World team, captained by England’s Stuart Williams, would have included Sweden’s Jesper Svensson, Canada’s Francois Lavoie, Australia’s Jason Belmonte, Denmark’s Carsten Hansen and England’s Dom Barrett.

WSOB XI was full of stories, but one of the most unusual was the extreme case of “lost-and-found” involving second-year PBA Tour competitor Michael Martell of Brooklyn, N.Y. Martell averaged 178.2 with a high game of 196 for his first five games in Go Bowling Cheetah Championship qualifying, finishing the round with a 891 total and sitting in 117th place in the 120-player field. Then, in an historical reversal, the 22-year-old lefthander averaged 267.8 for his next five games, including rolling back-to-back 300 games (the only perfect games among 1,200 games bowled by the entire field in Cheetah qualifying) for a 1,339 block, moving up 96 places to finish 21st – 12 pins shy of making the cut to 16 finalists for Cheetah match play.

PWBA titlist Danielle McEwan was one of two women in the World Series field, qualifying out of the Pre-Tournament Qualifier, and the only woman to qualify for the match play elimination rounds. McEwan qualified sixth in the Scorpion Championship round, but what happens next remains unresolved as all three of the animal pattern championships were postponed. The domino effect of WSOB postponements also meant PBA competition points races affecting the 2020 PBA Playoffs and PBA League Draft eligibility also remain unresolved. Marie Jose Rodriguez, also a PWBA champion and wife of PBA competitor Nathan Bohr, also made it into the WSOB field, advancing out of the PTQ as “first alternate” but earning a spot in the field when a previously entered player withdrew.

All PBA tournament activity at all levels (PBA Tour, PBA50 Tour and Regional) have been suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus. Partly because of the PBA’s extensive participation internationally, all parties affected should expect the hiatus to continue until global leaders are certain the virus pandemic is under control. Please watch for official news from the PBA through direct communications, pba.com and the PBA’s official social media outlets.

The United States Bowling Congress has also suspended all tournament activities, including postponements of several events directly impacting PBA members: the USBC Masters, USBC Open Championships, USBC Senior Masters and USBC Super Senior Classic.


Prior to the suspension of PBA Regional competition, Danny Clark of New Palestine, Ohio fired a 300 game in the position round match play finale as he defeated Dave Johnson of Ashtabula, Ohio by 207 pins to win the PBA50 Strike Zone Lanes Central Classic for his first PBA50 Regional title in Canton, Ohio on Sunday, March 8.

Clark finished with an 11-1 match play record and a total of 5,120 pins for 20 games, including match play bonus pins. Along with his first PBA50 Regional title, he also earned $2,100.

• Chris Collins of Myrtle Beach, S.C., defeated Chris Johnson of Nashville, N.C., 217-180, to take the $2,000 first prize in the PBA50 Fayetteville South Open at Lafayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C., on Sunday, March 8, improving his all-time PBA Regional titles record to 15.

Collins, who qualified No. 1 for the four-man stepladder finals with a 7-1 match play record and a 16-game total of 3,906 pins, had one of two perfect games in the event. Brett Caramagno of Goose Creek, S.C., had the other.

In the first stepladder match Johnson defeated Jimmy Jean of Kathleen, Ga., 172-155. Johnson then defeated Craig Auerbach of Sunrise, Fla., 203-194, to set up the championship match.

For an update on PBA Regional activity when it resumes, visit pba.com and open the “schedules” tab periodically to check on PBA Regional Tours.

Gid Rash Feb. 23QUICK NOTES

• Thomas (Gid) Rash and childhood friend Clay Copeland gave “thumbs up” signs in late February after Rash donated a kidney to Copeland in Fort Worth, Texas. Rash was the PBA Southwest Region’s 2019 Rookie of the Year.

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PBA Puts All Tournament Activity on Hiatus Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

by Bill Vint March 17, 2020 13:02

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Professional Bowlers Association has placed all tournament activities at all levels on hiatus indefinitely due to coronavirus concerns, PBA CEO Colie Edison announced today. Included in the postponements is the start of the 2020 PBA Playoffs which were scheduled to start on April 6.

The announcement, made out of an abundance of preventative caution, means all PBA Tour, PBA50 Tour and PBA Regional tournaments currently scheduled will be put on hiatus as the PBA complies with decisions made nationally and locally in a concerted effort to help avoid “community spread” of the COVID-19 virus. All scheduled events will be re-evaluated in early April.

The PBA postponed the final match play elimination rounds and television finals of the Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI animal pattern championships (Go Bowling Cheetah, Chameleon and Scorpion Championships) that were scheduled to take place at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, allowing all competitors including several international bowlers to return home before federal airline restrictions took effect.

The PBA World Championship finals were conducted Sunday instead of Wednesday, as originally planned, because the five finalists were on hand in Las Vegas and wanted to complete the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour’s fourth major championship. Australia’s Jason Belmonte won the event before an audience consisting only of a handful of PBA players, tournament officials, and his own family including wife Kimberly, daughters Aria and Sylvie, and son Hugo who had flown in from Australia to watch. The finals aired live on FS1 and was the network’s most-watched telecast last week.

In addition to PBA’s decision, the United States Bowling Congress indefinitely postponed the USBC Masters that was scheduled for March 23-29 as well as the start of the 2020 USBC Open Championships, a traditional tournament for all USBC members including a number of PBA members who planned to participate.

“This is a completely unforeseen, unprecedented issue of global concern,” Edison said. “The PBA greatly appreciates the understanding and cooperation of its players, business partners, tournament hosts and all other parties impacted as we try to do our part in keeping everyone as safe as we can.”

As circumstances dictate, the PBA will make further announcements regarding the completion of the animal pattern championships, competition points races impacting the postponed PBA League Draft and qualifiers for the 2020 PBA Playoffs.

In the interim, fans can stay engaged with the PBA through its social media outlets (PBA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and PBA on YouTube); by using the PBA App for mobile devices; the PBA Pro Bowling console game, and PBA.com.

FOX Sports also is planning multiple re-broadcasts of the PBA World Championship, PBA Tournament of Champions and Roth-Holman PBA Doubles Championship finals on its FS1 and FS2. Check your local listings for dates and times.

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Belmonte Beats Simonsen to Win Third Consecutive PBA World Championship Title

by Jerry Schneider March 15, 2020 14:45

LAS VEGAS  – In a match-up between two of the Go Bowling PBA Tour’s premier two-handed players, Australian Jason Belmonte defeated Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas, 213-190, in the title match Sunday at the South Point Bowling Plaza to win his third consecutive PBA World Championship title while extending his all-time career-leading major win total to 13.

Bowling in front of an on-site finals audience that consisted of mainly PBA players, their family members and tournament officials held three days earlier than originally scheduled, Belmonte also notched his 24th career PBA Tour title to take home the $150,000 first prize.

The PBA modified plans for all of the Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI finals telecasts in response to the coronavirus pandemic, moving the live FS1 World Championship telecast to Sunday from its original Wednesday (March 18) slot while also postponing all additional competition in the three animal pattern (lane condition) championships. However, the players were able to complete all 56 games of qualifying and match play for the World Championship last week to advance to the finals.

As the top seed for the finals, Belmonte also added to his ever-growing list of accomplishments in PBA majors joining Hall of Famer Earl Anthony as the only players to win three consecutive World Championship titles. Anthony did it twice when the event was called the PBA National Championship (’73, ’74, ’75 and ’81, ’82 and 83). Belmonte, the five-time and reigning PBA Player of the Year, was also making a record fifth consecutive major telecast appearance and eight of the last nine.

What made the win extra special for Belmonte was that he won in front of his entire family for the first time.

“It was everything to have my family here to see this,” said the 36-year-old Australian, whose wife Kimberly, son Hugo, and daughters Sylvie and Aria were in attendance to witness the victory. “They were a calming influence when I wasn’t doing well and a great support structure overall. It was a dream to have them here to see this.”

It was also Belmonte’s second consecutive major title this season after winning the U.S. Open on Feb. 23 to join PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby as the only players to complete the PBA Tour’s Super Slam, which is a title in all five PBA majors (PBA Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open, PBA Players Championship, USBC Masters and PBA World Championship). It was in the 2019 World Championship that Belmonte won his 11th major to surpass Hall of Famers Pete Weber and Anthony on the all-time major titles list.

In the title match, the 23-year-old Simonsen, trying to become the youngest player to win three majors, got off to a bad start with two opens after leaving difficult splits. Belmonte was able to take advantage by stringing strikes from the third through seventh frames which gave him enough of a cushion to win the match.

“Going into the match it was all going to be about speed control,” Belmonte said. “Keeping it slow and getting a good consistent release was the key. Anytime you can keep striking, keep a big lead and your opponent believes he has to strike out to win, that’s when you can really keep the pressure on.”

The World Championship was the fourth and final event of the season that offered a $1 million bonus if the winning player bowled a 300 game in the title match.

“Obviously you can’t ignore the money in a tournament like this but it’s never been the motivating factor for me,” said Belmonte. “It’s always about the title because that’s what people will remember when the history is written.”

In the semifinal match, Simonsen, a seven-time tour winner beat No. 2 seed EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Indiana, 215-177, to advance to the title match. Tackett, the 2016 PBA Player of the Year, was trying for his third major and 14th career tour title.

In the second match, Simonsen defeated Canadian Francois Lavoie 224-204 to advance to the semifinal match. Lavoie, a four-time tour winner that includes two U.S. Open titles, was trying for his third major win.

The finals started with Lavoie, the No. 4 seed, beating three-time Team USA member and former National Amateur Champion No. 5 seed Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio, 269-258 to advance to the second match against Simonsen. Via, a two-time PBA Tour runner-up, finished fifth to match his best finish in a major which came in the recent U.S. Open.


(A Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI/2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 1 event)

South Point Bowling Plaza, Las Vegas, Sunday

Final Standings

1, Jason Belmonte, Australia $150,000.

2, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, $70,000.

3, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., $40,000.

4, Francois Lavoie, Canada, $30,000.

5, Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, $20,000.

Playoff Results

Match one – Lavoie def. Via, 269-258.

Match two – Simonsen def. Lavoie, 224-204.

Semifinal – Simonsen def. Tackett, 215-177.

Championship – Belmonte def. Simonsen, 213-190.

# # #

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PBA World Championship Finals to Air Live Sunday on FS1; WSOB XI Animal Pattern Finals Postponed

by Bill Vint March 13, 2020 17:15

LAS VEGAS - The PBA has modified plans for Storm World Series of Bowling XI finals in response to the coronavirus pandemic, enhancing the prize fund for the live PBA World Championship telecast on FS1 Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern (10:30 a.m. Pacific), but postponing all additional competition in the three animal pattern championships.

The last-minute changes have been made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the safety of players, family members and tournament officials. International travel restrictions that may impact a number of World Series competitors also played a role in PBA’s decisions.

The changes include the following:

1) The match play eliminations and finals of the Go Bowling PBA Cheetah Championship, Chameleon Championship and Scorpion Championship will be postponed indefinitely. Details regarding completion of those events will be announced later.

2) The live PBA World Championship finals will include enhanced prize money of $150,000 to the winner, $70,000 for second place, $40,000 for third, $30,000 for fourth and $20,000 for fifth place. The finalists, from first to fifth seeds, respectively, are Jason Belmonte, EJ Tackett, Anthony Simonsen, Francois Lavoie and Chris Via. The finals will still be conducted with an audience limited to fellow players, family members and tournament officials.

3) FS1 will air the finals live on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern (10:30 a.m. Pacific) instead of next Wednesday, as originally planned.

4) A decision on the PBA’s 2020 competition points race, affecting the field of player who will qualify for the PBA Playoffs, will be announced later.

5) The PBA League Draft, scheduled for Sunday afternoon, also has been postponed and will be conducted at a later date.

The PBA announcement Friday comes on the heels of USBC’s announcement Thursday that the USBC Masters, originally scheduled for March 23-29 in Reno, has been postponed indefinitely.

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Jason Belmonte Overtakes EJ Tackett to Qualify No. 1 for PBA World Championship Stepladder Finals

by Bill Vint March 13, 2020 05:58

LAS VEGAS – Australia’s Jason Belmonte out-bowled a field of 120 Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI competitors over 56 games on four different lane conditions to earn the top berth for the PBA World Championship stepladder finals at South Point Bowling Plaza Thursday.

The PBA World Championship will be decided live on FS1 on Wednesday, March 18, at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific before an audience consisting only of PBA players, family members and tournament officials in the wake of the PBA’s decision to close the event to the public in response to coronavirus concerns.

Belmonte, who owns 2017 and 2019 PBA World Championships among his record 12 PBA major titles, overcame EJ Tackett’s 246-pin lead heading into the final 16 games of round robin match play Thursday, winning 11 of his 16 matches to post a 56-game total of 13,546 pins and qualifying No. 1 for the stepladder finals by six pins over Tackett.

Rounding out the finals field will be Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, with a 13,390 total, two-time U.S. Open winner Francois Lavoie, Canada, 13,283, and Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, 13,236.

Simonsen, 23, is trying to become the youngest bowler in PBA history to win three major titles. He won the USBC Masters at 19 and upset Belmonte to win the PBA Players Championship a year ago at age 22. Via is trying for his first PBA Tour title.

The multi-event PBA World Series has been contested on 33-foot Cheetah, 39-foot Chameleon, 42-foot Scorpion and 43-foot Earl Anthony lane oiling patterns, forcing the entire field of players from around the world to adapt to a variety of scoring challenges. All players also have been working to earn competition points in each event toward qualifying for the upcoming PBA Playoffs and the annual PBA League draft that will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. Eastern.

Prior to the World Championship finals, the top 16 qualifiers in the Go Bowling PBA Cheetah Championship, Chameleon Championship and Scorpion Championship will bowl five-game, single-elimination match play rounds to narrow each group of 16 to four finalists. The Cheetah elimination rounds will take place Saturday at 3 and 6 p.m. Eastern and the finals will air live on FS1 on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern. The Chameleon and Scorpion match play rounds will be held at noon and 3 p.m. Eastern with finals live on FS1 Monday and Tuesday, respectively, at 8 p.m. Eastern.

The WSOB XI will conclude with a special USA vs. The World team event that will air on FS1 on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

FloBowling, the PBA’s official subscription-based online streaming service, is providing exclusive coverage of all WSOB match play rounds, plus the PBA League Draft. FloBowling also livestreams the FS1 finals to its international subscribers. For subscription information, visit flobowling.com. Fans also can follow the World Series in real time on pba.com’s Live Scoring feature.

(A Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI/2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 1 event)

Final Match Play Standings (after 56 qualifying games, including match play bonus pins; top five advance to live FS1 stepladder finals Wednesday at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific)
1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 11-5, 13,546.
2, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 7-7-2, 13,540.
3, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, 10-6, 13,390.
4, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 10-6, 13,283.
5, Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, 10-6, 13,236.
6, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 10-6, 13,166, $12,000.
7, Darren Tang, Las Vegas, 7-9, 13,146, $10,000.
8, Dom Barrett, England, 10-5-1, 13,137, $9,500.
9, Brad Miller, Lees Summit, Mo., 7-9, 13,080, $9,000.
10, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 6-8-2, 13,058, $8,500.
11, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo., 9-7, 13,022, $8,000.
12, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 7-9, 12,842, $7,500.
13, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 4-11-1, 12,841, $7,000.
14, BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 7-9, 12,825, $6,500.
15, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 5-11, 12,804, $6,000.
16, Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 5-11, 12,707, $5,500.
300 Games: Kyle Troup.

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