Josh Blanchard Wins Xtra Frame Reality Check Classic for Third Career PBA Tour Title

by Jerry Schneider March 19, 2017 08:19

Josh Blanchard of Mesa, Ariz., breezed through all three of his stepladder matches to win the PBA Xtra Frame Reality Check Classic Sunday at Sawgrass Lanes for his third career PBA Tour title.

Streamed live on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame, Blanchard beat former McKendree University collegiate star and finals top seed AJ Johnson of Oswego, Ill., 232-204, in the title match for his first title of the season and first in two years. For Johnson, it was his third career runner-up finish.

“It feels unbelievable,” said Blanchard, who won his last title in the 2015 PBA Xtra Frame Maine Shootout. “Sometimes you doubt yourself but I have a lot of support from my family, friends and fans so I think it was just a matter of time before I could bring home another win.”

IMG_0392By winning, Blanchard also takes the early lead in the Storm Cup points race which will award $50,000 in bonus prize money at the end of the season. All eight Storm Cup events are streamed live on Xtra Frame.

Needing a strike on the first ball of the 10th frame to win the semifinal match, Blanchard struck out to beat four-time Tour winner Dom Barrett of England, 279-258, to advance to the title match.

In the opening match, Blanchard, who was the No. 3 seed, beat Shawn Maldonado of Houston, who was trying for his first Tour win, 236-175.

Upcoming Storm Cup Xtra Frame events this season will include stops in North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia and Delaware before its final event in Coldwater, Ohio, in late August. The next stop for the Xtra Frame Storm Cup series will be the Xtra Frame Wilmington Open in Wilmington, N.C., May 26-29.

For Xtra Frame subscription information visit www.xtraframe.tv.

PBA XTRA FRAME REALITY CHECK CLASSIC

Sawgrass Lanes, Tamarac, Fla., Sunday

Final Standings: 1, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., $10,000. 2, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., $5,500. 3, Dom Barrett, England, $3,000. 4, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, $2,000.

Stepladder Results: Match One – Blanchard def. Maldonado, 236-175. Semifinal – Blanchard def. Barrett, 279-258. Championship – Blanchard def. Johnson, 232-204.

Final Qualifying Standings (after 17 games, top 4 advanced to stepladder finals):

1, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 4,128.
2, Dom Barrett, England, 4,053.
3, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz, 4,012.
4, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 3,994.
5, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 3,957, $1,750.
6, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 3,926, $1,500.
7, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 3,902, $1,400.
8, Chris Spoo, Boynton Beach, Fla., 3,864, $1,300.

Other Round of 16 Cashers (after 15 games):

9, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 3,462, $1,250.
10, Jeff Piroozshad, Coral Springs, Fla., 3,429, $1,200.
11, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,414, $1,150.
12, Cristian Azcona, Lake Wales, Fla., 3,409, $1,100.
13, n-Gabriel Garcia, Port St. Lucie, Fla., 3,401, $1,075.
14, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3,395, $1,050.
15, n-Greg Young, Viera, Fla., 3,360, $1,025.
16, Michael Azcarate, Coral Springs, Fla., 3,325, $1,000.

Other Cashers (after 12 games):

17, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 2,671, $700.
18, Arturo Quintero, Mexico, 2,669, $700.
19, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights, Mo., 2,661, $700.
20, Darren Tang, San Francisco, 2,656, $700.
21, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 2,654, $700.
22, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 2,644, $700.
23, n-Ramon Hilferink, Netherlands, 2,633, $700.
24, Trevor Roberts, Crystal River, Fla., 2,631, $700.
25, n-Sean Riccardi, St. Petersburg, Fla., 2,621, $700.
26, Dwight Adams, Greensboro, N.C., 2,615, $675.
27, Mike Williams II, Montgomery, Ala., 2,610, $675.
28, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 2,600, $675.
29, n-Thomas Bosquez Jr., Springhill, Fla., 2,598, $675.
30, n-Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, 2,597, $675.
31, (tie) n-Reggie Pierson, Miami, Fla., 2,594, and Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 2,594, $675.
33, Jeff Evans, Supply, N.C., 2,586, $675.
34, (tie) EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 2,584, and n-Matt Russo, Millstone Township, N.J., 2,584, $663.
36, Nick Kruml, Downers Grove, Ill., 2,567, $650.
37, Daria Pajak, Poland, 2,563, $650.
38, (tie) n-Sebastian Charry, Colombia, 2,561, and n-Danny Battles, Zephyrhills, Fla., 2,561, $650.
40, n-Vince Grudinsky Jr., Jupiter, Fla., 2,541, $650.
41, Cody Mullis, Homosassa, Fla., 2,537, $650.
42, n-Kristijonas Sergejevas, Lake Wales, Fla., 2,536, $650.
43, Ralph Brunt Jr., Jensen Beach, Fla., 2,526, $650.
44, Mike Moore, Orlando, Fla., 2,515, $625.
45, n-Daniel Vasquez, Colombia, 2,512, $625.
46, n-John Janawicz, Winter Haven, Fla., 2,511, $625.
47, (tie) Anthony DeStasio, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 2,505, n-Wyatt Smith, Cape Coral, Fla., 2,505, and n-Giorgio Clinaz Jr., Orlando, Fla., 2,505, $625.
50, n-Shawn Naumann, Orlando, Fla., 2,504, $625.
51, n-Andraunick Simounet, Lake Wales, Fla., 2,503, $625.
52, Kristian Sieradzki, Seminole, Fla., 2,502, $625.
53, n-Taylor Bulthuis, Coral Springs, Fla., 2,482, $600.
54, (tie) n-Anthony Veney, San Antonio, Texas, 2,481, and n-Joe Barna, Stuart, Fla., 2,481, $600.
56, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 2,476, $600.
57, Zachary Dwyer, Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., 2,464, $600.
58, Zachary Seals, Kingsland, Ga., 2,461, $600.
59, (tie) Carlos Tobon, Plantation, Fla., 2,456, and n-Jason Ferrill, Venice, Fla., 2,456, $600.
61, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 2,448, $600.
62, n-James Campbell, Clearwater, Fla., 2,370, $600.

n-Denotes non-member

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2017 PBA Billy Welu Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted

by Jerry Schneider March 10, 2017 06:57

The PBA has announced it is now accepting applications for the 2017 PBA Billy Welu Scholarship Award which recognizes exemplary qualities in male or female college students who compete in the sport of bowling.

To be eligible candidates must be amateur bowlers who are currently in college (preceding the application date) and maintain at least a 2.5/4.0 GPA or equivalent. Applications must be postmarked by June 15.

The scholarship, which awards $1,000 to the winner, was established to annually recognize a college student who combines outstanding bowling talents with academic excellence. Welu, who passed away in 1974, was best known for his expert analysis alongside legendary ABC broadcaster and PBA Hall of Famer Chris Schenkel on the “Pro Bowlers Tour” series. Welu was a two-time PBA Tour champion and a member of the PBA Hall of Fame’s inaugural induction class in 1975.

Additional information and the application can be retrieved by clicking on http://www.pba.com/Corporate/Scholarships. The application is a PDF file and requires Acrobat Reader to view and print. Nominations can be sent to scholarships@pba.com or through the U.S. mail at PBA Billy Welu Scholarship, 55 E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 401, Chicago, IL 60604.

HISTORY OF PBA BILLY WELU SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS

2016 – Sydney Brummett (Wichita State)

2015 – Ramon Hilferink (Webber International)

2014 – Melanie Hannon (Fairleigh Dickinson)

2013 – Katie Thornton (Webber International)

2012 – Danielle McEwan (Fairleigh Dickinson)

2011 – Kristina Frahm (Maryland Eastern Shore)

2010 – Kim Yioulos (Pikeville)

2009 – Elizabeth Seibel (Penn State)

2008 – Heather D’Errico (Robert Morris-Illinois)

2007 – Ricki Williams (Wichita State)

2006 – Jerrod Reece (Creighton University)

2005 – Mandy Pezzano (U of Penn)

2004 – Holly Pusok (University of Houston)

2003 – Robby Spigner (Indiana University)

2002 – N/A

2001 – Jennie Snoddy (Notre Dame College of Ohio)

2000 – Jackie Edwards (Cal State-Fresno)

1999 – Steven Svetlik (University of Illinois-Chicago)

1998 – Nicholas Hoagland (Indiana University)

1997 – Preston Brunswig (Wichita State)

1996 – Brenda Dosher (University of Southern Indiana)

1995 – Michael Lamont (University of Florida)

1994 – Joe Ciccone (Erie Community College)

1993 – N/A

1992 – Stephen Dale Jr. (Northeastern University)

1991 – Kari Murph (Morehead State)

1990 – Kimberly Berke (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

1989 – Ronni Shehorn (San Jose State)

1988 – Julie Powell (University of Michigan)             

1987 – N/A

1986 – Paul Kaib (University of Florida)

1985 – Curt Pezzano (University of Miami (Fla))

1984 – Michelle Mullen (University of Illinois)

1983 – Jeri Edwards (Penn State)

1982 – Patricia Bowie (Arizona State)

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Australia’s Jason Belmonte Dominates USBC Masters, Wins Record Fourth Title, Eighth Career PBA Major

by Jerry Schneider February 26, 2017 09:08

By Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Public Relations Manager

LAS VEGAS - Australia's Jason Belmonte has been a trailblazer in the sport of bowling his entire career, and he added another milestone to his growing list of accomplishments by becoming the first bowler to win the United States Bowling Congress Masters four times.

The 33-year-old entered the event's stepladder finals Sunday as the No. 1 seed and started the championship match at The Orleans Bowling Center with seven consecutive strikes, before a 7 pin ended his run at the first perfect game in a USBC Masters final.

The 279-212 win over amateur Michael Tang of San Francisco gave Belmonte his eighth major title, and second in three events, tying him with USBC and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famers Mike Aulby and Walter Ray Williams Jr. for second all-time behind fellow hall of famers Earl Anthony and Pete Weber, who have 10 apiece.

"Honestly, it hasn't sunken in yet, and I'm really speechless," Belmonte said. "I love this tournament and think it really brings out the best in me. To have my name etched on this trophy four times and be the only person to do that is unbelievable. It doesn't seem real."

Belmonte, who won the recent Barbasol PBA Players Championship, now has 14 PBA Tour titles in nine seasons. He won the Masters three-consecutive times in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Heading into Sunday, Belmonte knew his game plan would be dependent on who else made the show and how they attacked the lanes in the games leading up to the final. Even as practice ended before the title match, Belmonte was uncertain about his look and made an educated guess.

"I struck once in practice and nothing looked like I was going to have that kind of game," said Belmonte, a three-time PBA Player of the Year. "With two shots left, Tim Mack hit the surface with 1,000 grit, and it looked OK. I hadn't thrown it on the other lane, so I had to make a guess on that lane. I told myself just to hit that spot. With urethane, the game Michael bowled easily could have been the game I had. He bowled a great game and didn't give anything away. He's an amazing talent."

Tang, the No. 4 seed for Sunday's championship round, was looking to become the first amateur since 2002 to win the Masters. He also would've been the first bowler to win from the fourth spot. Only two times since the Masters went to a stepladder format in 1980 has anyone lower than the second seed won the event.

Tang's ticket to the final came with a 227-217 win over amateur Alex Hoskins of Brigham City, Utah.
The two were even through five frames, with neither player throwing a double, but both rallying with late strings of three strikes.

Tang finished first, giving Hoskins the opportunity to win the game with a strike and nine-spare in his final frame, but Hoskins went light and left a 2 pin on his first offering. Hoskins, who made his first appearance at the Masters, finished third.

"The right lane got a little tight downlane," said Tang, the 2015 Intercollegiate Singles champion. "In the match against Hoskins, I rang a couple of 10s, which were worrisome, but I thought I had something figured out. The lanes kind of transitioned differently than through the week, so I had to make some different moves. Belmo is Belmo. It's hard to beat him when he has that kind of look. I feel like I bowled well, so there's nothing to be mad about."

In two wins on the way to the semifinal matchup with Hoskins, Tang tossed 18 strikes to get past his brother, Darren, and Sweden's Martin Larsen.

Tang's nine-strike performance against Darren ended in a 248-212 victory. The two were separated by just two pins after four frames, but four consecutive strikes from Michael in frames five through eight allowed him to pull away for good. Darren Tang finished fourth.

It was the first TV meeting between brothers since the 1994 PBA National Championship, when David Traber defeated his brother Dale in the title match. The last time two brothers met in the stepladder at the Masters was 1980 when Neil Burton defeated his brother, Nelson (Bo), in the semifinal, before topping hall of famer Mark Roth for the title.

clip_image001"It was fun," Michael Tang said. "I think he was trying to keep things a little looser, while I tried to stay in my zone and treat it like any other match. But it will be fun to watch back home."
In the opening match Sunday, Michael Tang also struck nine times, including the first five frames, to defeat Larsen, 264-229. Larsen, who's still searching for his first PBA Tour title, finished fifth.

Competitors in the 395-player field this week bowled 15 games of qualifying, before a cut was made to the top 63, who joined defending champion Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, in the double-elimination match-play bracket.

2017 USBC MASTERS
At The Orleans Bowling Center, Las Vegas
Sunday's Results
Final standings

1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 279 (one game), $30,000
2, Michael Tang (a), San Francisco, 951 (four games), $22,500
3, Alex Hoskins (a), Brigham City, Utah, 217 (one game), $15,000
4, Darren Tang, San Francisco, 212 (one game), $11,500
5, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 229 (one game), $9,000

Stepladder results
Match One - M. Tang def. Larsen, 264-229
Match Two - M. Tang def. D. Tang, 248-212
Semifinal - M. Tang def. Hoskins, 227-217
Championship - Belmonte def. M. Tang, 279-212

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Belmonte Eyes Record Fourth USBC Masters Title as Top Qualifier for ESPN Finals

by Jerry Schneider February 25, 2017 12:05

Australia's Jason Belmonte averaged nearly 240 in three matches Saturday to remain undefeated at the USBC Masters and now is one win away from becoming the first player to win the event four times.

The 33-year-old entered the day as one of eight players remaining in the winners bracket and rolled sets of 722, 711 and 722 at The Orleans Bowling Center, defeating England's Dom Barrett, Bill O'Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and Alex Hoskins of Brigham City, Utah.

The victory over Hoskins earned Belmonte the top seed at the USBC Masters for the second time in his career. He has a perfect record on Masters telecasts, winning the tournament in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from the No. 1, No. 5 and No. 2 seeds, respectively.

The 2017 event features a total prize fund of nearly $300,000 and is a major event on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour. The finals will be broadcast live on ESPN on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

"Right now, I'm not even thinking about winning again," said Belmonte, who owns 13 PBA Tour titles, including seven majors. "I'm just really happy with today because I was able to execute really well and was able to put up three solid sets. I'll probably start strategizing a little tonight, but most of the decisions will come tomorrow based on who's on the show and where they're playing."

022517MastersFinal_637Hoskins, a 24-year-old right-hander competing in his first Masters, earned the No. 2 spot in the stepladder after notching wins against Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, reigning Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Indiana, Argentina's Lucas Legnani, USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber and Sweden's Martin Larsen, before falling to Belmonte in the match to determine the top seed.

"It's a dream come true to even have the opportunity to bowl for a spot on the show," said Hoskins, who is looking to become the first amateur to win the Masters since Arizona's Brett Wolfe in 2002. "I grew up around bowling and bowling centers, always trying to learn and get better as a bowler. My goal was to make the first cut and then apply everything I've learned to get through each round. Then, I was able to stay in the process this week and not let any emotions get in the way."

Belmonte and Hoskins will be joined on the show by brothers Darren and Michael Tang of San Francisco and Larsen, who survived the four-player final elimination match that determined the last three seeds.

Darren Tang won the shootout, flirting with perfection on the way to a 289 game and 742 series, and he will be the No. 3 seed for the show. Michael Tang's 716 set was enough to take the No. 4 spot, and he'll face Larsen, last year's sixth-place finisher (652), in the show's opening match. O'Neill shot 559 in the shootout and was eliminated, finishing sixth.

Both Darren Tang and Larsen have runner-up finishes in PBA Tour events, while Michael Tang won the 2015 Intercollegiate Singles Championships under the TV lights. Sunday will mark the first national TV appearance for Hoskins.

The last time brothers met on a PBA Tour telecast was at the 1994 PBA National Championship, when David Traber defeated his brother Dale in the title match. The last time two brothers met in the stepladder finals at the Masters was 1980 when Neil Burton defeated his brother, Nelson (Bo), in the semifinal, before topping hall of famer Mark Roth for the title.

Defending champion Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, fell to Mike Dole of Loves Park, Illinois, in the final set of matches in the elimination bracket Friday to end his reign as Masters champion.

Competitors in the 395-player field this week bowled 15 games of qualifying, before a cut was made to the top 63, who joined Simonsen in the double-elimination match-play bracket.

All rounds of the Masters were covered live on Xtra Frame, the PBA's online bowling channel. For subscription information, visit pba.com.

The USBC Masters telecast will be followed immediately by the live ESPN telecast of the World Bowling Tour Finals. Both telecasts will also be available on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app for those who want to catch Sunday’s action on their computers or mobile devices.

For complete Masters match play results click on http://scores.bowl.com/2017Masters/2017MastersBrackets.pdf

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Weber, Belmonte Among Undefeated After First Day of USBC Masters Match Play

by Jerry Schneider February 24, 2017 14:35

USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber said that on a scale of one to 10, the pain he was feeling in his hip Friday at the USBC Masters was closer to a 12, but nothing is going to slow his momentum at the one major that has eluded him.

The 54-year-old right-hander aggravated a nagging hip injury during the second round of match play at The Orleans Bowling Center but was able win that match and one more to remain undefeated. He is one of eight players left in the winners bracket at the 2017 Masters.

The event features a total prize fund of nearly $300,000 and is a major event on the PBA Tour. The finals will be broadcast live on ESPN on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.

On the way to a 3-0 record Friday, Weber topped Greg Ostrander of Freehold, New Jersey, Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, and Cotie Holbek of Burlington, Wisconsin.

"As of right now, I don't care about the pain," said Weber, who has 37 PBA Tour titles, including a record-tying 10 majors. "I am here to win. Period."

Weber will face off against Alex Hoskins of Brigham City, Utah, when match play resumes Saturday morning at noon Eastern.

Other winners bracket matches scheduled for Saturday are Sweden's Martin Larsen against Craig Nidiffer of Trenton, Michigan, Bill O'Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, against Darren Tang of San Francisco and England's Dom Barrett taking on three-time Masters winner Jason Belmonte of Australia.

Belmonte is looking for his unprecedented fourth Masters title, having won the event three consecutive times in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The 33-year-old closed Friday with an exciting win against Mike Machuga of Erie, Pennsylvania, who has been publicly outspoken against two-handed bowling.

The match came down to the final frame after a missed 7 pin from Belmonte in the sixth frame helped Machuga close a 51-pin gap. A strike on the first shot of his final frame would've given Machuga the win, but he left a 10 pin on his first offering, eventually falling 729-722.

"I feel like Mike has a gleam in his eye when he has to bowl me, but that makes me step things up, too," said Belmonte, who joins USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby as the only bowlers to win three Masters titles. "He's one of the most versatile players around, so there's really no way to shut him out. Instead, I just tried to bowl my own game and do what I could to help myself score. I did make a careless mistake on that spare, and I have to work on composing myself better in those moments."

Eight bowlers remain in the elimination bracket as well, and they also will return to the lanes at The Orleans on Saturday at noon Eastern.

The list of competitors in the elimination bracket includes Ronnie Sparks of Redford, Michigan, Mike Dole of Loves Park, Illinois, Holbek, Argentina's Lucas Legnani, Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Michigan, EJ Tackett of Huntington, Indiana, 16-year-old Jalen Mosley of Indianapolis, and Michael Tang of San Francisco.

Defending champion Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, fell to Dole in the final set of matches in the elimination bracket Friday to end his reign as Masters champion.

All competitors this week bowled 15 games of qualifying, before a cut was made to the top 63, who joined Simonsen in the double-elimination match-play bracket.

All rounds of the Masters are being covered live on Xtra Frame, the PBA's online bowling channel. For subscription information, visit pba.com.

For complete match play results click on http://scores.bowl.com/2017Masters/2017MastersBrackets.pdf

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