Mika Koivuniemi Begins Title Defense with Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open First-Round Lead

by Jerry Schneider June 10, 2019 18:19

LAS VEGAS (June 10, 2019) – Boosted by a 300 game, defending champion Mika Koivuniemi of Finland, began his Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open presented by Storm title defense Monday at the Suncoast Bowling Center with the first-round lead in the season’s third major for players 50 and over.

The PBA Hall of Famer, who was inducted into the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in May, bowled a 1,465 six-game pinfall total (244 average) with games of 203, 253, 300, 229, 234 and 246 to hold a 63-pin lead over fellow countryman Kimmo Lehtonen in second with 1,402.

“I don’t think I bowled 10 bad shots the whole round and when you do that it makes everything else easier,” said the 52-year-old Koivuniemi, who owns three Go Bowling! PBA Tour major titles including the 2001 U.S. Open. “I was able to use the same ball and the main adjustment I had to make was in the middle of the first game when I started putting more forward roll on the ball which helped me carry the 10 pins.

“I could tell by the third or fourth frame of the third game I had a really good shot and it was probably going to be a matter of just kicking out the 10 pins and a 300 was certainly going to be possible,” he added.

As top qualifier for the stepladder finals, Koivuniemi won the 2018 Senior U.S. Open by defeating Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio, 259-237, in the title match for his first PBA50 Tour win.

Because of his commitments as the head bowling coach for the United Arab Emirates national bowling team, the Senior U.S. Open is the only PBA event Koivuniemi plans to bowl this year.

“For the past two months I started practicing regularly about three or four games a day five or six games a week to get ready,” he said. “Nothing very strenuous – just enough to stay in good playing shape.”

Rounding out the top five after the first round were Jeff Johnson, Freeport, Illinois, 1,358; Don Moser, Menifee, California., 1,347, and PBA Hall of Famer and 2011 Senior U.S. Open winner Ron Mohr, Las Vegas, 1,327.

A day after winning the USBC Senior Masters for his fifth PBA50 major and ninth career title, PBA Hall of Famer Amleto Monacelli is in 20th place after the first round with a 1,276 pinfall bowling games of 211, 198, 224, 193, 222 and 228.

The 57-year-old Monacelli, who is trying to become the Senior U.S. Open’s first three-time champion after winning back-to-back in 2012 and 2013, says he has had to put the Senior Masters win out of his mind in preparation for the U.S. Open.

“I need to refocus my mental concentration and keep my emotions stable,” said Monacelli, a 20-time PBA Tour winner. “There’s a lot of talent and experience out here (on the PBA50 Tour) so for me it comes down to the mental game, trusting my instincts and just figuring out how to win. Sometimes I’m so focused, I don’t even know what frame I’m in.”

Former Major League All-Star pitcher John Burkett, who has a best finish of ninth this season that came in the Northern California Classic, withdrew after the second game with a knee injury.

The Senior U.S. Open – the season’s final major – is streamed live in its entirety by PBA’s streaming partner FloBowling. For subscription and schedule information visit www.flobowling.com.

Qualifying continues Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with six-game rounds beginning at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. PT. The field will then be cut to the top 38 players for match play which will begins Friday at 8 a.m. After Friday’s second match play round at noon, the top five players will be determined for the stepladder finals scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

SUNCOAST PBA SENIOR U.S. OPEN

Presented by Storm

Suncoast Bowling Center, Las Vegas, Monday

FIRST ROUND (after six games)

1, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 1,465.
2, Kimmo Lehtonen, Finland, 1,402.
3, Jeff Johnson, Freeport, Ill., 1,358.
4, n-Don Moser, Menifee, Calif., 1,347.
5, ss-Ron Mohr, Las Vegas, 1,327.
6, n-Tore Torgersen, Sweden, 1,318.
7, Joe Goldstein, San Bruno, Calif., 1,313.
7, n-Ron Nelson Jr., Bridgeview, Ill., 1,313.
9, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 1,312.
10, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,311.
11, Bob Rosenau, Redding, Calif., 1,303.
12, ss-Michael Lucente, Warren, Mich., 1,301.
13, Daniel Miyamoto, Mililani, Hawaii, 1,292.
14, Tony Johnson, Canton, Ohio, 1,291.
15, Steve Hoskins, New Port Richey, Fla., 1,287.
16, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 1,284.
17, ss-Kevin Croucher, Grants Pass, Ore., 1,282.
18, Paul Fleming, Fort Worth, Texas, 1,281.
19, Todd Kjell, Roscoe, Ill., 1,280.
20, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 1,276.
21, Noel Vazquez, Sacramento, Calif., 1,274.
22, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 1,271.
23, Bob Learn Jr., Erie, Pa., 1,261.
24, Stoney Baker, Canton, Ga., 1,260.
25, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 1,259.
26, ss-Tom Baker, King, N.C., 1,258.
27, ss-Widmar Vargas, Sun City Center, Fla., 1,257.
28, Greg McDaniel, Kimball, Neb., 1,256.
29, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 1,244.
30, Peter Knopp, Germany, 1,242.
31, Rolando Sebelen, Dominican Republic, 1,241.
31, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 1,241.
33, ss-Henry Dawson, Elma, Wash., 1,238.
34, Robert Lawrence, Austin, Texas, 1,235.
35, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 1,234.
36, Dennis Horan Jr., Oakley, Calif., 1,233.
37, Blaine Weninger, Happy Valley, Ore., 1,232.
38, Todd Haney, Boiling Springs, S.C., 1,228.
39, (tie) ss-Jeff Mann Sr., Clearlake Oaks, Calif., and ss-Johnny Petraglia, Manalapan, NJ, 1,227.
41, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 1,226.
42, (tie) ss-Dale Traber, Cedarburg, Wis., and ss-Don Blatchford, Santa Monica, Calif., 1,225.
44, (tie) ss-Junichi Yajima, Japan, and n-James Wallace, Hicksville, N.Y., 1,223.
46, (tie) Greg Thomas, Irmo, S.C., and Robert P Brown, Cody, Wyo., 1,221.
48, Brian LeClair, Albany, N.Y., 1,220.
49, ss-Edward Silva, Manteca, Calif., 1,218.
50, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 1,217.
51, Steven Badovinac, Parker, Colo., 1,216.
52, Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., 1,212.
53, ss-Mark Williams, Beaumont, Texas, 1,210.
54, (tie) ss-James Storts, Westfield, Ind., and Pat Nolan, Japan, 1,209.
56, (tie) Richard Strath, Schenectady, N.Y., and Ricky Schissler, Brighton, Colo., 1,203.
58, (tie) Joseph Petrovich, Tracy, Calif., Jon DeLaney, McKinney, Texas, and Martin Bedford, Gasport, New York, 1,201.
61, (tie) Brian Menini, Brookfield, Mo., and Rob Rice, Sunnyside, Wash., 1,200.
63, Tommy Martin, Millington, Tenn., 1,199.
64, n-Dana Wright, St. Paul, Minn., 1,195.
65, ss-Skip Pavone, San Jose, Calif., 1,192.
66, Paul LeMond, Jasper, Ind., 1,189.
67, ss-Joe Salvemini, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1,188.
68, n, ss-Bill Oakes, Lawton, Okla., 1,187.
69, ss-Darryl Bower, Middletown, Pa., 1,184.
70, Doug Kempt, Arcadia, Calif., 1,183.
71, Rick Francis, Linden, Calif., 1,181.
72, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 1,180.
73, (tie) Mark Mazzulla, Brentwood, Calif., and Don Herrington, Ballston Lake, N.Y., 1,179.
75, Eric Forkel, Henderson, Nev., 1,175.
76, (tie) n-Barry Zimmerman, Grand Forks, N.D., and Wayne Garber, Modesto, Calif., 1,174.
78, ss-Christopher Keane, Cape Coral, Fla., 1,171.
79, Bill Vannoy, Lexington, S.C., 1,168.
80, Michael Duran, Banning, Calif., 1,164.
81, (tie) ss-John Dudak, Orland Park, Ill., and ss-Warren Nelson, Hemet, Calif., 1,160.
83, ss-Sammy Ventura, Syracuse, N.Y., 1,158.
84, n-Steven Smith, San Diego, 1,157.
85, n,ss-Robert Callari, Cordova, Tenn.., 1,153.
86, n-Paul Renteria, Henderson, Nev., 1,152.
87, n-Bob Baer, Henderson, Nev., 1,151.
88, n-Jerry Johnson Jr., Las Vegas, 1,150.
89, (tie) ss-Paul Mielens, Menomonie, Wis., and ss-Mike Dias, Lafayette, Colo., 1,149.
91, n-David Waswo, Lees Summit, Mo., 1,148.
92, Bill Watson, Monroe, Ohio, 1,144.
93, n-Troy Silfies, Northglenn, Colo., 1,142.
94, (tie) Tony Rodriguez Jr., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and ss-Russ Simmons, Fontana, Calif., 1,141.
96, (tie) n,ss-Darwin Wimer, Mesquite, Nev., and John Marsala, St. Louis, Mo., 1,140.
98, ss-Steven Jansson, Barnes, Wis., 1,136.
99, Randy Peterson, Carrington, N.D., 1,133.
100, Michael Smith, Centenniel, Colo., 1,131.
101, (tie) Gary Alstott, Washington, Ill., n-Steven Jeeves, England, Gary Faulkner, Norfolk, Va., and Scott Greiner, Sunrise Beach, Mo., 1,130.
105, (tie) ss-Julius Mickel, Omaha, Neb., and n,ss-Dale Knight, Las Vegas, 1,124.
107, n-Jim Montgomery, Byron, Ill., 1,123.
108, Brian McMahon, Boca Raton, Fla., 1,119.
109, (tie) ss-Thomas Sliwinski, Reynoldsville, Pa., and Jay Hess, Gotha, Fla., 1,110.
111, ss-Takeo Sakai, Japan, 1,108.
112, ss-Ross McDonald, Las Vegas, Nev., 1,105.
113, ss-Gary Kammes, Winfield, Ill., 1,100.
114, Rodney Remmers, Moore, Texas, 1,099.
115, (tie) ss-Jerry Sikora, Huron, S.D. and n-Charles Allen Jr., Pell City, Ala., 1,098.
117, (tie) n,ss-Paul Appling, Camarillo, Calif., and ss-Stan Winters, Simi Valley, Calif., 1,096.
119, Tom Sellers, Barstow, Calif., 1,095.
120, ss-Rick Minier, Houston, 1,094.
121, n-Tish Johnson, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1,089.
122, n-John Shreve Sr., Sheffield Village, Ohio, 1,088.
123, John Dougherty, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., 1,084.
123, n-Linda Walbaum, Brighton, Colo., 1,084.
125, n-Billy Bundza, Tucson, Ariz., 1,083.
126, Timothy Banks, Rosamond, Calif., 1,082.
127, Mark Abraham, Lansing, Mich., 1,081.
128, Carlos Denot, Mexico, 1,077.
129, n-Jeff Atkins, Hot Springs Village, Ark., 1,076.
130, ss-Tom Carter, Columbus, Ohio, 1,075.
131, ss-Harry Sullins, Chesterfield Twp., Mich., 1,070.
132, Joe Beck, Montgomery, Ala., 1,062.
133, n-Steven Atkinson, Hollywood Park, Texas, 1,060.
134, Cephas Hensley, Jonesboro, Tenn., 1,059.
135, n-John Hricsina Jr., Las Vegas, 1,055.
136, Carl West, San Jose, Calif., 1,048.
137, ss-Don Lane, San Francisco, 1,045.
138, Ron Hosler, Denver, 1,038.
139, ss-Terry Metzner, Kentwood, Mich., 1,037.
140, ss-Garry Blanton, Owensboro, Ky., 1,032.
141, ss-Glen Nakagawa, Highland Village, Texas, 1,029.
142, n-Rolly Sebelen, Dominican Republic, 1,019.
143, ss-Brian Miller, Springfield, Ohio, 1,013.
144, Jack Wofford, Flagstaff, Ariz., 1,011.
145, n-Michael Mellick, Whittier, Calif., 1,010.
146, n,ss-David Graber, Las Vegas, 1,007.
147, n-Vic Karbowski, Sommerton, Ariz., 1,004.
148, n,ss-Robert Reeder, Bellefonte, Pa., 996.
149, ss-Galen Keas, Alda, Neb., 975.
150, ss-Robert Walters, North Las Vegas, Nev., 934.
151, ss-Bill Kaiser, Allen, Texas, 966.
152, John Burkett, Southlake, Texas, 327, WD.

300 games – Mika Koivuniemi

n - non-member

ss – PBA60 players ages 60 and over

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Monacelli Wins USBC Senior Masters for Fifth Major and Ninth Career PBA50 Title

by Jerry Schneider June 9, 2019 15:57

LAS VEGAS - For the second time in his career, Venezuela's Amleto Monacelli hoisted the trophy at the USBC Senior Masters  this time averaging more than 246 while climbing the stepladder at the Sam's Town Bowling Center.

The 57-year-old right-hander entered Sunday's championship round as the No. 5 seed and won five games to secure the coveted major title and $20,000 top prize. His run included a pair of wins over top seed Stoney Baker of Canton, Georgia, and made him the eighth bowler in history to win the USBC Senior Masters twice. His Senior Masters win was also his fifth major on the tour for players 50 and over.

Monacelli, a USBC and PBA Hall of Famer struck at least eight times in each match and closed the finale against Baker with five strikes for a 237-200 victory.

Because Baker had made it through the event's 64-player double-elimination match-play bracket without being beaten, he needed to be defeated twice to be denied the title. Monacelli topped Baker 255-243 to force the second game.

"It's a great feeling, and running through the stepladder, which is the hardest way, is even more special," said Monacelli, now a nine-time PBA50 Tour winner and 20-time PBA Tour titlist. "I think when I have to run the stepladder, it makes me a little more relaxed and more focused about how I'm going to play the lanes. I tried to come in without any expectations and just bowl my best. Luckily, things went my way today."

Baker, a 56-year-old right-hander and 31-time PBA regional champion, started the opening game with seven consecutive strikes, before a 10 pin ended his run at perfection. An unconverted 1-2-10 washout in the ninth frame gave Monacelli a chance to lock up the game, and the 2015 Senior Masters champion took advantage of the opportunity.

Monacelli, who defeated fellow hall of famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Missouri, two times to win the 2015 event, kept pace with Baker, slowed only briefly by a 7-10 split in the third frame. He followed the open frame with seven consecutive strikes and a single-pin spare to shut out Baker.

"I was two good shots away from winning this thing," Baker said. "I kind of rolled the thumb in the eighth frame. In the ninth, I didn't quite roll it off my hand. It didn't see any early friction at all, and that's why it just kept going on that shot."

Even as a part-timer on the PBA50 Tour, Baker has found success, including a previous-best finish of fourth. He's also the reigning PBA South Region Senior Player of the Year.

Since joining the PBA in 1986, the bowling center proprietor has enjoyed competing with and against the Tour's top stars, two of whom joined him in the finals Sunday - Monacelli and Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida.

"Amleto had great reaction and is a fabulous bowler, so you have to bring it when you bowl him, especially when he's got a few games on the pair and knows what's going on," Baker said. "It was my first time in a title match in a national event. I don't care who you are, you're going to have some nerves. I just didn't make enough good shots.

"If I could have thrown those two shots in the first game a little better, it might have been a different story. But, I'm not blaming anybody but myself. Overall, though, I'm happy to do what I did."

To earn his meeting with Baker, Monacelli remained unrattled after an eighth-frame gutter ball against Duke and closed with four strikes to escape with a 239-222 victory. Sunday marked Duke's third consecutive appearances in the Senior Masters stepladder, where he has collected finishes of fourth, second and third, respectively.

“The key today was just to get within myself and my process and try to keep my heart rate down, because I needed to be really relaxed before throwing the ball," Monacelli said. "My game is a game where I need to be careful about getting too fast. Overcoming a mistake like throwing it in the gutter is more of a mental test, but you have to remember, it was just a mistake. If anything, it reminded me to stay more behind it and throw good shots, and that's what I did the rest of the time."

Monacelli was one of the three players who advanced to Sunday's stepladder through a four-player shootout that included the last competitors in the Elimination Bracket. Having the third-highest score in the shootout earned him the No. 5 spot.

In the opening match of the championship round, Monacelli struck six times on his first seven shots on the way to a 258-188 win over Tom Adcock of Decatur, Illinois. He then overcame a missed single pin to defeat Gary Faulkner of Norfolk, Virginia, 245-223.

"It was a long road, but winning this title means a lot," said Monacelli, who now will head across town to compete in the 2019 Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open presented by Storm. "It's always special when you win, but this is another major title, and it's a tough tournament with 300 bowlers. I am going to enjoy today and think about tomorrow's event tomorrow."

Walter Ray Williams Jr., the only player to win both the USBC Masters and Seniors Masters twice each, was the last No. 1 seed to win the senior edition, doing so in 2017.

In 2018, Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Oregon, defeated the top-seeded Duke twice to join Williams and Dave Soutar as the only players to win both the Masters and Senior Masters.

Warren's title defense this week at Sam's Town was short-lived. After qualifying third for match play, he lost his first two matches and was eliminated.

The Senior U.S. Open begins with first-round qualifying Monday at 9 a.m. PT and continues  with qualifying rounds Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The field will then be cut the top 25 percent of the field that will advance to match play on Friday which will determine the top five players for the stepladder finals to begin at 4 p.m.

The Senior U.S. Open will be streamed live on FloBowling.com.  Visit www.flobowling.com for subscription and schedule information.

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Undefeated in Match Play, Stoney Baker Earns Top Seed for USBC Senior Masters Finals

by Jerry Schneider June 8, 2019 21:24

By Aaron Smith, USBC Communications

LAS VEGAS - Early in his career, Stoney Baker of Canton, Georgia, decided he was going to be a part-time bowler and full-time businessman.

The 56-year-old right-hander was all business Saturday at the Sam's Town Bowling Center as he rolled undefeated through match play to earn the No. 1 seed for the stepladder finals of the 2019 USBC Masters.
Baker, the owner of Canton's Cherokee Lanes, defeated USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida, 717-672, in the match to determine the top seed.

The championship round will be broadcast live on BowlTV.com on Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern, with the winner taking home a $20,000 top prize and the second major title of the 2019 PBA50 Tour season.

Duke will make his third consecutive appearance in the USBC Senior Masters stepladder, this time as the No. 2 seed, and he'll look to improve on last year's runner-up finish, which was the result of a final-frame miscue that has haunted him on the PBA50 Tour ever since.

Baker and Duke will be joined in the championship round by No. 3 Gary Faulkner of Norfolk, Virginia, No. 4 Tom Adcock of Decatur, Illinois, and No. 5 Amleto Monacelli of Venezuela, who all advanced to the stepladder from an exciting four-player shootout Saturday evening.

Adcock and Monacelli will face off in the opening match, and the winner will meet Faulkner.

"My first line of business is my bowling center, which is my baby, but I like to get out and bowl whenever I can, and I've kind of been a part-time bowler my whole life," Baker said. "I'm 56 years old, and I just enjoy the game. To be on the lanes with guys like Walter (Ray Williams Jr.) and Norm is an incredible thing.

They're the best. All these guys, I look up to them, and it's an honor to bowl with and against them. Norm, he's my idol, and to beat him is an amazing feeling."

Total pinfall for three games determined the winner of each match in the double-elimination match-play bracket, while the championship round will be single-game matches. As the undefeated top seed, Baker must be defeated twice to be denied his first PBA50 Tour title.

Baker averaged more than 231 in his six match-play wins this week at Sam's Town but saved his two biggest sets for last.

To guarantee himself a spot in the stepladder, he rolled the event's 13th perfect game and downed PBA Hall of Famer Ron Mohr of Las Vegas, 772-680. That set up the meeting with Duke, and a 290 in the second game propelled Baker to the top seed.

"Being in this position feels amazing," Baker said. "I plan to go out there and give it my best and make the 10 best shots I can. To win this event would mean everything. I have bowled a decent amount of PBA50 events, and being able to win one would be incredibly special."

To earn their spots in Sunday's stepladder, Faulkner, Adcock and Monacelli made their way through the Elimination Bracket and survived the three-game shootout round.

Faulkner posted the highest score, a 719 series, to take the third spot, while Adcock and Monacelli had 711 and 691, respectively. Ron Mohr of Las Vegas shot 594 and was eliminated, finishing sixth overall.

Monacelli is the 2015 Senior Masters champion and is looking to become the eighth two-time winner. 
As a PBA member since 1986, Baker has collected 31 PBA regional titles and is the reigning Senior Player of the Year in the PBA South Region. Nationally, his best finish on the PBA50 Tour prior to this week was fourth.

“I went out on the PBA Tour for a while and just didn't love all the travel and being gone all the time," Baker said. "I decided to go into the bowling business, which started with a pro shop, and then I got the bowling center. I chose to be a part-time bowler, and I sometimes wonder 'what if,' but I'm ultimately very happy with the direction I chose."

Duke, a 55-year-old right-hander, has made his career on the lanes, collecting 40 PBA Tour titles and five PBA50 Tour wins along the way.

After finishing fourth at the 2017 Senior Masters, Duke turned in another solid performance in 2018, earning the No. 1 seed for the finals, but was defeated by Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Oregon, 269-220 and 246-241.

In the deciding game of the title tilt, Duke stepped up in his final frame needing to strike on the first shot and get at least eight and a spare to win by a single pin.

After delivering the strike he needed, Duke left the 3-4-6-7-9-10 combination to fall short, a moment that has stuck with him for a year and stalled his success on the PBA50 Tour.

norm dukeAs a competitor on both the Go Bowling! PBA Tour and the PBA50 Tour, Duke essentially is living two separate lives.

Earlier this year, he proved he still can strike and win against the up-and-coming stars of the PBA Tour, winning a pair of titles in back-to-back weeks, but he has been winless on the PBA50 Tour this year, despite making the stepladder of all three events he's entered. He has collected finishes of fifth, third and fourth.

"I've had more trouble on this tour than I have on the regular tour for two years now, but as easily as you can lose yourself out of a roll you're on, you also can win your way out of a funk," Duke said. "I feel like I've been bowling well out here, but I just haven't taken anything home as far as hardware. I know it's up to me to step up and perform, if I'm going to get out of this thing. Right now, there's the mental battle, along with the physical requirement to out-bowl people. It's not anything I haven't experienced before, but unless I can rise to the occasion, it's going to be prolonged."

A win at the 2019 Senior Masters would make Duke the fourth player in history to win both the USBC Masters and the senior version. Dave Soutar, Williams and Warren are the other three, with Williams winning each twice. Duke's Masters title came in 1993.

"I think the way last year's Senior Masters ended is the major contributing factor in what I'm dealing with mentally right now," Duke said. "I let that one get away, and if I get that one, maybe that's the start of a serious roll. But, I didn't. Honestly, it's agonizing at times, and the longer it takes, the more pressure there is. There's a lot of talent on the show, but I'm grateful for the chance. If I'm going to get it done, I've got a lot of work to do."

Duke, who owns two PBA50 major titles, joins fellow hall of famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Missouri, as the only bowlers to win both the U.S. Open and PBA Senior U.S. Open.

A total of 300 USBC members age 50 and older took to the lanes this week at the 2019 Senior Masters for three five-game sets over three days to determine the 63 bowlers who joined Warren in the double-elimination bracket. Match play features three-game total-pinfall contests to determine which players advance.

As the defending champion, Warren was guaranteed the No. 64 spot in the bracket, but he averaged 232 through 15 games to improve his seeding to No. 3. He then lost to Mark Williams of Beaumont, Texas, and

Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, New York, in consecutive matches to end his hopes of becoming the first repeat winner since USBC Hall of Famer Tom Baker in 2007.

For complete Senior Masters results click on https://www.bowl.com/Senior_Masters/Senior_Masters_Home/2019_Results/

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Weninger, Duke Among Undefeated Players After First Day of USBC Senior Masters Match Play

by Jerry Schneider June 7, 2019 21:19

By Aaron Smith, USBC Communications

LAS VEGAS - Since turning 50 in January, Blaine Weninger of Clackamas, Oregon, has been working hard, both on the lanes and in the gym, to get ready for the 2019 USBC Senior Masters and Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open presented by Storm, but a back injury nearly derailed his summer plans.

After a couple trips to the doctor and a half-dozen visits to the chiropractor, Weninger felt well enough to compete this week at the Sam's Town Bowling Center, and he's now one of 16 undefeated players at the 2019 USBC Senior Masters.

Also among the undefeated competitors are last year's runner-up hall of famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida, top seed Eugene McCune of Munster, Indiana, two-time USBC Masters champion Doug Kent of Newark, New York, 2015 Senior Masters winner Amleto Monacelli of Venezuela and 2012 champion Mike Edwards of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

060519BlaineWeninger_637[1]On the way to a 2-0 record Friday, Weninger found himself in the highest-scoring match of the day, an 820-729 victory over USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Florida.

Ironically, while his back might've been a little bit tight due to a bad sacroiliac joint, caused by overdoing his preparation, Weninger said his arm swing was looser than he expected while taking on the winningest player in PBA history. Weninger closed the three-game match with the tournament's eighth perfect game.

"Even though I qualified fourth, I had streaks where I bowled well and other times where I just didn't, or maybe my spare game was off," Weninger said. "I bowled pretty well this morning, and I think the best thing that could've happened was getting to bowl Walter because my expectations were zero. I knew I probably wasn't supposed to win. He's arguably the best player ever, and I'm just me. I just went out and bowled, and something clicked. I wasn't even nervous because I had no expectations."

Having scouted the pair they'd be bowling on, Weninger said he and Williams expected their match to be high-scoring based on the way Edwards and Peter Knopp of Columbus, Ohio, attacked the lanes the match before.

By playing straighter, toward the outside part of the lane and using bowling balls with more surface, Edwards and Knopp helped open up the lanes, ultimately making them very scorable for Weninger and Williams.

That's simply the nature of the Senior Masters, where some rounds are contested on a fresh oil pattern, and others are bowled on the burn, meaning a match already had taken place.

"We talked before we started and knew that pair was going to be good, and then in practice, you could tell there was going to be some room," Weninger said. "Ultimately, though, it's not about the score, it's about winning the match. You can shoot 770 and lose, or you can shoot 520 and win. It's a unique format, where gutting out a win is all that matters. You don't have to worry about the field or pinfall or bonus pins. You just have to focus on the one opponent at a time."

While he rests his body Friday night, Weninger also plans to give his mind a rest, too, at least when it comes to bowling.

One of the stipulations of his time in Las Vegas, is that he keep up with his responsibilities as a full-time accountant, meaning there's plenty of work to distract him from thinking about ball selections and how the 40-foot oil pattern will transition on the second day of match play.

"I'm fortunate to have an employer that allows me come out and bowl as long as I get all my work done, and, luckily, I have a ton of work to keep me busy and distracted when I'm not bowling," Weninger said. "So far, this has been a great experience, and it's all gravy from here. I've had a great time, and no matter how it goes, this is something I'll never forget."

All 32 remaining competitors will be back on the lanes Saturday at noon Eastern, and competition will continue throughout the day, until only five remain in contention for the $20,000 top prize.
The final five bowlers will advance to Sunday's championship round, a traditional stepladder, that will be broadcast live at BowlTV.com at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Among the 16 bowlers left in the Elimination Bracket are Williams, the only player to win both the Senior Masters and Masters twice each, fellow hall of famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, New Jersey, PBA Tour champion Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, New York, and international standouts Tore Torgersen (Norway) and Ray Vervynck (Canada).

Defending champion Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Oregon, will not make another record run at Sam's Town this year after losing back-to-back matches to Mark Williams of Beaumont, Texas, and Shafer.
Warren's opening-round match against Williams ended in a 643 tie, when Warren left a 4-10 split after starting his final frame with a strike. Nine pins would've been enough to advance. Instead, Williams was able to move on after two one-ball roll-offs (10-10, 10-9).

In 2018, Warren lost his first match and then rattled off a record 13 consecutive wins to claim the title, including defeating the top-seeded Duke twice in the traditional double-elimination format.

For complete USBC Senior Masters results click on https://www.bowl.com/Senior_Masters/Senior_Masters_Home/2019_Results/

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McCune Tops USBC Senior Masters Qualifying Heading Into Match Play

by Jerry Schneider June 6, 2019 22:04

By Aaron Smith, USBC Communications

LAS VEGAS - Eugene McCune of Munster, Indiana, used the momentum of a perfect game Thursday to lead qualifying at the 2019 USBC Senior Masters.

The 50-year-old right-hander finished qualifying at Sam's Town Bowling Center with a 15-game total of 3,510, a 234 average over three days, to pace the 300-player field.

PBA and USBC Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida, is second with 3,484, and defending champion Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Oregon, jumped into third place after posting the biggest five-game block Thursday (1,292) to finish with 3,480.

Warren defeated Duke twice in the stepladder finals of the 2018 Senior Masters to claim the title.
Blaine Weninger of Clackamas, Oregon, and USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, New Jersey, round out the top five with 3,440 and 3,410, respectively.

McCune's block on the burn variation of this week's 40-foot lane condition Thursday started with a 268 game, but he quickly found his second pair playing drastically different.
He waited until his fill ball to make a move to the right, increase his ball speed and tighten his angle to the pocket to finish with 191.

Throughout his PBA Tour career, McCune has thrived on conditions that allow him to take advantage of his ball speed, and he was able to do so again Thursday, finishing with games of 300, 226 and 223 for a 1,208 total.

He added sets of 1,175 on the double-burn and 1,127 on the fresh. All bowlers in this year's field bowled one-five game set on each variation of the oil pattern.

"On the first pair, I was able to stand about two left and throw it anywhere to shoot 260," said McCune, a three-time PBA Tour champion. "On the next pair, I ended up moving 10 boards and also had the left lane playing weird. I figured if they were going to be that way, I'd try a fill ball out. It looked good, so I tried it on the next pair and never missed the pocket."

McCune retired from the PBA Tour after the 2016 season, but his time on the lanes has been picking up since he turned 50 last June. He won the 2018 PBA50 South Shore Open in his PBA50 debut as a non-member, and he's added a handful of regional events to his schedule in 2019.

Looking ahead to match play, McCune hopes his mindset throughout the week at Sam's Town will allow him to make quick moves during his three-game matches.

"I tried to not get caught up in playing one shot because a lot of pairs are different," McCune said. "If you go into match play thinking you're only going to play them one way, and they're not that way, you need to find something else really quick."

All bowlers at the Senior Masters competed in three five-game sets over three days to determine the 63 bowlers joining Warren in the double-elimination bracket. Match play will feature three-game total-pinfall contests to determine which players advance.

McCune will face Alvin Lou of El Cajon, California, in Friday's opening round, which will start at noon Eastern.

The left side of the bracket will hit the lanes first, while the right side of the bracket will get underway Friday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

Lou finished tied for 63rd place with Las Vegas' Alan Frederick to earn the final spots in the bracket with matching 3,218 totals, a 214.53 average. Frederick will face Duke in the first round.

Match play will take place Friday and Saturday at Sam's Town until the top five bowlers are determined for Sunday's stepladder finals, which will take place at 1 p.m. Eastern. The winner will take home the $20,000 top prize.

BowlTV is providing wire-to-wire livestream coverage of the event for USBC members age 50 and older.

For complete Senior Masters Results click on https://www.bowl.com/Senior_Masters/Senior_Masters_Home/2019_Results/

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