Australia’s Jason Belmonte Wins Historic PBA World Championship for Ninth Major Title, Third in 2017

by Bill Vint December 31, 2017 11:54

RENO, Nev. – Australia’s Jason Belmonte re-wrote the Professional Bowlers Association record book again, winning his ninth career major championship with a thrilling 238-225 victory over top qualifier Jesper Svensson of Sweden in the PBA World Championship at the National Bowling Stadium. With the win, Belmonte became the first player in PBA’s 60-year history to win three major championships in a single season.

The PBA World Championship, the final tournament of the 2017 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season, aired Sunday on ESPN as part of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Resorts Reno Properties. Belmonte’s 16th career PBA Tour title was worth $60,000, and it moved him into sole possession of third place on PBA’s list of all-time major titlists behind PBA legends Earl Anthony and Pete Weber who both won 10 majors.

In addition to his historic victory, Belmonte was part of the first nationally-televised PBA Tour event that included two sudden-death roll-offs, one of which gave the two-handed Australian star his shot at the title.

“That’s going to go down as one of the most exciting shows in a long time,” said Belmonte, who added the PBA World Championship to his collection of major titles that includes two PBA Tournament of Champions, two PBA Players Championship and an unprecedented four United States Bowling Congress Masters titles. At age 34, he is a U.S. Open title away from the PBA Triple Crown (U.S. Open, TOC and PBA World Championship, Grand Slam (Triple Crown plus Masters) and the “Super Slam” (Grand Slam plus Players Championship).

Since winning his first major in the 2011 PBA Players Championship at age 27, Belmonte has won his nine titles over a span of seven seasons. It took Anthony 11 seasons to win his first nine majors; it took Weber 26 seasons to accomplish the same feat. Both won their 10th majors in the next season.

“It feels bloody amazing,” Belmonte said. “I wasn’t aware of being the first to win three majors in a year until Kimberly Presser mentioned it after the show. It’s been a really, really great year. I don’t know what else to say.

“I’m honored to be one win away from arguably the two best bowlers who ever lived on the all-time majors list,” he added. “I don’t know how I’ll feel if I get to 10 majors, but I’ll tell you that no. 9 is a pretty good feeling.”

SandersThe opening match of the World Championship set the stage for the rest of the day when 2017 PBA Rookie of the Year contender Matt Sanders (photo at left) of Evansville, Ind., and two-time PBA Tour winner Kyle Troup (at left, middle photo) of Taylorsville, N.C., finished in a 248-248 tie. After missing a 10 pin spare attempt on his final shot, Troup struck on his first shot in the one-ball sudden-death roll-off and moved on when Sanders left a 7 pin on his roll-off shot.

In the second match, Ryan Ciminelli (at left, bottom photo) of Cheektowaga, N.Y., survived a 193-180 battle with Troup, who missed a pair of three-pin spare Troupconversion attempts.

In the semifinal match, Ciminelli appeared to have Belmonte on the ropes after striking on seven of his first eight shots while Belmonte began with four spares. But Belmonte got lined up and threw the final eight strikes, forcing the finals’ second sudden-death roll-off when Ciminelli left the 2-4 on his fill ball for a 257-257 tie. In the roll-off, Belmonte went first and left a 7 pin. Needing a strike to win, Ciminelli left the 2-5-6 on his first shot.

“I was fortunate Ryan didn’t bowl one pin higher than me,” Belmonte admitted. “If you watch Ryan enough, you know he’s one of the best players out here in the clutch.”

In thCiminellie championship match, Belmonte started with three strikes, converted a 10 pin spare and then got a fortunate strike in the fifth frame when a finger grip came out of his ball.

“I thought I was in real trouble when the grip came out and I still struck,” he said. “But then I was wondering if the glue (on the new grip) would set, or if I’d start thinking about it coming out again.

“I also know that just when you think Jesper’s having a bad game, he’ll strike out on you.”

It appeared that was exactly what was about to happen. After leaving the 4-6-10 in the first frame for an open, Svensson threw the next five strikes to take the lead. Svensson was nursing a nine-pin lead after six frames when the changing lane conditions impacted both players.

“The traffic of urethane balls Jesper (photo below) and Kyle were using laid down an oil track that made reading the progression difficult,” Belmonte said. “You can usually see early tell-tale signs, but not this time. It got to the point I didn’t know what to do.”

SvenssonFour consecutive single-pin spares, including a 7 pin on Svensson’s first shot in the 10th frame, gave Belmonte an opening.

“In the last frame, needing two strikes to win after not striking on that lane the three previous attempts, I made two of the best shots I’ve ever thrown in my life,” Belmonte said. “It was a good guess and even better execution.

“After Jesper left that 7 pin, I knew all I had to do was throw one more great shot,” Belmonte said. “I never think I’ve won until I look up and see, mathematically, I’ve won.”

Working on a strike in the ninth frame, Belmonte struck on his first shot in the 10th and needing only a high count on his second to lock up the title, Belmonte struck again and then he looked up at the scoreboard, confirming he had won.

With his fourth title of the 2017 season – including three majors – Belmonte became the odds-on favorite to win his fourth GEICO Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year title in the past five years. Voting will take place early in January.

The PBA Tour will return to action Jan. 23-27 when a field of 15 PBA Tour stars, led by Belmonte and defending champion EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., head to Tokyo to compete in the 2018 DHC PBA Japan Invitational.

ESPN’s coverage of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX concludes next Sunday with the World Bowling Tour Women’s and Men’s Finals presented by the PBA at 1 p.m. EST. Competing in the women’s finals will be Malaysia’s Shalin Zulkifli, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., and top qualifier Diana Zavjalova of Latvia. Men’s finalists will be Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.; Svensson and Belmonte.

PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

National Bowling Stadium, Reno (aired on ESPN on Dec. 31)

Final Standings: 1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, $60,000. 2, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, $30,000. 3, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., $25,000. 4, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., $20,000. 5, Matt Sanders, Evansville, Ind., $15,000.

Stepladder Results: Match One – Troup def. Sanders, 248-248, 10-7 in one-ball roll-off. Match Two – Ciminelli def. Troup, 193-180. Semifinal – Belmonte def. Ciminelli, 257-257, 9-7 in one-ball roll-off. Championship – Belmonte def. Svensson, 238-225.

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PBA Spare Shots: “King of Bowling” Wes Malott to Defend Crown Prior to Tournament of Champions

by Bill Vint December 29, 2017 13:51

Reigning King of Bowling Wes Malott will defend his title for the third time in another special Xtra Frame pay-for-view showdown that will take place at AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio, prior to the start of the PBA Tournament of Champions. Fans will again be invited to vote to select his opponent.

Xtra Frame, PBA’s online bowling channel, will stream the best-of-three-game exhibition event live at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Voting will take place in two parts. From Jan. 15-19, fans will be invited to vote on pba.com for four players from a list of former Tournament of Champions winners who are entered in this year’s event. The top four vote-getters will then advance to a ballot where fans can vote for one player on either pba.com or Twitter from Jan. 22-26. The player receiving the most votes will challenge Malott for the title.

Fans can purchase a one-time subscription to watch the event for $2.99 beginning by visiting www.xtraframe.tv.

Malott won the original King of Bowling in 2009 in Lake Worth, Fla. and successfully defended his title when the event was revived after an eight-year absence in April in Portland, Maine. Malott, 40 years old and a 10-time, Hall of Fame-eligible PBA competitor when the special event was revived in Maine, rolled games of 238, 256 and 227 for a 721 three-game total pinfall series and a convincing victory over 2016 PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., and Jason Belmonte of Australia, who recorded 664 and 640 series, respectively.

In the second edition of the renewal in Shawnee, Okla., in June, Malott faced Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., who had been selected by PBA fans, in a best-of-three-game match. Jones won first match, 278-200, but Malott rallied to win the next two games, 258-238 and 212-204, to retain his crown.

SPECIAL FANS FROM MEXICO TRAVEL TO WSOB IX TO WATCH EJ TACKETT BOWL

Reigning PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett was surprised to learn he had a special group of fans in the audience at Reno’s National Bowling Stadium when he won the Pepsi PBA Scorpion Championship presented by GoBowling.com, the final animal pattern event in the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX presented by Eldorado Resorts Reno Properties, a part of the 2017-18 Go Bowling! PBA Tour series.

“There was a family from Mexico that came here just to watch me bowl,” Tackett said. “They have an 11-year-old son who has a medical condition that’s very bad. It’s very cool to be able to put on a performance after they came all this distance just to watch me bowl.”

GEICO PBA WSOB IX CHRONICLES LOOK INSIDE PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

The new “GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX Chronicles” produced by Xtra Frame’s Jef Goodger for PBA’s YouTube channel wraps up Tuesday with the debut of the PBA World Championship finals recap.

Earlier in this post-Christmas week, the Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game finals (WSOB IX Chronicles Part 11) and the Pepsi PBA Scorpion Championship presented by GoBowling.com (Chronicles Part 12) were posted to PBA’s Facebook page and to Xtra Frame. The final two animal pattern finals were followed on Thursday and today, respectively, by WSOB IX Chronicles Part 13 (PBA World Championship Chameleon and Shark cashers round qualifying) and WSOB IX Chronicles Part 14 (PBA World Championship Cheetah and Scorpion cashers round qualifying)

The video features, which also are being posted on PBA’s Facebook page and on Xtra Frame, provide fans with a glimpse of PBA competition they never get to see on national television.

CHECK PBA’S FACEBOOK PAGE FOR WSOB STATISTICAL INSIGHTS FROM SPECTO

Fans also should check PBA’s Facebook page for new statistical insights into the WSOB provided by Kegel’s Specto tracking system. The Specto data explains the line to the pocket each player used, ball speed and rev rates, and more. Here’s a link to a sample a Specto: https://www.facebook.com/ProfessionalBowlersAssociation/posts/10155838859814774

CAN YOU BEAT 246 IN THE “BEAT THE CHEETAH CHAMPION” CHALLENGE

25498219_10155824140449774_4324632116038502817_nCan you beat Jesper Svensson’s 246 by bowling a game in the PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game’s “Cheetah Challenge?” You have until 12:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday to give it your best shot.

The rules for the contest are simple: open your PBA Bowling Challenge app and select the "Limited Tournament" button on the landing page. “Bowl” one virtual game and if your game score beats the actual PBA Cheetah Championship winner’s score, you will be automatically entered into a drawing to win 5,000 Gold Pins (in-game currency) and a pin signed by the Cheetah champion. Multiple entries are allowed. Here is a link the official rules: http://bit.ly/PBA_OfficialRules.

Speaking of the PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, the third PBA League venue has been added to the game. This week’s addition was the Portland Lumberjacks venue.

If you aren’t already a player, the PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game app is a free download at Google Play and Apple App stores. Use these links: Google Play: http://bit.ly/PBABowlingChallengeAnd or Apple App Store: http://bit.ly/PBABowlingChallengeiOS.

LAST CALL IF YOU NEED HELP WITH YOUR GAME?

Another reminder: if you’d like expert assistance in solving a problem with your bowling game, submit a video with your question about help you’d like to improve your bowling game, and you might be one of nine lucky winners to be featured on ESPN’s Go Bowling Fan Tip of the Week where your question will be answered by PBA Hall of Famer and ESPN color analyst Randy Pedersen.

The entry deadline is Wednesday. To enter, use this link: https://gobowling.com/fantip?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PBAFanTip-email-1.

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: REGIONAL PROGRAM TAKES A HOLIDAY BREAK

PBA’s Regional tournament program is taking a break over the holidays, returning to action in the PBA Central Region over the Jan. 19-21 weekend with the PBA/PBA50 Don Vay Memorial Central Classic at Legend Lanes in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

● The PBA South Region returns to action in February with the PBA and PBA50 Break Point Alley Challenge events, both open to players who have not won a PBA title. Break Point Alley in Tavares, Fla., will host the doubleheader over the Feb. 9-11 weekend.

● The PBA South Region’s second weekend of competition includes the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota Spartanburg South Open at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., over the Feb. 16-18 weekend.

● For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area…and remember, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba.com (easily accessible for Apple device users using the new PBA app).

QUICK NOTES

Bowlers Journal International senior editor Bob Johnson has reported that five-time PBA Tour champion Glenn Allison was involved in an automobile accident on Christmas Eve while on the way to La Habra “300” Bowl, where he works the desk part-time. Family members said the 87-year-old Allison fractured his sternum and has two fractures in his back, and is expected to remain at Pomona Valley Hospital for “a couple of weeks.” Allison is best known for rolling the first 900 series in sanctioned ABC league competition on July 1, 1982, only to have official recognition denied due to non-complying lane conditions.

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Sunday on ESPN: Established, Rising Stars Featured in PBA World Championship in 2017 Season’s Final Major

by Bill Vint December 27, 2017 07:38

RENO, Nev. - In the final major championship of the Professional Bowlers Association’s 2017 season, one of the PBA’s most talented young stars and one of its most decorated established stars will join a trio of rising stars in the finals of the PBA World Championship. ESPN’s coverage begins Sunday at 1 p.m. EST.

At the top of Sunday’s field is a budding young star on the brink of making PBA history: 22-year-old top qualifier Jesper Svensson of Sweden who averaged 241 over six days of competition and 60 games on four different lane conditions. Svensson, a left-handed, two-handed player, needs to win one more major (in addition to his seven conventional PBA Tour titles) to become the youngest player in PBA history to become title-eligible for the PBA Hall of Fame.

In the final major of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX presented by Eldorado Resorts Reno Properties and the 2017 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season, 34-year-old Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte will be trying for the ninth major of his career to move into sole possession of third place on PBA’s list of all-time major title winners behind PBA legends Pete Weber and Earl Anthony, both of whom have won 10 majors. So far this year, Belmonte has won the 2017 Barbasol PBA Players Championship and he became the first four-time USBC Masters champion in the history of that event.

Hoping to spoil a victory party by Svensson or Belmonte are PBA champions Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y.; Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C. and rookie Matt Sanders of Evansville, Ind. Troup, the third two-handed player in the finals, will meet Sanders in the first match of Sunday’s stepladder finals. The winner of that match will bowl Ciminelli for the opportunity to meet Belmonte in the semifinal match. Sanders and Ciminelli are both left-handers.

The five finalists earned their berths in the PBA World Championship finals after competing in qualifying and cashers’ rounds which were conducted on the 39-foot Chameleon, 45-foot Shark, 33-foot Cheetah and 42-foot Scorpion PBA lane conditioning patterns.

Svensson, who won the 2016 PBA Tournament of Champions at age 20, topped Belmonte by 366 pins to earn the top berth in the finals. Ciminelli, the 2015 U.S. Open champion, posted a 14,031 pinfall total to earn the no. 3 position in the stepladder. Troup, a two-time PBA Tour titlist, qualified fourth with a 13,931 pinfall and Sanders, a leading Rookie of the Year contender, bowled a 268 in his final qualifying game to secure the fifth qualifying position. Sanders won his first and only PBA Tour title earlier in the year in the Xtra Frame PBA Billy Hardwick Memorial Open.

World Series IX coverage on ESPN concludes with the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by PBA on Sunday, Jan. 7, at 1 p.m.

For detailed stats about the PBA World Championship, click here: https://www.pba.com/content/files/downloads/2017%20World%20Championship%20TV%20Notes.pdf

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Jesper Svensson, EJ Tackett Keep Youth Movement in Motion with PBA Cheetah, Scorpion Championship Wins

by Bill Vint December 24, 2017 11:54

RENO, Nev. – Two former Professional Bowlers Association Rookies of the Year, Jesper Svensson of Sweden and EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., continued to set a high standard for the PBA’s youth movement with victories in the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Resorts Reno Properties at the National Bowling Stadium.

Svensson, the 22-year-old 2015 PBA Rookie of the Year, defeated Denmark’s Thomas Larsen, 245-194, to win the PBA Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game for his seventh career PBA Tour title while Tackett, the 25-year-old 2013 Rookie of the Year, picked up his ninth title with a 245-207 victory over Australia’s Jason Belmonte in the Pepsi PBA Scorpion Championship presented by GoBowling.com.

The Cheetah and Scorpion Championships were the final two PBA animal pattern championships conducted during the WSOB IX and aired back-to-back Sunday on ESPN as part of the 2017-18 Go Bowling! PBA Tour package.

Svensson, a hard-throwing left-handed two-handed player, struck on eight of his first nine shots, overpowering Larsen despite missing a 7 pin spare attempt in the fourth frame for his only flaw.

“By the end of the first match, I got lined up so I thought if I threw good shots, I’d have a good chance to win,” said Svensson, who finished the preliminary round game with a string of eight strikes. “I screwed up a little when I missed that single pin, but I got right back in it.”

If there was anything unusual about the match, it was an extraordinary level of intensity by the normally sedate, emotionless Swede.

Svensson.Jesper_WS_2017 Cheetah (2)“It was by far the most emotional title I’ve ever won,” Svensson admitted. “Things have happened at home while I was here that…” He stumbled and added, “This title means more to other people than just me. I’m just really, really happy I could finish it off. I had a friend who passed away a week ago and I really believe he was watching me today. This one is for him, 100 percent. There’s nothing I can do but continue doing what I love to do. It makes me appreciate that even more.”

To reach the Cheetah Championship telecast Svensson edged Larsen in the four-player shootout preliminary, 259-256, but both advanced to the title match while Australia’s Sam Cooley (236) and Jason Belmonte (222) were eliminated with the lowest scores.

Tackett.EJ_WS_2017 Scorpion (5)In the second match of the ESPN doubleheader, Tackett made his only WSOB IX television appearance count, striking on five of his first six shots and adding another string of three strikes late in his match against Belmonte, the two-handed Australian star who is the leading challenger to displace Tackett as PBA Player of the Year in 2017. The win was Tackett’s fourth of the year, one ahead of Belmonte, but two of Belmonte’s titles are majors and he’ll have a shot at another one in next Sunday’s PBA World Championship finals.

Tackett not only realized where he stood compared to Belmonte in the competitive ranks, but he knew Belmonte was bowling at less than his physical best after an acute attack of food poisoning the night before.

Belmonte.Jason_2017 Scorpion (7)“I found out Jason wasn’t feeling well, but before the first game, I told him to dig deep…and after the first match, I told him to just keep on going, and he did,” Tackett said. “I told him that we should finish the year on a high note, and we did. It could have gone either way.

“I knew the only chance I had (for Player of the Year) after the first few days here was to make this show and win,” Tackett added. “In my eyes, (Belmonte) wins by a landslide, but if he doesn’t win the (PBA World Championship), I think it’ll be a pretty close vote. It’s out of my hands.”

Belmonte’s 269 topped the preliminary shootout. Tackett was second with a 258 while Brandon Novak of Chillicothe, Ohio (242) and Shawn Maldonado of Houston, Texas (225) were eliminated.

ESPN’s coverage of the Go Bowling! PBA Tour’s WSOB IX package continues on Sunday, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. EST with the PBA World Championship finals that will feature Svensson, Belmonte, and three other PBA Tour titlists – Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C.; Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and rookie Matt Sanders of Evansville, Ind.

PBA CHEETAH CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY PBA BOWLING CHALLENGE MOBILE GAME

National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev., Nov. 18 (finals aired on ESPN on Dec. 24)

Championship: Jesper Svensson, Sweden ($20,000) def. Thomas Larsen, Denmark ($10,000), 245-194.

Shootout Match (top two scorers advance to championship match): Svensson 259; Larsen 256; Sam Cooley, Australia, 236 ($5,000); Jason Belmonte, Australia, 222 ($4,000).

PEPSI PBA SCORPION CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY GOBOWLING.COM

National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev., Nov. 18 (finals aired on ESPN on Dec. 24)

Championship: EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind. ($20,000) def. Jason Belmonte, Australia ($10,000), 245-207.

Shootout Match (top two scorers advance to championship match): Belmonte 269; Tackett 258; Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 242 ($5,000); Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 225 ($4,000).

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PBA Spare Shots: WSOB IX Chronicles Takes an Inside Look at Cheetah, Scorpion Championships

by Bill Vint December 21, 2017 12:33

The new “GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX Chronicles” produced by Xtra Frame’s Jef Goodger for PBA’s YouTube channel continue this week with the debut of PBA Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game (WSOB IX Chronicles Part 7 Qualifying) and (Chronicles Part 8 Match Play), followed by the Pepsi PBA Scorpion Championship presented by GoBowling.com (Chronicles Part 9 Qualifying) on Thursday and (Chronicles Part 10 Match Play) on Friday.

Included in Chronicles Part 9 is coverage of Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts’ 300 game.

The video features, which also are being posted on PBA’s Facebook page and on Xtra Frame, recap each of the PBA’s four animal pattern events plus the PBA World Championship, providing fans with a glimpse of PBA competition they never get to see on national television before the finals air on ESPN.

The first of the videos features (WSOB IX Chronicles Parts 1 and 2- Chameleon Championship presented by Reno Tahoe Qualifying and Match Play) and the PBA Shark Championship presented by Xtra Frame Qualifying and Match Play episodes (Chronicles Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD49-CTTOtE and Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeKPicriIhc) were posted on PBA”s YouTube channel last week. The Chameleon TV finals recap (Part 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W6TembZRsk) and Shark TV finals recap (Part 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I16OtdhF-5Q) were posted earlier this week.
ESPN’s coverage of the Cheetah and Scorpion Championships will air Sunday at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. EST as part of the 2017-18 Go Bowling! PBA Tour series. Post-finals episodes of WSOB IX Chronicles will be posted on YouTube and PBA’s social media outlets next Monday. Next week’s WSOB IX Chronicles will contain episodes for the World Championship.

WSOB SPECTO GFX DemoCHECK PBA’S FACEBOOK PAGE FOR WSOB IX STATISTICAL INSIGHTS FROM SPECTO
Fans also should check PBA’s Facebook page for new statistical insights into the WSOB provided by Kegel’s Specto tracking system. The Specto data explains the line to the pocket each player used, ball speed and rev rates, and more. Here’s a link to a sample of the Specto data: https://www.facebook.com/ProfessionalBowlersAssociation/photos/pcb.10155819569419774/10155819568679774/?type=3&theater.

rich teas copyTO RICHIE TEECE‘S FRIENDS, HE’S OFTEN CALLED “BISCUIT”

The PBA’s newest champion, Richie Teece of London, England, is commonly known as “Biscuit” among his British and international friends.

Biscuit, you say? In England, cookies are better known as “biscuits”…and there’s a popular type of biscuit called “Rich Tea.” So with only a little manipulation, that’s how the PBA Shark champion got his nickname.

CONCRETE SOFTWARE “BEAT THE CHEETAH CHAMPION” CHALLENGE IS COMING

Reminder: the PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game’s “Cheetah Challenge” begins this weekend. The rules are simple: open your PBA Bowling Challenge app and select the "Limited Tournament" button on the landing page. “Bowl” one virtual game and if your game score beats the actual PBA Cheetah Championship winner’s score, you will be automatically entered into a drawing to win 5,000 Gold Pins (in-game currency) and a pin signed by the Cheetah champion. Multiple entries are allowed.

The sweepstakes will begin at 1 a.m. EST on Dec. 24 and end at 12:59 p.m. on Jan. 2.

Here is a link the official rules: http://bit.ly/PBA_OfficialRules.

Speaking of the PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, the third PBA League venue has been added to the game. This week’s addition, available Thursday, is the L.A. X venue.

If you aren’t already a player, the PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game app is a free download at Google Play and Apple App stores. Use these links: Google Play: http://bit.ly/PBABowlingChallengeAnd or Apple App Store: http://bit.ly/PBABowlingChallengeiOS.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR GAME? ENTER PBA’S “GO BOWLING FAN TIP” CONTEST

Would you like expert assistance in solving a problem with your bowling game? Submit a video with your question about how you’d like to improve your bowling game, and you might be one of nine lucky winners to be featured on ESPN’s Go Bowling Fan Tip of the Week where your question will be answered by PBA Hall of Famer and ESPN color analyst Randy Pedersen.

A total of nine winners will have their video featured on ESPN telecasts of PBA Tour events, plus they will win signed memorabilia from the winner of their week’s event. To enter, use this link: https://gobowling.com/fantip?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PBAFanTip-email-1. Note the last day to enter is January 3.

XTRA FRAME HOLIDAY SALE CONTINUES: SAVE $10 ON “XF SEASON TICKET”

For the bowling fan in your family, a great Christmas gift that will keep on giving is a full-year of PBA Xtra Frame access, available until Dec. 31 for the holiday discount price of only $54.99. That’s just over $1 a week for 12 months of live streaming of PBA, PBA50 and PWBA Tour action, access to a great library of past PBA Tour telecasts plus player interviews, bowling instruction, and more.

Visit xtraframe.tv between 8 a.m. EST on Friday and 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 31 and enter “PBAHOLIDAY17” in the promo code box to secure the $10 discount price.

Spiezio.Mickey 1992 file photo 1THREE-TIME PBA50 TOUR TITLIST MICKEY SPIEZIO DIES AT 81

The PBA has learned that three-time PBA50 Tour titlist Mickey Spiezio (1992 file photo at left) of Crest Hill, Ill., died Monday at the age of 81.

Spiezio’s PBA50 wins came in the 1987 Kessler Senior/Touring Pro Doubles (with Rowdy Morrow), 1988 Treasure Coast PBA Senior Open and Hammond PBA Senior Open in 1991.

Spiezio’s most satisfying win came in the Treasure Coast Open when, as the no. 4 qualifier, he had to battle through three matches before finally outlasting John Hricsina, 215-212, in the title match for the win. To get to the title match he beat Teata Semiz in the semifinal, 216-215; Earl Anthony in the second match, 254-209, and Harry Smith in the opening stepladder match in a two frame roll-off after tying with 191.

“I must admit, I didn’t think I could go all the way against those guys,” he said after the victory.

His win in the Hammond Senior Open was nearly as satisfying when he qualified fifth and defeated Doug Johnson, Dick Weber and Bill Gaume before topping top qualifier Robert Gibbs, 233-228, in the title match.

Services will be held for Spiezio on Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Blackburn-Giegerich-Sonntag Funeral Home, 1500 Black Road, in Joliet, Ill. For more information, call 815-744-4444.

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: MINIER, MALDONADO WIN PBA50/PBA DOUBLES IN HOUSTON

Former U.S. Senior Open champion Rick Minier and two-time PBA Southwest Region Player of the Year Shawn Maldonado, both from Houston, teamed up to win the fifth annual PBA50/PBA Houston Emerald Bowl Southwest Doubles, presented by Bowling Dynamix, Sunday.

The winning duo led the eight-game qualifying portion of the event by 67 pins over Mike Bailey and Kurt Gengelbach, both from Carrollton, Texas. After Minier and Maldonado lost three of their first four matches in the eight-game round-robin finals, the amateur team of Ted Pritts of Little Elm, Texas, and Derek Williams, from Groves, Texas, rolled into a 200-pin lead by winning their first six matches. Minier and Maldonado rebounded by winning matches five, six and seven to close to within 32 pins of the leaders going into position round where they defeated Pritts and Williams, 462-420, to claim the $5,000 winners’ check along with Minier’s 13th regional title and Maldonado’s ninth.

● PBA’s Regional tournament program is taking a break over the holidays, returning to action in the PBA Central Region over the Jan. 19-21 weekend with the PBA/PBA50 Don Vay Memorial Central Classic at Legend Lanes in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

● The PBA South Region returns to action in February with the PBA and PBA50 Break Point Alley Challenge events, both open to players who have not won a PBA title. Break Point Alley in Tavares, Fla., will host the doubleheader over the Feb. 9-11 weekend.

● The PBA South Region’s second weekend of competition includes the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota Spartanburg South Open at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., over the Feb. 16-18 weekend.

● For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area…and remember, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba.com (easily accessible for Apple device users using the new PBA app).

QUICK NOTES

Enrique Tishman is the November winner of a $200 HotelPlanner.com certificate, redeemable for future lodging expenses, compliments of PBA’s official travel partner. The monthly sweepstakes is open to anyone who books a hotel through the HotelPlanner.com link on pba.com. Those who book through HotelPlanner.com are automatically entered.

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