PBA Spare Shots: PBA’s Mermaid Lanes Midwest Open Features a Bizarre Ending

by Bill Vint June 14, 2019 10:15

Brady Stearns of Saint Augusta, Minn., won his first PBA Regional title Sunday in Mounds View, Minn., in what might have been the most bizarre ending in PBA Regional tournament history.

Stearns.Brady_2019 Mounds View MN w GM Greg HolemanIn Sunday’s PBA Mermaid Lanes Midwest Open presented by Columbia 300 in Mounds View, Stearns defeated Nick Pate of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., 240-239, to win the title and $2,500 first prize after Pate, needing two pins on his fill ball after converting a 10 pin spare in the 10th frame, saw his final shot drift right into the gutter.

(At left, Brady Stearns with Mermaid Lanes general manager Greg Holeman)

Ironically, Stearns had opened the door for Pate in similar fashion just moments earlier. Working on a string of six strikes including the first two in his 10th frame, Stearns also threw his final shot into the gutter to give Pate an easier chance to win. Had Stearns struck on his fill ball, he would have forced Pate to also strike on his first shot in the 10th for the title, but his gutterball meant Pate only had to spare and get two pins.

Adding to the irony, the Mermaid Lanes Midwest Open was contested on the Del Ballard Jr. lane oiling pattern. The lane conditioning pattern was named in honor of the PBA Hall of Famer who infamously rolled a gutter ball on his final shot to lose the 1991 PBA Fair Lanes Open title to Pete Weber.

“It was the most bizarre finish I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been involved with the PBA since 1976 – 43 years. And I bowled a few years before that,” said veteran PBA East Region Manager Russ Mills, who served as tournament director for the event. “I thought Nick was going to throw it right down the middle, but he didn’t. I don’t think he was aware of the situation, but hopefully he’ll learn from it.”

You can watch the drama unfold on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nNKGdgPOS4&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1SFYH7beVyQv4Luj8CxrrlfPnJqUjHtAOzsMyoTOms754dhuUf1p2CPBE

Prior to the climactic title match, Pate defeated Russ Oviatt of Chandler, Ariz., 279-236, to advance to the championship match after Pate downed Kiho Kyun of Plymouth, Minn., 257-219, in the first stepladder match.

In Saturday’s PBA River City Extreme Midwest Open presented by Hammer in Monticello, Minn., non-PBA member John Kreyer Jr. of Mounds View defeated Stearns, 213-202, to win in Monticello. Kreyer earned $2,500 but doesn’t get credited with a PBA regional title since he is a non-member.

Kreyer defeated Mike Fagan of Las Vegas, 209-179, to advance to the championship match after Kreyer edged Blake Demore of Springfield, Mo., 214-212, in the first stepladder match.

FLOSPORTS ANNOUNCES NEW APPS AVAILABLE FOR INSTANT ACCESS

FloSports, the parent of PBA’s official livestreaming partner FloBowling, has announced the launch of its new app on Amazon Fire TV, and updated-and-improved apps on Roku and Apple TV.

The user experience streamlines the ability to explore live events and content across the entire FloSports network of more than 20 sports. Improvements have been made to navigation, stream switching capabilities, instant auto-play, content automation, and more.

The apps have many new features, highlighted by instant auto-play, which allows users who are watching long-form events to resume watching where they left off, and seamlessly switch between different live event streams, archives, and camera angles. Additionally, users are able to login and return to the sport vertical they last watched.

“We are excited to offer sports fans more ways to live stream their favorite events on the big screen,” FloSports CEO and Co-Founder Mark Floreani said. “With the launch of our new apps, fans now have multiple ways to watch from any device with a streamlined experience.  We have simplified the ability to search for videos and events, get breaking news, and watch event highlights and replays.”

To access live and on-demand coverage of events across the entire FloSports network become a monthly or annual PRO subscriber. Either subscription provides access to content to all of FloSports partners.

Streaming more than 10,000 live competitions per year, FloSports continues to emerge as the global leader in live, in-depth, and on-demand digital coverage for passionate sports fans.

TICKETS, SPECIAL ROOM RATES AVAILABLE FOR PBA TOUR FINALS AT RED ROCK

Tickets to watch the 2019 Barbasol PBA Tour Finals, as well as special room rates at the host Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, are still available. For tickets for the two-day battle in July between the PBA’s elite eight players based upon composite competition points earned during the 2018 and 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour seasons, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/barbasol-pba-tour-finals-presented-by-red-rock-casino-resort-spa-tickets-57610119418.

For room reservations at Red Rock, visit:  https://reservations.redrockresort.com/cgi-bin/lansaweb?PROCFUN+RN+RESNET+RRS+funcparms+UP%28A2560%29:;PBARATE;;;;;;?/ Fans also may call the hotel reservation line (702-797-7625 or 866-767-7773) and use the code PBARATE to reserve within the block. All reservations need to be made prior to the June 26 cutoff date.

The field of eight for the Barbasol PBA Tour Finals will include top qualifier and defending champion Jason Belmonte, 2019 USBC Masters champion Jakob Butturff, Anthony Simonsen, EJ Tackett, Marshall Kent and PBA Tour Finals newcomers Bill O’Neill, 2018 PBA Player of the Year Andrew Anderson and newly-crowned PBA Playoffs champion Kris Prather.

The Barbasol PBA Tour Finals, presented by Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, will take place at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas and will be televised live by CBS Sports Network over a span five shows (two on Saturday, July 20 and three on Sunday, July 21).

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: BRAD ANGELO WINS IN ELKHART, INDIANA

Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y. defeated JR Raymond of Clinton Twp., Mich., 195-167, to win the PBA Elkhart Central Open presented by 900 Global at Country Club Lanes in Elkhart, Ind., Sunday for his third PBA Regional title and a $2,000 first prize.

Angelo topped Greg Young of Viera, Fla., 227-199, while Raymond downed Tristan Butler of Ft. Wayne, Ind., 201-155, in the semifinal round to set up the championship match.

The June 14-16 weekend schedule of PBA Regional activity features the Homefield Bowl Eastern Open presented by MOTIV in Yonkers, N.Y., and the Timmy See Memorial Tavares South Open at Break Point Alley in Tavares, Fla.

PBA Regional tournaments on tap for the June 21-23 weekend include the PBA50 Ned Micelli Memorial presented by Ebonite at Herrill Lanes in New Hyde Park, N.Y.; the Pro Bowl West Central/Midwest Challenge presented by Ebonite for non-title winners in Fort Wayne, Ind.; the PBA50 Sand Hills South Open at Sand Hills Bowling Center in Aberdeen, N.C., and the PBA/PBA50 Epicenter Northwest/West Open doubleheader in Klamath Falls, Ore.

Closing out the June PBA Regional calendar will be the PBA-PBA50 John Kontos Memorial Midwest/Central Doubles Open at Town & Country Lanes in Joliet, Ill., and the Century Lanes Hampton South Open in Hampton, Va.

Heading into the 4th of July weekend, Bowl 10 Fairborn will host the PBA50 Fairborn Central Classic presented by Roto Grip Monday-Wednesday, July 1-3, in Fairborn, Ohio. Closing the extended holiday weekend July 5-7 will be the PBA50 Greater Freeport Midwest/Central Open at 4 Seasons Bowl in Freeport, Ill.; the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Southwest Doubles presented by DV8 at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., and the PBA/PBA50 Vanessa Brown Homes West Open doubleheader presented by Track at Yosemite Lanes in Modesto, Calif.

● 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 and Android device users using the PBA app).

QUICK NOTES

• Last Call: Applications for the 2019 PBA Billy Welu Scholarship Award, recognizing exemplary qualities in male or female college students who excel in academics as well as in the sport of bowling, are being accepted through June 21. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship. To be eligible candidates must be amateur bowlers who are currently in college (preceding the application date) and maintaining at least a 2.5/4.0 GPA or equivalent. The two-part application can be retrieved by downloading the files from this link http://www.pba.com/Corporate/Scholarships.

Reminder: The 10th annual Rhino Page Lace Up to Strike Out Crohn’s and Colitis fundraiser is set for Saturday, June 15, at South Levittown Lanes in Levittown, N.Y. For more information about the event, visit: www.strikeoutcrohns.com.

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2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour Heats Up Again with Start of 10-Event Summer Tour in Lubbock June 28-30

by Bill Vint June 11, 2019 08:15

CHICAGO – After a modest break to catch its collective breath, the 2019 Go Bowling! Professional Bowlers Association Tour returns to action June 28-30 at South Plains Lanes in Lubbock, Texas, with an incentive-packed 10-event PBA Summer Tour that will be livestreamed in its entirety by PBA’s online streaming partner, FloBowling.

From late June through August, with a finale in September, the Go Bowling! PBA Summer Tour will visit Lubbock; Houston, Texas; Chesapeake, Virginia; Wilmington, North Carolina; Middletown, Delaware; Coldwater, Ohio, and Aurora, Illinois before wrapping up in Austin, Texas.

During the summer series, EJ Tackett and Anthony Simonsen will both have opportunities to defend two titles won in 2018. Tackett and partner Liz Johnson won the Storm PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles event in Houston, and Tackett also won the PBA Bear Open in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Simonsen will defend titles in Middletown, where he won the Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic, and in the PBA Wolf Open, a part of the 2019 PBA Summer Swing that will move from Tulsa to Aurora in August.

The 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Summer Tour will have its own points list, with enticing and historic bonus incentives involving three inaugural competitions serving as top story lines throughout the Tour:

The inaugural USBC Cup will reward the top five players in PBA Summer Tour points with bonus cash prizes, including $20,000 to the points leader;

•  The inaugural FloBowling PBA ATX Invite will award berths into a special event for the top eight PBA Summer Tour points leaders at Dart Bowl in the hometown of FloSports, Austin, Texas, on Sept. 21. First prize in the FloBowling Invite will be $25,000 and all participants in the event will cash;

The inaugural PBA China Tiger Cup will award the top eight PBA Summer Tour points leaders with expenses-paid trips to Shanghai, Nov. 19-21, for a 16-player singles event including eight Chinese bowlers, and a separate USA vs. China team match. All players will cash in the PBA Tiger Cup singles event which offers a $20,000 first prize, and in the team event the winning five-player team will divide $15,000.

The PBA Summer Tour events will be open to non-PBA members as well as members, but non-members will not be eligible for any of the special events or bonus prizes.

Points earned during the PBA Summer Tour will also count toward 2020 DHC PBA Japan Invitational and 2020 PBA Tour Finals eligibility, as well as figuring into consideration for the end-of-season Player and Rookie of the Year awards.

For PBA Tour rookies, the Summer Tour also means a resumption of the 2019 Bowl4life PBA Rookie Watch points competition, which will strongly influence Rookie of the Year voting at year’s end. USBC Masters runner-up Mykel Holliman of Collierville, Tenn., is the competition points leader among rookies followed by Kenneth Ryan of Farmingdale, N.J., and Patrick Hanrahan of Wichita, Kan. The 2019 PBA Rookie of the Year will receive a $2,500 bonus from Chuck Gardner’s Bowl4Life Foundation and the foundation will donate an additional $2,500 to a youth bowler scholarship in the ROY’s name.

All Summer Tour tournaments except the Aurora Open and the end-of-season FloBowling PBA ATX Invite will be Tier 3 events under the PBA’s Tier 1-2-3 points system. The Aurora Open will be a Tier 2 event. The PBA ATX Invite will be a non-points, non-title special event.

PBA SUMMER TOUR SCHEDULE (USBC Cup points series)

June 28-30 - PBA Lubbock Sports Shootout (Tier 3 event), South Plains Lanes, Lubbock, Texas (new event).

July 25-28 - Storm PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles (Tier 3 event), Copperfield Bowl, Houston, Texas (defending champions EJ Tackett/Liz Johnson).

Aug. 9-11 - PBA Harry O’Neale Chesapeake Open (Tier 3 event), AMF Western Branch, Chesapeake, Va. (defending champion from 2017, Dick Allen).

Aug. 12-14 - PBA Wilmington Open (Tier 3 event), Ten Pin Alley Family Fun Center, Wilmington, N.C. (defending champion Cristian Azcona).

Aug. 16-18 – PBA Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic (Tier 3 event), Mid-County Bowling & Entertainment Center, Middletown, Del. (defending champion Anthony Simonsen).

Aug. 21-23 - PBA Bowlerstore Classic presented by Moxy’s Xtra Pair (Tier 3 event), Pla-Mor Lanes, Coldwater, Ohio (defending champion Jakob Butturff).

Aug. 24-31 - FloBowling PBA Summer Swing (PBA Wolf, Bear and Aurora Open), Parkside Lanes, Aurora, Ill. (PBA Wolf Open, a Tier 3 event, defending champion Anthony Simonsen; PBA Bear Open, a Tier 3 event, defending champion EJ Tackett; PBA Aurora Open, a Tier 2 event, defending Tulsa Open champion Stuart Williams).

Sept. 21 - FloBowling PBA Summer Tour Finals: FloBowling PBA ATX Invite, Dart Bowl, Austin, Texas (new event).

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PBA Playoffs Finale Caps Strong Viewership Surges on FOX Sports

by Bill Vint June 6, 2019 12:51

LOS ANGELES – FOX Sports today announced that viewership of this year’s Professional Bowlers Association competition has surged through the first five months of 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour telecasts. To date, 20,923,000 viewers have tuned-in to watch PBA on FOX, FS1, or FS2, including repeats, up 85 percent over the total audience for the entire 2018 season (11,327,000 viewers).

“The PBA's move to FOX Sports has revitalized the entire sport,” PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark said. “In this first year of our partnership, we've already seen dramatically improved production values, promotion and buzz putting the PBA in its best position in decades. We're most proud that our players have delivered historic and inspiring action on the lanes and our fans have brought the passion in sold out venues around the country to match.”

“We’re thrilled with the viewership the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour has delivered this year on FOX Sports,” says Bill Wanger, FOX Sports EVP, Programming, Live Operations and Research. “The shows have been exciting, the bowlers are captivating and colorful, and crowds enthusiastic. The PBA is quickly becoming must-watch sports television.”

On Sunday, the inaugural PBA Playoffs finals on FOX delivered 662,000 viewers as Kris Prather captured the championship to claim $100,000, the biggest first-place prize in more than eight years. Sunday's delivery was 20 percent better than first-run PBA telecasts averaged on TV in 2018 (553,000 viewers) and ranks as the most-watched PBA telecast since FOX's February 10, 2019 airing of the PBA Tournament of Champions that delivered 1,132,000 viewers.

A total of 7,941,000 viewers watched the series of PBA Playoffs telecasts across FOX, FS1 and FS2 including repeats.

Earlier in the season, FOX had the most-watched bowling telecast of any kind on any network since 2005, with the PBA Clash averaging 1.8 million viewers.

FOX Sports coverage of the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour resumes Tuesday, July 16 at 7 p.m. ET on FS1 with the first of three consecutive nights of live coverage of the PBA League Elias Cup finals from Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.

For more information, visit FOX Sports Press Pass.

About FOX Sports

FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing Fox Corporation’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, the business has ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing relationships. FOX Sports includes the sports arm of the FOX Network as well as FS1, FS2, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes. FOX Sports’ digital properties include FOXSports.com and the FOX Sports App, which provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content, instant scores, stats and alerts to iOS and Android devices. Additionally, FOX Sports and social broadcasting platform, Caffeine, jointly own Caffeine Studios which creates exclusive eSports, sports and live entertainment content. Also included in FOX Sports’ portfolio are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing

For additional information, contact:

Bill Vint, Professional Bowlers Association: (414) 339-0404

John Stouffer, FOX Sports: john.stouffer@fox.com; (310) 369-2606

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PBA Spare Shots: PBA Playoffs Champ Kris Prather Climbs to No. 3 on FloBowling’s PBA “Power Rankings”

by Bill Vint June 6, 2019 12:46

With his surprising victory in the inaugural PBA Playoffs, previously-under estimated Kris Prather got some respect from the unofficial pollsters who compile the FloBowling “power ranking” list, moving up from seventh to third on the most current list.

Prather, who defeated Bill O’Neill in the “race to two points” championship match, won $100,000 by outlasting a field of 23 of the world’s premier players in 2019. Heading into the start of the summer season June 29 in Lubbock, Texas, FloBowling’s top 10 are as follows with the player’s previous ranking in parenthesis. To review the rationale behind FloBowling’s ratings of players, visit FloBowling.com:

1, Jason Belmonte (previous ranking: 1);
2, Jakob Butturff (2);
3, Kris Prather (7);
4, EJ Tackett (3);
5, Bill O’Neill (6);
6, Dom Barrett (4);
7, Kyle Sherman (5);
8, Anthony Simonsen (8);
9, Sean Rash (14);
10, Rhino Page (10).

PBA ADDS $10,500 TO SUNCOAST PBA SENIOR U.S. OPEN PRIZE FUND

With the addition of $10,500 to the prize fund for the Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open prize fund, first place in the 2019 season’s final major championship for players ages 50 and older has been increased to $15,000 and prize money for the other top five finishers also has been increased.

The Senior U.S. Open, presented by Storm, is open to non-members as well as PBA50 members. The PBA50 Tour’s most challenging tournament begins Monday, June 10, and concludes on Friday, June 14, at Suncoast Bowling Center in Las Vegas with FloBowling’s livestreaming coverage of the stepladder finals at 7:15 p.m. EDT (4:15 Pacific). PBA Hall of Famer Mika Koivuniemi is defending champion.

For FloBowling subscription information, visit flobowling.com.

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: REGIONAL ACTIVITY RESUMES THIS WEEKEND

PBA’s Regional program moves into the summer with a trio of tournaments over the June 8-9 weekend including the Elkhart Central/Midwest Open presented by 900 Global at Country Club Lanes in Elkhart, Ind., and a pair of one-day events in Minnesota: the River City Extreme Midwest Open presented by Hammer on June 8 in Monticello followed by the Mermaid Lanes Midwest Open presented by Columbia 300 in Moundsview on Sunday.

The June 14-16 weekend schedule of PBA Regional activity features the Homefield Bowl Eastern Open presented by MOTIV in Yonkers, N.Y., and the Timmy See Memorial Tavares South Open at Break Point Alley in Tavares, Fla.

PBA Regional tournaments on tap for the June 21-23 weekend include the PBA50 Ned Micelli Memorial presented by Ebonite at Herrill Lanes in New Hyde Park, N.Y.; the Pro Bowl West Central/Midwest Challenge presented by Ebonite for non-title winners in Fort Wayne, Ind.; the PBA50 Sand Hills South Open at Sand Hills Bowling Center in Aberdeen, N.C., and the PBA/PBA50 Epicenter Northwest/West Open doubleheader in Klamath Falls, Ore.

Closing out the June PBA Regional calendar will be the PBA-PBA50 John Kontos Memorial Midwest/Central Doubles Open at Town & Country Lanes in Joliet, Ill., and the Century Lanes Hampton South Open in Hampton, Va.

Heading into the 4th of July weekend, Bowl 10 Fairborn will host the PBA50 Fairborn Central Classic presented by Roto Grip Monday-Wednesday, July 1-3, in Fairborn, Ohio. Closing the extended holiday weekend July 5-7 will be the PBA50 Greater Freeport Midwest/Central Open at 4 Seasons Bowl in Freeport, Ill.; the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Southwest Doubles presented by DV8 at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., and the PBA/PBA50 Vanessa Brown Homes West Open doubleheader presented by Track at Yosemite Lanes in Modesto, Calif.

● 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 and Android device users using the PBA app).

QUICK NOTES

• Reminder: Fans have until 1 a.m. EDT on June 10 to enter the special PBA Playoffs tournament on Concrete Software’s PBA Bowling Challenge mobile device players. Each score you bowl that beats the 216 posted by Kris Prather in winning the PBA Playoffs will count as an entry. One entry will be randomly selected as the winner and will receive a bowling pin signed by the PBA Playoffs champion plus 6,000 Gold Pins. To play PBA Bowling Challenge, visit: http://bit.ly/Download-PBA. For the official rules, visit: http://bit.ly/PBA_OfficialRules.

The Weber Cup, in cooperation with Storm, has launched a ‘Weber Cup Golden Ticket’ competition on its Facebook page, offering fans the chance to win an expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas for the Weber Cup June 18-21, including round-trip airfare, accommodation, event tickets, merchandise and a meet & greet with players. To enter, visit Weber Cup on Facebook and post the name of the team (USA or Europe) that you think will win this year's Weber Cup. Entries close 11 a.m. ET on Friday, June 7.

The two most recent PBA Playoffs In Brief episodes covering last weekend’s semifinal and finals telecasts are now available at the following links: https://youtu.be/BrSS8jeKOhI and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6BeyaRjF-I

Reminder: Applications for the 2019 PBA Billy Welu Scholarship Award, recognizing exemplary qualities in male or female college students who excel in academics as well as in the sport of bowling, are being accepted through June 21. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship. To be eligible candidates must be amateur bowlers who are currently in college (preceding the application date) and maintaining at least a 2.5/4.0 GPA or equivalent. The two-part application can be retrieved by downloading the files from this link http://www.pba.com/Corporate/Scholarships.

Reminder: The 10th annual Rhino Page Lace Up to Strike Out Crohn’s and Colitis fundraiser is set for Saturday, June 15, at South Levittown Lanes in Levittown, N.Y. Since its inception, the Tyler Cacioppo family event has raised more than $300,000 to fight the debilitating gastrointestinal diseases. For more information about the event, visit: www.strikeoutcrohns.com.

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Kris Prather Wins Inaugural PBA Playoffs Championship, $100,000 First Prize

by Bill Vint June 2, 2019 12:07

PORTLAND, Maine – Kris Prather of Plainfield, Illinois, made critical shot after critical shot in defeating Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, 226-215 and 216-185, to win the inaugural Professional Bowlers Association Playoffs Championship and its $100,000 first prize Sunday at Bayside Bowl.

The championship match aired live on FOX, concluding a 13-tournament qualifying series leading into a 24-player match play elimination competition. A calm and confident Prather, who entered the Playoffs as the No. 9 seed, was in complete control in claiming the championship.

“It was a lot easier thinking that no matter what happened, I was going to help my family financially,” Prather said after the biggest win of his career. “I told myself last night I couldn’t be disappointed no matter what. But after watching Bill’s ball motion not being that great, and me throwing a few good shots that loosened my arm swing really helped.

“When I came out on tour, I didn’t treat it as a job and it showed,” he added. “I hope people can see how much I’ve matured over the past five years, and it’s really having an impact on the success I’m having.”

Prather, a 27-year-old five-year PBA Tour veteran, used a string of four strikes to build a lead over the struggling O’Neill in the first game but had to convert a 3-4-6-7-10 split in the 10th frame to win the first in the “race to two points” match.

“I threw the ball about as bad as I could in that situation, and it showed,” Prather said. “On the spare I told myself I make that split all the time, so I just wanted to hit the pin in front and if I made it, it was meant to be.”

O’Neill, who didn’t throw back-to-back strikes until the sixth and seventh frames, had a chance to win by a pin with three strikes in his 10th frame but left the 2-8 on his second shot.

“I was unsure of what I was doing,” O’Neill admitted. “In hindsight I should have played the lanes a lot straighter. It was more a tactical error on my part. That second shot in the 10th frame I thought was pretty good, but that’s what happens when you’re not playing the lanes properly.”

Prather, who won his only PBA Tour title earlier in the season in the PBA Scorpion Championship during the PBA World Series of Bowling X, retained control in game two with a string of three strikes after O’Neill failed to convert the 4-9 split in the first frame and again struggled to put together consecutive strikes. When O’Neill finally put together a double, he left the 3-6-9-10 in the eighth frame and failed to convert, basically sealing the victory for Prather.

“This was the first time, in the whole playoffs, I had the lead early. In every other match, except one, I had to come from behind,” Prather said, noting he was surprised by how well the Bayside Bowl fans embraced him considering he’d never bowled in Maine before this year. “These fans are incredible. I never thought I’d be accepted into a place I’m not from, like I have been in Portland. You hear about how enthusiastic these fans are, but you don’t really know until you experience this place.”

The 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour will resume competition June 28-30 when the Lubbock Sports Shootout presented by Ebonite at South Plains Lanes in Lubbock, Texas, kicks off the PBA Summer Tour and USBC Cup points competition. The PBA Summer Tour will be livestreamed in its entirety by the PBA’s online streaming partner, FloBowling.

PBA PLAYOFFS CHAMPIONSHIP

(A Go Bowling! PBA Tour event)

Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine, Sunday

Championship (Race to 2 Points format)

Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill. ($100,000) def. Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa. ($40,000), 226-215, 216-185.

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