PBA Spare Shots: “Pick the Ball” Survey Returns to PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game

by Bill Vint March 23, 2017 03:01

Concrete Software is renewing its PBA Bowling Challenge “pick the ball” survey, inviting fans to select the new Product Registered ball model they would like to see introduced into the popular mobile device game.

Beginning today (March 23), the PBA Bowling Challenge mobile game will list three new ball models for each PBA-participating brand, and ask fans to vote on which ball to include in the game. Weekly voting will feature a different brand and choice of ball models through the first week in June.

First up will be MOTIV. Based on fan voting (click here: http://bit.ly/MOTIV_17 to cast your vote), the “winning” MOTIV ball will be available for play on April 7. A code to purchase the ball for 50% off (the code will be available on PBA’s and the specific companies’ social media pages) will be posted.

Each company also will have a flashback weekend where all its previous balls will be available for that weekend only.

As the season progresses, voting will take place each week to select the new ball for release as noted below:

● Track: March 30 (voting begins); April 14 (ball release date).

● Storm: April 6; April 21.

● Brunswick: April 13; April 28.

● Columbia 300: April 20; May 5.

● Radical: April 27; May 12.

● DV8: May 4; May 19.

● Ebonite: May 11; May 26.

● Roto Grip: May 18; June 2.

● 900 Global: May 25; June 9.

● Hammer: June 1; June 16.

JOSH BLANCHARD TAKES EARLY LEAD IN XTRA FRAME STORM CUP RACE

PBA Xtra Frame Reality Check Classic winner Josh Blanchard has assumed the early lead in the 2017 PBA Xtra Frame Storm Cup points race, earning 25 points for his victory in the first of eight Storm Cup events this season. Rounding out the top 10 after the first event are Reality Check Classic runner-up AJ Johnson, 19 points; Dom Barrett, 18; Shawn Maldonado, 17; Dick Allen, 16; Ildemaro Ruiz, 15; Tom Daugherty, 14; Chris Spoo, 13; Walter Ray Williams Jr., 12, and Jeff Piroozshad, 11.

In each Storm Cup event, PBA members who finish in the top 20 will earn points with 25 points going to the winner, 19 to the runner-up, 18 for third place and points diminishing by one through 20th place. A complete summary of the points leaders will be posted on pba.com (http://www.pba.com/SeasonStats/XtraFrameTourPoints/95#stats-list) after each tournament.

The next tournament in the series will be the PBA XF Wilmington Open at Ten Pin Alley in Wilmington, N.C., May 26-29.

QUBICA AMF PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: MATT O’GRADY WINS IN OHIO

Fresh off his win in the PBA Lakewood (Colo.) Southwest Super Regional two weeks earlier, Matt O’Grady of Rahway, N.J., defeated Joe Bailey of Wooster, Ohio, 237-148, to claim the PBA Trumbull County Tourism Bureau Central/East Open title presented by Radical at Bell-Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio, Sunday.

The title was O’Grady’s first of the year in the PBA Central Region and the fourth of his career. He also earned $2,700.

Alex Cavagnaro of Massapequa, N.Y., led off the stepladder finals by eliminating Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., 234-182. O’Grady then defeated Cavagnaro, 233-217, and he advanced to the championship match by defeating Mike Clark of Cleveland, 242-158.

Anthony Lavery-Spahr from Pasadena, Texas, defeated Derek Acuff of Glendale, Ariz., 234-199, to claim his fourth QubicaAMF PBA Regional title Sunday in the sixth annual PBA Odessa Southwest Open at Astro Bowl in Odessa, Texas.

Lavery-Spahr, last year’s runner-up, started the championship match with a spare and two strikes while Acuff struggled after two opens in the first three frames. Lavery-Spahr received byes to the Round of 8 after qualifying fourth and started his road to victory by defeating defending champion Clara Guerrero, a Colombia native now living in Pflugerville, Texas, 2-1, in their best-of-three-game match. In the semifinal round, he survived with a 173-164 victory over Jeff Hatt of Midwest City, Okla.

Acuff, who qualified second, defeated Joe Findling from Mesquite, Texas, 2-0, in the Round of 8, and prevented a title match between twin brothers by eliminating Sean Lavery-Spahr in the semifinal round, 200-178.

● QubicaAMF PBA Regional events over the March 24-26 weekend include the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Eastern Open in Elmira, N.Y.; the PBA50 Liberty Lanes Midwest/Central Open in Carpentersville, Ill.; the CCFA Strike Out Crohn’s and Colitis South Open, presented by Rhino Page, at Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando, Fla., and the Caveman Bowl Northwest/West Open presented by DV8 in Grants Pass, Ore.

● Closing out March and kicking off April’s PBA Regional calendar over the March 31-April 2 weekend will be the PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open in Virden, Ill.; the Myrtle Beach South Open at Myrtle Beach Bowl in South Carolina; the FireLake Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Southwest Open at FireLake Bowl in Shawnee, Okla., and a PBA West/Northwest tripleheader at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno – the PBA50 and PBA Sands Regency West/Northwest Classic events plus the Sands Regency West/Northwest Challenge (for non-titlists), presented by DV8. The weekend also will include a Sunday-only reduced entry fee Elkhart Central/Midwest Open presented by 900 Global at Country Club Lanes in Elkhart, Ind.

● 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.

QUICK NOTES

● To follow the Brunswick Euro Challenge in Munich, Germany, this week, visit http://brunswickeurochallenge.com/live-streaming/ for live streaming coverage. Fans also can visit the website for daily updates as the event progresses. The first event on the 2017 PBA International-World Bowling Tour schedule concludes Sunday. Sweden’s Jesper Svensson is defending champion.

● PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber and PBA Women’s Series titlist Diandra Asbaty can be seen in cameo roles in the 2016 movie, “Split,” which is now available at no cost to Amazon Prime members. The movie billed as “The World’s First Romantic Bowling Comedy,” is available for rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, VUDU, Xbox and PlayStation. Click here to watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zekgYUGOjXc .

● USBC Hall of Famer and two-time PBA Tour champion Les Zikes of Palatine, Ill., became the 11th player in history to participate in 65 USBC Open Championships when the 82-year-old bowled his team event on Monday, March 20, at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas. With his 546 series in team event, 562 in doubles and 570 in singles, Zikes added 1,678 pins to his career total of 112,564 pins knocked down in USBC Open competition (seventh on the all-time list).

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PBA Spare Shots: PBA Bowling Challenge Continues to Rank Among World’s Most Popular Mobile Games

by Bill Vint March 2, 2017 07:39

Concrete Software’s PBA Bowling Challenge Game continues to rank as one of the world’s most popular games among mobile device users. Current statistics pertaining to PBA Bowling Challenge show:

● The game has been downloaded 18,265,778 times;

● There are more than 100,000 active daily players;

● The total number of balls rolled in the game is now over 14.6 billion (with a “b”…);

● Players now have the option of 13 bonus venues like Zero-G, Jurassic Classic, and Route 66.

ENTRIES OPEN FOR PBA MEMBERS FOR PBA50 TOUR EVENTS

Entries are now open for PBA members for PBA50 Tour events as players get ready for the start of the 2017 season April 15-17 and 17-20 with the PBA60 Killer ‘B’ Open (for players 60 and older) followed by the PBA50 Pasco County Florida Open, both at Lane Glo Bowl in New Port Richey, Fla. Entries will be available to non-members 30 days prior to the start of each PBA50 event, if space is available.

Bowlers can enter online (click here to select the event: http://www.pba.com/Tournaments/Season/106) or by contacting Mary von Krueger at maryvk@pba.com (fax: 850-564-1717).

Following the season openers in New Port Richey, the PBA50 Tour heads to Spanish Springs Lanes in The Villages for the PBA50 UnitedHealthcare Sun Bowl In The Villages, presented by Radical, April 22-25; to Mooresville, N.C., for the PBA50 Miller High Life Classic presented by Columbia 300 at George Pappas’ Victory Lanes, April 30-May 3, and to Farmingdale, N.Y., for the PBA50 Johnny Petraglia BVL Open presented by Brunswick at Farmingdale Lanes, May 6-9.

PBA’s “senior players” then travel to Indianapolis for the season’s first major, the PBA50 Tour Players Championship, May 13-16, at Woodland Bowl.

For a complete PBA50 Tour schedule, visit pba.com and click on the schedules’ tab. All PBA50 Tour events will be covered live, from start to finish, on Xtra Frame, PBA’s exclusive live streaming service. For subscription information and a detailed schedule of air times, visit xtraframe.tv. Xtra Frame subscriptions are available for $3.99 (three days), $7.99 (a full month) or the full year Xtra Frame Season Ticket (at about $5 a month).

PBA TOUR PLAYERS RETURN TO ACTION IN FIRST XTRA FRAME STORM CUP EVENT

After a brief respite following PBA’s intense “Big February” schedule, Tour players will return to action in the first in a series of PBA Xtra Frame Storm Cup events March 17-19 when Sawgrass Lanes in Tamarac, Fla., hosts the Xtra Frame Reality Check Classic.

Originally scheduled for early October 2016, the XF Reality Check Classic was forced to postpone due to the arrival of Hurricane Matthew. The re-scheduled event will feature a minimum $10,000 first prize and will award the first points in the new XF Storm Cup series that will pay a $20,000 first prize at the conclusion of the 2017 series plus additional cash prizes of $10,000 for second place, $8,000 for third, $7,000 for fourth and $5,000 for fifth place.

In each of the eight XF Storm Cup events, points will be awarded to the top 20 players with the winner earning 25 points, second place 19, third place 18, etc., with points declining by one through 20th place.

Each of the Storm Cup events also will be covered live from start to finish, exclusively by PBA’s Xtra Frame live streaming service. For subscription information, visit xtraframe.tv.

Immediately following the XF Reality Check Classic, PBA players will have their first shot at a 2017 PBA International-World Bowling Tour title in the Brunswick Euro Challenge at Dream-Bowl Palace in Munich, Germany. Qualifying gets underway March 18 and the tournament ends on Sunday, March 26. First prize will be roughly $12,000. A PBA Tour title will be awarded if the winner is a PBA member who doesn’t accept handicap pins.

2017 U.S. OPEN TO FEATURE LIMITED FIELD, MODIFIED FORMAT

The United States Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America, joint sponsors of the U.S. Open, have announced several changes for the 2017 event that will be held Oct. 25-Nov. 1 at 40-lane Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool, N.Y.

The U.S. Open, the fourth major championship on the PBA Tour’s 2017 schedule, will feature:

● 24 qualifying games, including eight-game rounds on “fresh, burn” and “double-burn” lane conditions;

● A limited field of 144 bowlers, including PBA earnings leaders and others who will be invited based on 2016 performances in international, collegiate and Junior Gold events, among others. For the list of invited players, click here: http://usbcongress.http.internapcdn.net/usbcongress/bowl/tournaments/pdfs/usopen/2017/2017USOpenInvitees.pdf

● To fill vacancies, a pre-tournament qualifying event will be held at Flamingo Bowl prior to the event;

● Invited players will have until June 1 to accept invitations, after which invitations will be extended to the next player on the eligibility list. Any vacancies will be added to the pre-event qualifier;

● A projected $175,000 prize fund with $30,000 to the winner.

"Returning to a select field where an athlete has to qualify brings a higher level of prestige to the event, and the potential to use smaller centers means we can take this great tournament to more places," USBC Director Chad Murphy said. "Additional changes, featuring a limit to the total number of lanes being used and the introduction of separate practice pairs, will further reduce outside factors from influencing the event, which should also be a good thing."

QUBICA AMF PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: REGIONALS RETURN TO ACTION IN MARCH

March may be known for “madness” of another kind, but in PBA competition, it also means a return to a full schedule of QubicaAMF PBA Regional competition, getting underway over the March 3-5 weekend with the PBA50 Strike Zone Lanes Central Classic presented by Brunswick, in Canton, Ohio, and the Lakewood Southwest Super Regional, presented by Denver Broncos’ running back CJ Anderson and Storm Products, at Holiday Lanes in Lakewood, Colo.

● QubicaAMF PBA Regional activity over the March 10-12 weekend includes the PBA50 Fayetteville South Open at Lafayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C.; the Colorado Springs Southwest Super Regional, presented by Budweiser, at Harmony Bowl in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort Championship at Gold Country Lanes in Sutter, Creek, Calif.

● The March 17-19 calendar of QubicaAMF PBA Regional action includes the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau Central/East Open, presented by Radical, at Bell-Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio; the Odessa Southwest Open at Astro Bowl in Odessa, Texas, and a PBA West/Northwest tripleheader at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno – the PBA50 and PBA Sands Regency West/Northwest Classic events plus the Sands Regency West/Northwest Challenge (for non-titlists), presented by DV8.

● The schedule of QubicaAMF PBA Regional events over the March 24-26 weekend will feature the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Eastern Open in Elmira, N.Y.; the PBA50 Liberty Lanes Midwest/Central Open in Carpentersville, Ill.; the CCFA Strike Out Crohn’s and Colitis South Open, presented by Rhino Page, at Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando, Fla., and the Caveman Bowl Northwest/West Open presented by DV8 in Grants Pass, Ore.

● Closing out March and kicking off April’s QubicaAMF PBA Regional calendar over the March 31-April 2 weekend will be the PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open in Virden, Ill.; the Myrtle Beach South Open at Myrtle Beach Bowl in South Carolina, and the FireLake Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Southwest Open at FireLake Bowl in Shawnee, Okla. The weekend also will include a Sunday-only reduced entry fee Elkhart Central/Midwest Open presented by 900 Global at Country Club Lanes in Elkhart, Ind.

● For complete QubicaAMF PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on QubicaAMF Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area. For more information about QubicaAMF, visit www.qubicaamf.com or, for social media posts, visit http://bit.ly/QAMFSponsorship1.

QUICK NOTES

● Robert Fancher of Springville, N.Y., has won a new high-performance MOTIV ball; Tony Badger of Furlong, Pa., wins a new DV8 ball and Kelvin Peters of Byram, Miss., will receive a new high-performance Brunswick ball as February sweepstakes prizes for subscribing to Xtra Frame. The monthly sweepstakes is sponsored by the respective PBA Product Registered partners. Monthly winners are selected from among new Xtra Frame subscribers, who are automatically entered when they enroll as a monthly or Xtra Frame Season Ticket (full year) subscriber.

● Brett Krimminger of Kannapolis, N.C., is the February 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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PBA Spare Shots: PBA’s ESPN Telecasts Continue to Post Impressive Viewership Gains

by Bill Vint February 23, 2017 08:16

With the final championship events of “Big February” scheduled to air live Sunday, the PBA on ESPN continues to have strong viewership gains year-over-year. Through the first 10 telecasts of the 2016-17 ESPN season including the WSOB, viewership is up 13%, averaging 650,000.

BelmoBig February’s four shows so far include the Main Event Terrell Owens PBA Super Clash (averaging 712,000 viewers), the Barbasol PBA Players Championship (averaging 664,000 viewers), the State Farm CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational (averaging 834,000 viewers) and FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions (averaging 704,000 viewers). Each of the shows has been among the highest rated sports program on cable on its respective air date.

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Of note, the State Farm CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational had a strong rating among coveted 18-49 year-olds, with 482,000 of the 834,000 average number of viewers in that category (58 percent).

Tackett.EJ_2017 TOC (42)Big February concludes Sunday with another TV first for the PBA on ESPN: back-to-back live telecasts. First the USBC Masters title will be decided with a stepladder final at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST), followed by the Men’s and Women’s World Bowling Tour Finals at 3 p.m. EST (noon PST), both live from The Orleans in Las Vegas.

In addition to ESPN’s live coverage, the Masters and WBT Finals will be live streamed on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

WORLD BOWLING TOUR FINALS TO FEATURE EXPERIMENTAL SCORING SYSTEM

The 2016 World Bowling Tour season officially concludes Sunday when the PBA presents the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals, live on ESPN at 3 p.m. EST from The Orleans Bowling Center in Las Vegas.

Sunday’s WBT finals will include men’s top qualifier Martin Larsen of Sweden, Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash. The women’s finalists will be defending champion Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y.; Colombia’s Anggie Ramirez, and Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y. Players in both divisions will compete for $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 prizes.

Competition will again be conducted using the experimental “World Bowling scoring system” introduced last year whereby players will bowl 10 frames with a strike counting as 30 points, a spare counting for 10 points plus the number of pins converted (example: a 10 pin spare will be worth 10 plus 9 = 19), and an open frame will count as the actual pinfall (example: if a player leaves the 4-6-7-10 split and converts the 4-7, the score for the frame will be 8).

The maximum score under the World Bowling system is still 300 – based on 10 consecutive strikes - and there is no extra shot or bonus pins in the 10th frame. In last year’s final, England’s Dom Barrett shot the first “World Bowling 300 game” in winning the men’s title over American qualifier Mike Fagan, 300-256.

XTRA FRAME CONTINUES “BIG FEBRUARY” COVERAGE AT THE MASTERS

Xtra Frame’s “Big February” coverage continues with qualifying and double-elimination match play coverage of the USBC Masters today through Saturday from The Orleans Bowling Center in Las Vegas. The Masters finals, followed by the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by the PBA will air live, back-to-back, on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 26, beginning at 1 p.m. EST.

Xtra Frame subscriptions are available for $3.99 (three days), $7.99 (a full month) or the full year Xtra Frame Season Ticket (at about $5 a month). Visit xtraframe.tv to enroll.

QUBICA AMF PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: BARNES WINS 27TH REGIONAL TITLE IN SHAWNEE

PBA Southwest Region Hall of Famer and 18-time PBA Tour champion Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, defeated Greg Ostrander of Freehold, N.J., 243-200, to win his 27th QubicaAMF PBA Regional title and the $2,500 first prize in the second annual PBA FireLake Grand Casino Resort Southwest Winter Open at FireLake Bowling Center preceding the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions.

Barnes, one of several PBA Tour champions who used the event as a warmup for the TOC, qualified in sixth place for the best-of-two-game match play elimination rounds in the regional event, and he began his march to the title with a 2-0 victory over PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Fla. He then disposed of BJ Moore III of Greensburg, Pa., 2-0 in the Round of 8 and won his semifinal round match against defending champion Anthony Pepe of Elmhurst, N.Y., 213-210.

Greg McMahan of Dandridge, Tenn., defeated Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio, 213-205, 216-212, in the best-of-three-game title match to win his fourth QubicaAMF PBA Regional title in the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota Spartanburg Southern Open presented by Global 900 at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., Sunday.

McMahan, who was in control throughout both games of the title match, won the $2,400 first prize while Kretzer pocketed $1,400 as the runner-up. In the best-of-three semifinal round, McMahan swept Dave Sill of Titusville, Fla., 237-212, 208-203, while Kretzer rallied to eliminate Dale Csuhta of Wadsworth, Ohio, 208-205, 199-181.

● For complete QubicaAMF PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information heading into the new year, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on QubicaAMF Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area. For more information about QubicaAMF, visit www.qubicaamf.com or, for social media posts, visit http://bit.ly/QAMFSponsorship1.

QUICK NOTES

● PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber has learned he’ll be inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in September, along with standout St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter. Additional details will be announced later.

● Just in time for the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship in Portland, Maine, the PBA Store (pba.com/store) is offering a new line of Mark Roth signature t-shirts and polos. The Roth/Holman doubles event will include a pro-am and qualifying rounds April 9-12, concluding with live ESPN stepladder finals on Sunday, April 16, at 1 p.m. ET.

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PBA Spare Shots: 50th Anniversary of Jack Biondolillo’s Historic Televised 300 Game Approaches

by Bill Vint February 11, 2017 05:38

On April 1, 1967, the PBA’s post-tournament news release reported, “Jack Biondolillo socked the biggest 300 in the history of the game. His came before the American Broadcasting Company's national colored television cameras for which he collected a cool ten thou ($10,000)…”

The first nationally-televised 300 game in PBA history – witnessed by a television audience of 25 million viewers according to PBA’s release – occurred during the Firestone PBA Tournament of Champions at Riviera Lanes in Akron, Ohio, during a first-game 300-216 win over Les Schissler. Biondolillo then defeated Mike Durbin, 188-181, before losing in the semifinal match to Don Johnson, 228-172. Jim Stefanich then won the TOC, defeating Johnson, 43-36, in a two-frame roll-off after they tied at 227.

As the 50th anniversary of his historic feat closes in, Biondolillo, a Houston native, attended the Main Event Terrell Owens PBA Super Clash on Super Bowl Sunday in Katy, Texas, where he posed with four other PBA members who also bowled nationally-televised 300 games. Pete McCordic bowled televised 300 no. 4 in Torrance, Calif., on Jan. 31, 1987. Parker Bohn III bowled no. 13 in the USBC Masters in Reno, Nev., on May 9, 1998. Norm Duke bowled no. 16 in Tacoma, Wash., on Jan. 5, 2003. Jason Belmonte recorded no. 21 in Las Vegas on Nov. 19, 2011.

(In the featured photo, from left are Pete McCordic, Parker Bohn III, Jack Biondolillo, Jason Belmonte and Norm Duke)

Including Biondolillo’s historic 300, there have been a total of 26 nationally-televised perfect games in PBA competition.

WORLD BOWLING ANNOUNCES 2017 PBA INTERNATIONAL-WBT SCHEDULE

World Bowling, the international governing body for tenpin bowling, and the PBA have announced a schedule of PBA International-World Bowling Tour tournaments that will award PBA Tour titles to winners (if they are PBA members) and points to players toward the 2018 WBT Finals presented by the PBA. Points also will be awarded to women bowlers. Women are eligible for PBA Tour titles if they bowl against the men and don’t accept handicap pins.

Tournaments included on the 2017 PBA International-WBT schedule include:

● Brunswick Euro Challenge, Munich, German, March 18-26;

● Oklahoma Open, Shawnee, Okla., June 26-July 2;

● Sweden WBT, Malmo, Sweden, Aug. 14–28;

● WBT Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 30-Oct. 6;

● PBA World Championship, tba;

● Kingdom of Saudi Open, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 16-22;

● Kingdom of Bahrain Open, Manama, Bahrain, Nov 23-28;

● Kuwait Open, Kuwait City, Kuwait, Nov. 29-Dec. 3.

The World Bowling World Championships, set for Dec. 4-18 in Kuwait City, also is a WBT points event, but will not award a PBA title. For more information about World Bowling, visit Worldbowling.org.

The 2017 WBT Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by the PBA will be televised live on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 26 following the finals of the USBC Masters. The men’s finalists, based on 2016 WBT points, will include top qualifier Martin Larsen of Sweden, Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash. The women’s finalists will be Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y.; Colombia’s Anggie Ramirez, and Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y.

TOC, HOF NEXT AS XTRA FRAME CONTINUES “BIG FEBRUARY” COVERAGE

Following the live ESPN finals of the Players Championship on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 1 p.m. ET, the PBA and Xtra Frame head to Shawnee, Okla., for live coverage of the PBA Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and 2016 PBA Awards presentations on Monday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. ET from the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort.

Xtra Frame coverage then moves to FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee for the preliminary rounds of the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions, Feb. 14-17. That week is concluded by the live ESPN finals of the TOC from FireLake Arena on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 1 p.m. ET.

Xtra Frame’s Big February coverage continues with qualifying and double-elimination match play coverage of the USBC Masters from The Orleans Bowling Center in Las Vegas, Feb. 21-25. The USBC Masters finals, followed by the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by the PBA will air live, back-to-back, on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 26, beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

PBA fans also are reminded that Xtra Frame coverage features two channels which means viewers can watch more players in action. The primary XF channel includes commentary; the secondary channel includes video coverage only. And PBA’s ESPN coverage also will include the Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational, benefitting the Chris Paul Family Foundation, on Friday, Sept. 17, at 9 p.m.

PBA’s all-star month is a perfect time for PBA fans to sign up for Xtra Frame’s full month subscription for only $7.99. Three-day ($3.99) and full year Xtra Frame Season Ticket (less than $1.25 a week) options also are available. Visit xtraframe.tv to enroll.

QUBICA AMF PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: CLIFFORD, BYERS WIN SOUTH CHALLENGE EVENTS

Amateur Charles Clifford Jr. of Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., defeated Carlos Tobon of Hollywood, Fla., 230-225, to win the PBA BreakPoint Alley Challenge presented by DV8 Sunday and, in the PBA50 portion of the QubicaAMF PBA South Region doubleheader weekend, Mike Byers of Charleston, S.C., defeated Ralph Brunt of Jensen Beach, Fla., 236-190 for his first PBA title.

Clifford Jr. earned $2,300 for his win, but he doesn’t earn credit for a PBA title because he isn’t a PBA member. Byers pocketed $1,600 and became eligible to compete for a berth in the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions Feb. 10-11 if he decides to do so.

Both Challenge events were open to players who have not won PBA titles.

● Leading into the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions, FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., will host the PBA Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Southwest Winter Open Feb. 10-12. The tournament, in addition to serving as a standard PBA Regional event, is also a qualifying event for the TOC, with at least 24 eligible PBA title-holders advancing to the TOC.

● The PBA South Region will host the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota Spartanburg Open, presented by 900 Global, over the Feb. 17-19 weekend at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C.

● For complete QubicaAMF PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information heading into the new year, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on QubicaAMF Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area. For more information about QubicaAMF, visit www.qubicaamf.com or, for social media posts, visit http://bit.ly/QAMFSponsorship1.

QUICK NOTES

● Just in time for the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship in Portland, Maine, the PBA Store (pba.com/store) is offering a new line of Mark Roth signature t-shirts and polos. The Roth/Holman doubles event will include a pro-am and qualifying rounds April 9-12, concluding with live ESPN stepladder finals on Sunday, April 16, at 1 p.m. ET.

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World’s Best Bowlers Set to Return to Shawnee for FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions

by Bill Vint February 8, 2017 06:17

SHAWNEE, Okla. – The most accomplished bowlers from around the world will return to FireLake Bowling Center, FireLake Arena and the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort in Shawnee Feb. 11-19 for the 52nd FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions and the Professional Bowlers Association’s Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

The TOC is the second of three consecutive PBA major championships that will air live on ESPN in February. The TOC finals will be the only finals in 2017 held in an arena setting. The telecast begins at noon on Sunday, Feb. 19.

The nine-day TOC tournament program begins Saturday and Sunday with the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Winter Open, a PBA Southwest Regional tournament, which also is a qualifying event for PBA Regional, PBA Women’s Series and PBA50 Tour title winners who will try to earn berths in the 96-player Tournament of Champions field.

Monday night, the PBA will induct former PBA Commissioner Mark Gerberich and three highly-successful PBA players – Bryan Goebel of Shawnee, Kan.; Steve Hoskins of Tarpon Springs, Fla., and Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas – into the PBA Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Grand Casino, starting at 7 p.m. EST. The program also will include presentations to the PBA’s 2016 award winners: GEICO Chris Schenkel Player of the Year EJ Tackett, Harry Golden Rookie of the Year Francois Lavoie, Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner Tom Smallwood and Tony Reyes Community Service Award winner Rhino Page.

TOC competition gets underway on Valentine’s Day when half of the field bowls its first eight-game qualifying round at 9 a.m. with the other half of the field bowling their opening round at 5 p.m. All players will bowl two more eight-game qualifying rounds Wednesday and Thursday before the field is trimmed to the top 24 qualifiers. After a fourth eight-game round Friday morning, the top 16 will bowl a final eight-game round to determine the five stepladder finalists for Sunday’s ESPN telecast.

Among the players in the star-studded field will be past TOC winners Jason Belmonte (2014 and ’14), Pete Weber (1987 and 2013), Sean Rash (2012), Kelly Kulick (2010), Patrick Allen (2009), Tommy Jones (2007), Chris Barnes (2006), Bryan Goebel (1998), Norm Duke (1994) and defending champion Jesper Svensson of Sweden (2016). Kulick is the only woman ever to win a PBA Tour title.

PBA Hall of Famers in the field will be Weber, Duke, Goebel, Scroggins, Parker Bohn III and 57-year-old Walter Ray Williams Jr., who needs a TOC title to complete the PBA Triple Crown and Grand Slam.

The TOC also will feature the Tour’s rising young stars who will try to extend a streak six consecutive major championships won by players age 25 and younger (2015 PBA World Championship by Gary Faulkner Jr., 25); 2016 TOC (Svensson, 20); 2016 United States Bowling Congress Masters (Anthony Simonson, 19); 2016 Barbasol PBA Players Championship (Graham Fach, 24); 2016 U.S. Open (Francois Lavoie, 23) and 2016 PBA World Championship (EJ Tackett, 24).

All qualifying rounds of the TOC, plus the PBA Hall of Fame and Award ceremonies, will be covered on PBA’s live streaming service, Xtra Frame (visit xtraframe.tv for subscription information). The live ESPN stepladder finals also will be live streamed on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN mobile app.

FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS SCHEDULE
FireLake Bowling Center and FireLake Arena, Shawnee, Okla., Feb. 11-19

GRAND CASINO HOTEL & RESORT WINTER OPEN AND TOC QUALIFIER
Friday, Feb. 10

3 and 5 p.m. – A Squad and B Squad practice sessions.

Saturday, Feb. 11
8 a.m. - A Squad, 8 qualifying games.
2:30 p.m. – B Squad: 8 qualifying games.
    Top 1/3 of qualifying field advances to cashers round; minimum of 24 eligible PBA title-holders earn the right to enter the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions.
 
Sunday, Feb. 12
8:30 a.m. - Cashers Round, 5 games.
    Top 16 based on 13 games advance to single-elimination match play.
Noon – Single-Elimination Match Play finals begin.
Round 1: Qualifiers 9-16, best-of-three games matches.
Round 2: Round 1 Winners and Qualifiers 5-8, best-of-three games matches.
Round 3: Round 2 Winners and Qualifiers 1-4, best-of-three games matches.
Round 4: Round of 8 Winners, one game matches.
Round 5: Semifinal Round winners, one game matches.
Winners advance to championship match, one game.

FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Monday, Feb. 13
1 p.m. – Official practice session
6 p.m. – PBA Hall of Fame and Awards dinner, Grand Casino
               
Tuesday, Feb. 14
10 a.m. – A Squad, 8 qualifying games.
4 p.m. – B squad, 8 qualifying games.
               
Wednesday, Feb. 15
10 a.m. – A Squad, 8 qualifying games.
4 p.m. – B Squad, 8 qualifying games.
               
Thursday, Feb. 16
10 a.m. – A squad (bottom half of field after 16 games), 8 qualifying games.
4 p.m. – B squad (top half of field after 16 games), 8 qualifying games.
    Top 24 after 24 games advance to Round of 24
         
Friday, Feb. 17
10 a.m. – Top 24, 8 qualifying games
    Top 16 based on 32 games advance to Round of 16
5 p.m. – Top 16, 8 qualifying games 
    Top five after 40 games advance to ESPN stepladder finals

Saturday, Feb. 18
3 p.m. - PBA TOC Experience Pro-Am
               
Sunday, Feb. 19, FireLake Arena
Noon (1 p.m. EST) – Live ESPN stepladder finals.

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