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:

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