Foreign players holding their own

by Bob Johnson 0

England’s Stuart Williams may have been denied entry to the United States just days before the PBA World Series of Bowling began, but there’s still a strong international contingent on hand at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas.

Of the 252 players entered, these players hail from outside the U.S.:

Eric Acon, Venezuela

Jesper Agerbo, Denmark

Robert Andersson, Sweden

Mathias Arup, Sweden

Dominic Barrett, England

Jason Belmonte, Australia

Kenneth Bland Jr., Norway

Mark Buffa, Canada

David Canady, Germany

Reydnier Chavez, Venezuela

Won-Young Choi, South Korea

Ingellimar Contreras, Venezuela

Patrick Girard, Canada

Andres Gomez, Colombia

Paola Gomez, Colombia

Jaime Gonzalez, Colombia

Yong-Jin Gu, South Korea

Jouni Helminen, Finland

Tae-Hwa Jeong, South Korea

Hyun Jin Kang, South Korea

Jun-Yung Kim, South Korea

Ko Woon Kim, South Korea

George Lambert IV, Canada

Chino Lander, Venezuela,

Martin Larsen, Sweden

Thomas Larsen, Denmark

Kimmo Lehtonen, Finland

Peter Ljung, Sweden

Dan MacLelland, Canada

Alicia Marcano, Venezuela

Karen Marcano, Venezuela

Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela

Jaime Monroy, Colombia

Paul Moor, England

Kasey Normandin, Canada

Luis Olivo, Venezuela

Manuel Otalora, Colombia

Osku Palermaa, Finland

Martin Paulsson, Sweden

Jean Perez, Puerto Rico

Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela

Won Lak Son, South Korea

Isao Yamamoto, Japan

How are the international players faring thus far?

In the opening event on Monday, two of the bowlers finished among the top 16 to qualify for the match play round of the Brunswick Pro Bowling Cheetah Championship: Canada’s Buffa and England’s Barrett.

On Tuesday, the number of international players advancing increased to three — or four, depending on how you look at it — in the Viper Championship. Finland’s Lehtonen paced the 12-game qualifier with a 2818 total, Colombia’s Gomez qualified fourth, and Venezuela’s Monacelli came in 10th.

What about the “fourth” international player to advance? That would be Finland native Mika Koivuniemi, now a resident of Hartland, Mich., who “Finnished” just a pin behind Lehtonen.

Patrick Allen paced the Cheetah qualifying with 3020 (a 252 average), and also leads the PBA World Championship qualifying with a 24-game total of 5715.

The top eight players after five “animal pattern” qualifying rounds will advance to the World Championship’s series of telecasts in January. With 40 percent of the qualifying games in the books, Allen was followed by Lonnie Waliczek, Norm Duke, Sean Rash, Lehtonen, Michael Haugen Jr. and Chris Loschetter.

Action continues Wednesday with Chameleon Championship qualifying, Thursday with Scorpion Championship qualifying, and Friday with GEICO Shark Championship qualifying.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.