Rash Wins Second Consecutive PBA Title at Fall Swing for 11th Overall

by Jerry Schneider, Professional Bowlers Association 0

Sep 11, 2016; During the PBA Bowl Fall Swing Tour at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, MI. Credit: Tim Fuller
Sep 11, 2016; During the PBA Bowl Fall Swing Tour at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, MI. Credit: Tim Fuller

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (Oct. 12, 2016) – After winning his 10th career PBA Tour title in the PBA Badger Open last week, former PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash didn’t waste any time starting on his next 10 titles by winning the PBA Detroit Open for his second consecutive win in the final championship event of the 2016 PBA Fall Swing at Thunderbowl Lanes.

In a low scoring match on the demanding 40-foot PBA Bear lane condition, Rash beat rival and top qualifier Jason Belmonte, 178-161, in the title match of the fourth event of the PBA Fall Swing. The finals aired Wednesday on CBS Sports Network.

As the tournament leader, Belmonte had his choice of selecting the Wolf, Bear or Badger Fall Swing lane oil patterns and chose the Bear pattern.

While neither player could get into a rhythm, Rash was helped by strikes in the first three of four frames. A missed single pin spare by three-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Belmonte was a portent of things to come as he left a 3-4-6-7 split in the fourth frame and a 3-4-6-7-10 split in the ninth frame, failing to convert either one.

“This (lane conditioning) pattern will eat you up,” said Rash, who was the No. 2 qualifier for the finals. “It’s probably the toughest condition we bowl on. It can be like an obstacle course.

“You take a tough condition like this and then you throw in the changing environment of bowling on TV where there are so many variables, from the changing lane conditions frame-to-frame to the different styles of the players in the earlier matches,” Rash continued. “It’s not like bowling on league night, believe me.”

Belmonte notched his third top-five finish in four Fall Swing events after finishing third in the Wolf Open and fourth in the Badger Open, but his bid for his first title of 2016 escape him once again.

In the semifinal match, Rash beat 10-time Tour winner and 2009 Player of the Year Wes Malott, 202-198, striking out in the 10th frame to take the four-pin victory. Rash also had defeated Malott, 259-195, in the title match of the Badger Open.

“I didn’t get off to a great start in the match (against Malott), so I was grateful to be in a position where I could win,” said Rash, who won PBA Player of the Year honors for the 2011-12 season. “I just stayed with the game plan of playing straighter, keep the ball in play and fill the frames. I could have probably done better but I did good enough to win.”

Rash was the first player to win back-to-back in 2016, joining Jesper Svensson (three titles) and fellow two-time winners E.J. Tackett and Ryan Ciminelli as the year’s only multiple title winners.

The Detroit Open finalists earned their berths in the stepladder finals by finishing in the top five after a combined total of 36 games in the Wolf, Bear and Badger Open qualifying rounds. Belmonte led finalists with a combined 229.9 average on the three vastly different lane conditions.

In the first match of the finals, Tackett, the Bear Open winner and No. 5 qualifier, defeated Wolf Open winner and No. 4 qualifier Tom Daugherty, 231-159. In the second match, No. 3 qualifier Malott eliminated Tackett, 201-195, to advance to the semifinal against Rash.

All five Detroit Open finalists also qualified for the finals of the King of the Swing special event which will air Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network. Daugherty, Tackett and Rash earned their spots in the final event as Wolf, Bear and Badger Open titlists, respectively. Because Rash won two events, Malott and Belmonte also earned spots as the top players in Fall Swing points.

PBA DETROIT OPEN

Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich., Wednesday

Final Standings:

1, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., $18,000.

2, Jason Belmonte, Australia, $9,000.

3, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, $5,000.

4, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., $4,500.

5, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., $4,000.

Stepladder results:

Match One – Tackett def. Daugherty, 231-159.

Match Two – Malott def. Tackett, 201-195.

Semifinal Match – Rash def. Malott, 202-198.

Championship match – Rash def. Belmonte, 178-161.