Reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte, 2017 U.S. Open champion Rhino Page, 2018 Barbasol PBA Players Championship titlist Tom Smallwood and Sweden’s two-handed powerhouse, Jesper Svensson, are ESPN’s candidates for the 2018 “Best Bowler ESPY,” ESPN announced Wednesday.
Fan voting is now open (http://www.espn.com/espys/story/_/page/voting52/vote-best-sports) for “best bowler” and a variety of other categories. The annual ESPYs telecast, hosted for the first time by a woman – auto racing star Danica Patrick – will air live on ABC on Wednesday, July 18, from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Fans also can vote at ESPN’s social media platforms (@ESPN on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and @ESPYS (Twitter).
The ESPYS and related events benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research in memory of the late Jim Valvano.
Belmonte, who has won the “Best Bowler” ESPY in fan voting the past three years, could become the first bowler to win the honor four consecutive years. He also is a four-time winner, tying Norm Duke and Pete Weber for second place behind the all-time ESPY leader, Walter Ray Williams Jr., who has won the award seven times since its inception in 1995. Belmonte and Duke are the only recipients to win three years in a row.
Belmonte is coming off a 2017 season in which he became the first player ever to win three PBA majors in a single season, and thus far in 2018 he has won the Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship (with partner Bill O’Neill) and the PBA Tour Finals as well as posting top-five finishes in the PBA Tournament of Champions and the Barbasol PBA Players Championship.
In addition to his U.S. Open win, Page won the Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Group Classic title and he finished fifth in the USBC Masters earlier this season. In addition to winning his second major in the PBA Players Championship, Smallwood helped the Sysco Philadelphia Hitmen to a second-place finish in the OceanView at Falmouth PBA League Elias Cup finals. Svensson, after runner-up finishes in the 2017 PBA World Championship and 2018 PBA Tournament of Champions, helped the GoBowling.com Silver Lake Atom Splitters win the 2018 Elias Cup.
PBA XTRA FRAME ON FLOBOWLING.COM DEBUTS FOLLOWING BOWL EXPO
PBA’s Xtra Frame live streaming service will take a week off for the bowling industry’s annual trade show, International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas, before returning to live action June 25-29 with exclusive coverage of the preliminary rounds of the U.S. Women’s Open from Orlando, Fla. Liz Johnson of Palatine, Ill., will be trying for her fifth consecutive, and seventh overall, U.S. Women’s Open title. CBS Sports Network will air the stepladder finals live on Saturday, June 30, at 5 p.m. EDT.
The Go Bowling! PBA Tour returns to Xtra Frame on June 30 on its new online home, FloBowling.com. The inaugural event on the FloBowling calendar will be the PBA Xtra Frame Parkside Lanes Open from Aurora, Ill., June 30-July 2.
The PBA50 Tour will make its PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling debut July 17-20 with coverage of the PBA50 River City Extreme Open, presented by Ebonite, from River City Extreme in Monticello, Minn.
Fans can still enroll as XtraFrame subscribers through June 29 by visiting xtraframe.tv. An entire month of coverage costs only $7.99. A three-day subscription is also available through June 25 for $3.99, and the 12-month Season Ticket plan is offered for about $1.25 week. Monthly and year-long subscriptions will be honored by FloSports as the PBA moves to Xtra Frame on FloBowling as of June 30. As of June 30, new subscribers will enroll through FloSports.com at the current FloSports PRO subscription rates.
PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: AREHART WINS TIMMY SEE MEMORIAL OPEN
Steven Arehart of Chesapeake, Va., won his third PBA Regional title Sunday, defeating Anthony DeStasio of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 201-193, to win the third annual PBA Timmy See Memorial South Open presented by Motiv at Break Point Alley in Tavares, Fla.
Arehart was the number one qualifier for the stepladder finals with a 17-game pinfall total of 3,671, vaulting into the lead with a 257 in the final game of qualifying. He pocketed $2,500 for the win.
In stepladder match one, DeStasio defeated Brandon Curtis of Manson, N.C., 223-166. Then DeStasio eliminated amateur Steve Johnson of Coral Springs, Fla., 200-171, to advance to the title match.
● PBA Regional activity over the June 22-24 weekend will be the Homefield Bowl Eastern Open presented by MOTIV in Yonkers, N.Y.; the Pro Bowl West Central/Midwest Challenge presented by Storm in Fort Wayne, Ind., and the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Southwest Doubles at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla.
● 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 device users using the PBA app).
● Click on this link to listen to the Steve (Sparky) Fifer’s podcast on Milwaukee’s 1057 FM the Fan’s website with PBA CEO-Commissioner Tom Clarkdiscussing PBA’s new relationship with FOX Sports: http://www.1057fmthefan.com/media/audio-channel/pba-commissioner-tom-clark-joins-sparky-discuss-fox-tv-deal.
● You can listen to PBA Hall of Famer Chris Barnes’ interview on Herb FM Sports Radio anytime by clicking on this podcast link:https://www.iheart.com/podcast/53-HerbFM-Sports-Radio-28673959/.
● A four-man team of American PBA stars (Chris Barnes, Tommy Jones, Anthony Simonsen and Kyle Troup) defeated a team of our European PBA stars (Dom Barrett, Stuart Williams, Martin Larsen and Jesper Svensson), 19-10, to win the Weber Cup for the first time in six years. Troup was named MPV for the multi-event, Ryder Cup-style competition. At the conclusion of the invitational event, organizers said the 2019 Weber Cup (named in honor of PBA legend Dick Weber) will be held in Las Vegas, the first time it has ever been held in the United States. Dates and location are pending.