Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., struck on his second shot in sudden death to win the Professional Bowlers Association Players Championship at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, earning his 34th career title and moving into a tie for fifth place on the all-time PBA Tour titles list with legendary star Mark Roth.
The finals aired Sunday on ESPN.
Bohn, a PBA Hall of Famer, rebounded from a pocket 7-10 split in the first frame of the championship match, throwing nine strikes on his next 11 shots to tie hometown favorite Ronnie Russell of nearby Marion, 237-237, at the end of 10 frames. The 51-year-old left-hander then threw two strikes in the one-ball sudden-death roll-off, defeating Russell when the Indiana native struck on his first attempt, but left a 10 pin on his second shot.
“I was only 16 when I met Mark Roth,” Bohn said, “and I had no idea I’d be standing here tied with him with 34 titles. He obviously got there much faster than I did, but when you think about Roth, he single-handedly revolutionized the sport. Anyone who hooks the ball today does it because of what Mark did in the late 1960s and ‘70s. I couldn’t be happier to share this distinction with him.”
Roth, who was in Indianapolis for the anniversary Tournament of Champions weekend, said, “It was just a matter of time before Parker caught up with me. We went about it in different ways, but it couldn’t have been a nicer guy to do it.”
Walter Ray Williams Jr. is the all-time PBA Tour titles leader with 47, followed by the late Earl Anthony with 43, and Norm Duke and Pete Weber who are tied for third with 37 each. Among PBA left-handed players, Bohn trails only Anthony in career titles.
Bohn, who qualified No. 1 for the Players Championship finals two weeks earlier in Milwaukee, said he had an issue with his grip in the first few frames, but “once I figured out how to keep my hand dry, I was in good shape.”
Bohn also accomplished another personal goal with his win.
“I’ve been coming to Woodland Bowl for 34 years, and I don’t have a championship banner hanging up here,” Bohn said of the bowling center’s tradition of recognizing its past champions. “I’ve been assured that after tonight, my banner will be hanging up here.”
As rewarding as the victory was for Bohn, it was equally disappointing for Russell, who was trying for his third PBA Tour title. Leaving a 10 pin standing on his second shot in the 10th frame denied him an outright win against Bohn, and his seventh 10 pin in two games ended his dream of winning in front of his family and hometown fans.
“This is the second time I’ve finished second at Woodland,” Russell said. “It’s heartbreaking.”
Tom Daugherty of Tampa, Fla., started the championship round with a 225-212 victory over PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., and he then eliminated red-hot Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte, 245-227 in the second match. In winning that match, Daugherty denied Belmonte a shot at a PBA record-tying third consecutive title (he had previously won the USBC Masters and 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions), and he ended Belmonte’s streak of 13 consecutive match wins on television, three shy of the PBA record set by Jim Pencak between 1989 and 1991.
Russell ended Daugherty’s bid for a second PBA Tour title, 216-214, with a clutch strike on his first shot in the 10th frame of the semifinal match.
The PBA Tour on ESPN continues next Sunday when the finals of the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship airs at 1 p.m. ET. The Baker-format doubles finals – in which teammates will bowl alternate frames – will include top qualifiers and defending champions Duke and Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas; Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, and Daugherty; Belmonte and partner Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa.; DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, bowling with Shawn Maldonado, Houston, Texas, and England’s Dom Barrett with Osku Palermaa, Finland. Among the 10 finalists, Castillo and Maldonado are the only players who have not won a PBA Tour title.
PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Woodland Bowl, Indianapolis, ESPN telecast on Feb. 22
Final Standings: 1, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., $25,000. 2, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., $13,000. 3, Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., $11,000. 4, Jason Belmonte, Australia, $10,000. 5, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., $9,000.
Stepladder Results: Match One – Daugherty def. Duke, 225-212. Match Two – Daugherty def. Belmonte, 245-227. Semifinal Match – Russell def. Daugherty, 216-214. Championship – Bohn def. Russell, 237-237, 10-10, 10-9 in one-ball sudden-death roll-off.