The GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII field of 246 players set a blistering scoring pace in the first nine-game qualifying round that will lead to the Rolltech PBA World Championship on Thursday, Dec. 17. In Tuesday’s Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, 199 players averaged 200 or higher, and it required averaging at least 234.67 (PBA50 Tour competitor Bob Learn Jr. of Erie, Pa) to qualify among the top 24 who advanced to Monday’s best-of-five-game match play elimination competition.
PBA Hall of Famer, Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., got the World Series off to a rousing start with the first of 12 300 games in the Cheetah Championship qualifying round. It was the 105th of his PBA career, improving upon his own record for perfect games bowled in PBA competition.
A PBA WORLD SERIES “ANIMAL PATTERN” PRIMER
Fans who have followed the PBA World Series since its inception in suburban Detroit in 2009 know the essence of the multi-event competition is a series of “animal pattern” lane conditions which serve as qualifying legs culminating with the PBA World Championship. In order to win the PBA World Championship, players must demonstrate a high level of consistency across the different challenges the “animal patterns” present.
Because oiling patterns applied to bowling lanes are invisible for the most part (until the PBA introduced blue dyed oil for televised World Series events in 2013), the so-called animal patterns gave a name to the different lane conditions that players and fans could understand. While the oiling patterns have been adjusted with passing years, the basics remain the same, and the animal patterns that are in play for WSOB VII include:
The Cheetah: PBA’s description says “A cheetah may look harmless, but this speedster has a dangerous side. So does this pattern - with a fast scoring pace and play near the gutter, there's no room for error.” The Cheetah involves applying oil on the lane to a distance of 35 feet. Past WSOB Cheetah champions includeNorm Duke (2009), Eugene McCune (2010), Bill O’Neill (2012), Wes Malott (2013) and Anthony Pepe(2014). The Cheetah was not part of the 2011 WSOB.
The Viper: PBA’s description says:” A viper strikes with multiple angles of attack. This pattern will challenge players to attack the pins from multiple angles in order to score well.” The Viper pattern involves oiling to a distance of 39 feet. Past WSOB Viper champions include Rhino Page (2009), Bill O’Neill(2010), Stuart Williams (2011), Brad Angelo (2012), Chris Barnes (2013) and Mika Koivuniemi (2014).
The Chameleon: PBA’s description says: “Chameleons change color to outsmart their enemies. To excel on this pattern, bowlers must be versatile in many styles of play.” The Chameleon pattern involves oiling to a distance of 43 feet. Past WSOB Chameleon champions include Bill O’Neill (2009), Scott Norton (2010),Jason Belmonte (2011), Scott Norton (2012), Ryan Ciminelli (2013) and Mika Koivuniemi (2014)
The Scorpion: PBA’s description: A scorpion is dangerous and unpredictable, like this pattern. If you can't find the right groove on the lanes, you'll be stung! The Scorpion pattern involves oiling to a distance of 47 feet. Past WSOB Scorpion champions include Mike DeVaney (2009), non-member Yong-Jin Gu (2010),Dom Barrett (2011), Tom Daugherty (2012), Tom Smallwood (2013) and Michael Haugen Jr. (2014).
The PBA World Championship: A specific oiling pattern, to a distance of 41 feet, is used for PBA World Championship match play and television final competition. Past WSOB PBA World Champions include:Tom Smallwood (2009), Chris Barnes (2010), Osku Palermaa (2011), Parker Bohn III (2012), Dom Barrett (2013) and Mike Fagan (2014).
In addition to the distance oil is applied to the lane for each specific event, the distribution of oil across the lane, using very sophisticated lane maintenance equipment, influences angles of attack, ball speed and numerous other decisions bowlers have to make. Instead of being able to see the oil on the lane – and how it is moved around as each round progresses – professional bowlers read the motion of their bowling balls as they travel down the lane in order to make adjustments.
The bottom line is, the PBA World Series of Bowling provides the best test of skill available in the sport. Add the talents of the world’s best players to the playing environment, and you begin to understand why the WSOB is the greatest event in bowling.
ON DECK: PBA CHAMELEON CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY HOTELPLANNER.COM
Next up on the WSOB VII schedule is qualifying for the Chameleon Championship presented by HotelPlanner.com. Qualifying squads will bowl nine-game rounds at 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. (PT) on Thursday, with the top 24 players advancing to best-of-five-game single-elimination match play rounds at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The top eight qualifiers will receive a bye for the first round.
After Tuesday’s Rounds of 24 and 16, the top eight players will bowl the Round of 8 on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 4:30 p.m. with the four winners advancing to the Chameleon Championship bracket finals which will be conducted on Friday, Dec. 18 at the National Bowling Stadium for delayed telecast by ESPN on Sunday, Jan. 3, at 1 p.m. (ET).
Combined 36-game qualifying scores from the nine-game Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion Championships qualifying rounds will determine the 25 percent of the field who will advance to the six-game Rolltech PBA World Championship cashers’ round at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The top 24 players based on 42-game totals will then advance to the World Championship round-robin match play finals. Three eight-game match play rounds will be contested on the PBA World Championship lane condition on Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
After 66 games contested on five different lane conditions, the top five players will advance to the live ESPN stepladder finals which will begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT Thursday, Dec. 17.
FOLLOW THE WORLD SERIES ON XTRA FRAME, LIVE SCORING, SOCIAL MEDIA
Bowling fans around the world can follow all of the action in WSOB VII by watching Xtra Frame’s extensive live online coverage of all qualifying and match play rounds, or by checking “live scoring” on pba.com. Additional coverage will be provided on PBA’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, both by PBA staff and a number of players in the field.
In addition to the more than 75 hours of live coverage, Xtra Frame is providing interviews with a variety of bowling industry leaders, coaches and players, both from the U.S. and international representatives, and features which highlight great stories from past World Series.
To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com. One-month subscriptions are offered for $7.99 and a full-year XF Season Ticket subscription is only $64.99.
P.S. – An XF Season Ticket might make a nice Christmas gift for the PBA fan in your family.
IT’S FREE: ATTEND WORLD SERIES EVENTS UNTIL ESPN TELEVISION FINALS
Bowling fans are invited to attend all sessions of the World Series, except for the ESPN-televised finals, at no cost. Tickets will be required for the live ESPN finals of the Rolltech PBA World Championship at 4 p.m. local time on Thursday, Dec. 17; for the finals of the Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion Championships on Friday, Dec. 18, and for the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship and PBA Challenge finals on Saturday, Dec. 19. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance by ordering on pba.com.
Until then, there is plenty of action available at no cost. Chameleon Championship presented by HotelPlanner.com squads bowl at 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday. Scorpion Championship presented by Reno-Tahoe USA qualifying squads bowl at 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday. The Rolltech PBA World Championship cashers’ round begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by PBA Tri-Regional Open competition at 2:30 and the first round PBA World Championship match play at 5 p.m. Rounding out this week’s WSOB competition will be the Tri-Regional Open match play and finals beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday followed by the final two rounds of PBA World Championship match play at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
● The oldest player in the WSOB field is 68-year-old Dave Bernhardt of Romeo, Mich., the founder and owner of Turbo 2-N-1 Grips, and a regular competitor on the PBA50 Tour. The youngest in the field is 15-year-old Trey Ford III, a two-handed player from Bartlesville, Okla. Ford, a non-member, is allowed to bowl with parental consent. He currently bowls as an adult in his hometown.
● The hard-luck player award goes to non-member Ken Davis of Sun Valley, Nev., who sustained an injury in his very first game and was forced to withdraw from the World Series.
PBA QUICK NOTES
● Frank Bellavia of Niagara Falls, Ohio, defeated Aaron Morgan of Olmsted Township, Ohio, 2-0, in a best-of-three-game title match to win his first PBA Regional title in the McKinley Lanes Central Challenge at McKinley Lanes in Niles, Ohio, Sunday. In addition to his first title and a $1,200 prize, Bellavia became eligible to enter the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions in early February in Shawnee, Okla.
● Billy Asbury of Odenton, Md., took advantage of a 2-8-10 split by Greg Ostrander of Freehold, N.J., in the 10th frame to defeat Ostrander, 222-201, for his first PBA title in the MJK Pro Shop/Knob Hill Eastern Challenge at Knob Hill Country Lanes on Saturday in Manalapan, N.J. Needing a mark and good count in his 10th frame, Asbury struck to win $1,500 and qualify for the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions in early February in Shawnee, Okla.
● South Africa’s Francois Louw, who recently finished second in the QubicaAMF World Cup in Las Vegas, won his first international title in the PBA-World Bowling Tour’s 9th Kingdom International Open in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Monday. Louw, the top qualifier, lost the opening match to Denmark’s Frederik Ohrgaard, 247-226, but won the second, 247-239, to win the $25,000 first prize. Because he is not a PBA member, Louw does not receive credit for a PBA title.