ARLINGTON, Texas – Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, New York, characterizes his victory at the 2015 U.S. Open as a career-defining win, and the powerful left-hander returns to a familiar venue to defend his title at the 2016 event.
The opening round of qualifying at the 2016 U.S. Open will kick off Friday at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, and a field of more than 220 of the top competitors from across the globe will vie for a spot in the stepladder finals, which will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 9.
The 2016 U.S. Open will feature an expected prize fund of more than $210,000, which includes $100,000 in added money. The 2016 champion will earn $30,000 and the coveted green jacket.
The 2016 event also will mark the tournament’s first trip to Las Vegas. The U.S. Open has a history that dates to 1941. The event was known as the Bowling Proprietor’s Association of America All-Star prior to 1971.
Ciminelli dominated the 2015 event at AMF Garland Lanes in Garland, Texas, leading the field by 461 pins to earn the top seed for the stepladder finals. He defeated England’s Dom Barrett, 236-223, in the championship match to claim his first major title. The victory vaulted Ciminelli into the Professional Bowlers Association Tour’s Player of the Year race, though he was edged by Australia’s Jason Belmonte, who won for the third consecutive year.
“I think my U.S. Open win defines my career,” said Ciminelli, who also won the Xtra Frame South Point Open and Viper Championship during the 2015 PBA Tour season. “And it may forever. The way it unfolded, being one of five titles in 12 months, and the most crucial, of course. It means everything.”
The 30-year-old once again finds himself in the conversation for the PBA Player of the Year, already claiming two titles this season.
“I do have a chance at it again, but there’s a lot of work left to do,” said Ciminelli, who owns seven career PBA Tour titles. “Winning a major just might do it, but it’s hard to tell what the other guys are going to do. All I can do is try and win every time I lace up and let the rest unfold as it may.”
Ciminelli’s trip to the South Point Bowling Plaza gives him the opportunity to defend his title in familiar surroundings.
Ciminelli won the 2015 Xtra Frame South Point Open at the 60-lane venue just prior to making his U.S. Open title run, and he just missed the stepladder finals in his title defense this past weekend, finishing seventh. Jakob Butturff of Chandler, Arizona, won the 2016 edition.
“It definitely helps the confidence knowing you are bowling at a venue where you’ve had success and feel comfortable,” Ciminelli said. “Winning takes a few crucial personality traits. And, give or take, they are the same for every champion – patience, determination and belief. There are a lot of winners on our tour. You just have to try and be as sharp as possible at the most important times and hope fate calls your card, because a million things need to go your way to win an event like the (U.S.) Open.”
Qualifying at the 2016 U.S. Open will consist of three eight-game blocks for each competitor, starting Friday at 11 a.m. Eastern. After 24 games, the field will be cut to the top fourth for Monday’s cashers’ round, which will consist of an additional eight games to determine the top 24 players for round-robin match play.
Match play will begin Monday at 8 p.m. Eastern with the first of three eight-game rounds. Match play resumes Tuesday at 1 p.m. Eastern with the final two blocks of qualifying, including a position round. The five finalists will be determined by total pinfall, including bonus pins, for 56 games.
Each round of the 2016 U.S. Open leading up to the stepladder finals will be broadcast live on Xtra Frame, the exclusive online bowling channel for the PBA.
For more information on the U.S. Open, visit BOWL.com/USOpen.