Nearly 2 Million Viewers Watched U.S. Open Telecast

by Bill Vint, Professional Bowlers Association 0

THURSDAY IS KEY DAY IN SETTING UP 2020 PBA LEAGUE DRAFT POOL

While PBA players continue to earn as many competition points as possible during this week’s Go Bowling Indianapolis Open and Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship, the 2020 PBA League Draft also is looming with next Thursday being a key day in setting up this year’s league draft pool.

Players hoping to become eligible for the 2020 PBA League Draft have this week in Indy and the qualifying rounds of the PBA World Series of Bowling XI to compile points, but Thursday, March 5, is the deadline for the eight existing PBA League managers to decide which of their 2019 rostered players they want to “protect” for 2020. Each manager can retain up to three players from last season’s roster.

The players not protected will be returned to the PBAL draft pool. Assuming each team returns two players to the draft, that will mean 16 spots available to join teams this year. And thanks to the expansion of the PBA League from eight to 10 teams, another 10 players will get a chance to participate when the league’s Elias Cup competition returns to Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, July 20-23.

After Thursday’s protected players are announced, the draft picture will be a lot clearer. The PBAL Draft will take place on Sunday, March 15 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern/1:30 p.m. Pacific at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, the host center for PBA World Series of Bowling XI. The list of eligible players will be published on March 13. Here are the 2019 teams and rosters:

2019 PBA League Final Standings (with team rosters):

1, Portland Lumberjacks (manager Tim Mack; rostered players are Ryan Ciminelli, Wes Malott, Kyle Troup, Kris Prather, Mitch Hupé).

2, L.A. X (manager Andrew Cain; rostered players are Jason Belmonte, Stuart Williams, Jakob Butturff, Dick Allen, Anthony Lavery-Spahr). 

3, Dallas Strikers (player-manager is Norm Duke; rostered players are Tommy Jones, Bill O’Neill, Andrew Anderson, Brad Miller).

4, NYC KingPins (manager is Carolyn Dorin-Ballard; rostered players are Pete Weber, Marshall Kent, BJ Moore, Kyle Sherman, Darren Tang).

5, Silver Lake Atom Splitters (manager is Mark Baker; rostered players are Chris Barnes, Jesper Svensson, Tom Daugherty, DJ Archer, AJ Johnson).

6, Motown Muscle (manager is Del Ballard Jr.; rostered players are EJ Tackett, Anthony Simonsen, Josh Blanchard, AJ Chapman, Mykel Holliman).

7, Brooklyn Styles (manager is Johnny Petraglia; rostered players are Walter Ray Williams Jr., Sean Rash, Rhino Page, Andres Gomez, Brad Angelo). 

8, Philadelphia Hitmen (manager is Jason Couch; rostered players are Dom Barrett, Tom Smallwood, Matt Sanders, Patrick Girard, x-Shawn Maldonado, x-Jake Peters (Peters replaced Maldonado due to injury). 

ALMOST 2 MILLION FOX VIEWERS WATCHED BELMO’S HISTORIC U.S. OPEN WIN

FOX Sports has confirmed that Sunday’s live U.S. Open telecast was watched by an average of 1,146,000 viewers over the two hours of coverage, an impressive 17 percent increase over the February 2019 audience average for FOX Sports/PBA telecasts.

In addition, viewership spiked to 1.97 million during the finals when Australia’s Jason Belmonte made PBA history, defeating top qualifier Anthony Simonsen, 226-201, for his record 12th major championship as well as completing the PBA Triple Crown, Grand Slam and Super Slam.

NO SURPRISE: BELMO JUMPS INTO 2020 PBA PLAYOFFS POINTS LEAD

After top-five finishes in each of the past three tournaments – all Tier 1 major championships in the PBA competition points structure – Jason Belmonte has assumed the lead in the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour points race as it heads toward the second annual PBA Playoffs.

Belmonte picked up 7,500 points for his historic U.S. Open win, following a third-place finish in the PBA Players Championship and a fourth-place finish in the PBA Tournament of Champions, to boost his total for the year to 17,195 points, overtaking previous leader Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa. Defending PBA Playoffs champion Kris Prather slipped to third place after six of 13 events.

Belmonte was the points leader for the inaugural PBA Playoffs in 2019, but was eliminated in the “race to two points” quarterfinal round by Prather, 197-165, 224-214.

This week in Indianapolis, a “doubleheader” program will award points in both the Go Bowling Indianapolis Open (a Tier 2 “standard PBA Tour event”) and the Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship (a Tier 3 limited field/restricted format event). Tier 1 (major championships) award 7,500 points to the winner, Tier 2 events award 5,000 points for first place and Tier 3 events award 2,500 points to the winner(s). All other players in each event get points on of declining value based upon where they finish.

The race to finish within the top 24 in 2020 points will be finalized at the conclusion of the USBC Masters on March 29 in Reno, Nev. The PBA Playoffs will begin on April 6 in Norco, Calif. Below are the top 30 points standings after six of 13 events:

2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Competition Points Standings

(Top 30 after six of 13 events)

1, Jason Belmonte, 17,195

2, Bill O'Neill, 15,455

3, Kris Prather, 15,070

4, Anthony Simonsen, 10,405

5 (tie), EJ Tackett, and Sean Rash, 10,340

7, Kyle Troup, 8,415

8, Tommy Jones, 7,815

9, Darren Tang, 6,940

10, Dick Allen, 6,523

11, Tom Daugherty, 6,470

12, Francois Lavoie, 6,303

13, Tom Smallwood, 6,100

14, AJ Johnson, 6,040

15, Chris Barnes, 5,950

16, Brad Miller, 5,945

17, Dom Barrett, 5,690

18, Marshall Kent, 5,445

19, Kyle Sherman, 5,430

20, Mitch Hupe, 5,370

21, Norm Duke, 5,268

22, Stuart Williams, 5,080

23, Ryan Ciminelli, 4,883

24, Nicholas Pate, 4,435

25, Jesper Svensson, 4,370

26, Wes Malott, 4,280

27, Zacharay Wilkins, 4,250

28, Josh Blanchard, 4,060

29, Thomas Larsen, 3,840

30, Patrick Girard, 3,750

PBA PLAYER’S PERSPECTIVE: BELMONTE & O’NEILL TALK ABOUT DOUBLES 2018 TITLE

In 2018, Jason Belmonte and Bill O’Neill won the Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship. Their victory on their fourth try to win the PBA doubles title is the topic of their joint PBA Player’s Perspective that became the PBA’s YouTube channel on Tuesday (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJDxB7EtVdU)

To view the entire series of PBA Player’s Perspective episodes, visit the PBA’s YouTube channel and click on the PBA Player’s Perspective play list. A wide range of Player’s Perspectives currently reside in the archives on YouTube. Among the most recent are:

  • Jakob Butturff’s 2019 USBC Masters win (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cuYcXxfXXs).

   EJ Tackett’s 2017 DHC PBA Japan Invitational victory. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91yoFd7nd8g).

    Kris Prather’s 2019 PBA Scorpion Championship win (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aVe_n8uCOM).

  • Bill O’Neill’s 2019 PBA Hall of Fame Classic victory that made him title-eligible for future PBA HOF consideration (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeHXCYxWH4o).

  • Jakob Butturff’s 2019 PBA Oklahoma Open win (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOsC36SxxxA&list=).

  • Sean Rash’s2012 PBA TOC victory (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkzuCw4Cpqs).

  • Jason Belmonte’s record-tying 10th PBA major championship in the 2019 PBA Tournament of Champions (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Si3d6oPhBo).

  • Anthony Simonsen’s 2019 PBA Players Championship victory (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGLBRvb_T24).

  • Norm Duke’s 39th career title in the 2019 Go Bowling Indianapolis Open (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o02VZegoziY\).

Fans can follow all of the latest video clips and more by enrolling as a subscriber to PBA’s YouTube channel. It’s easy and it’s free. Visit YouTube.com/PBABowling and click on the “subscribe” button.

PBA REGIONAL UPDATE: GARY MORGAN WINS IN SPARTANBURG

Gary Morgan of Henderson, Nev., defeated PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker of King, N.C., 237-204, in the final match to take the first prize in the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota South Open at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., Sunday, improving his all-time PBA titles record to 16.

Morgan qualified in the number three position for the four-man stepladder finals with an 6-2 match play record and a 16-game total of 3,650 pins, including match play bonus pins. He then won three consecutive matches to earn the $2,000 first prize. Tom Baker, a four-time PBA50 Player of the Year who is still competing at age 65, posted a 6-2 match play record and had 3,752 pins to qualify first, 41 pins ahead of Stoney Baker (no relation) of Canton, Ga., but had to settle for the $1,000 second prize.

In the first stepladder match, Morgan defeated non-PBA member Joseph Boothe of Belvedere, S.C., 226-203. Morgan then disposed of Stoney Baker, 226-198, in the semifinal match.

• Kyle Duster from Scottsdale, Ariz. and amateur partner Matthew Zweig from Phoenix, Ariz., teamed up to win Sunday’s PBA South Point Member/Non-Member Doubles title at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas after PBA member Derek Acuff of Phoenix, Ariz., won the South Point West Challenge portion of the PBA West Region doubleheader on Friday for his first PBA title.

In the preliminary singles event for players who have never won a PBA event, Acuff defeated 16-year-old two-hander Deo Benard of Henderson, Nev, 266-246, in to earn the $2,300 first prize. Acuff knocked out non-member Jimmy Schmitzer of Las Vegas, 258-249, in the semifinal round while Benard eliminated non-member Michael Hartter of Henderson, Nev., 278-246, to set up the championship match.

In Sunday’s doubles title match, Duster and Zweig defeated Hartter and PBA50 Hall of Famer Ron Mohr of Las Vegas, 556-464, to claim the $4,000 first prize. Duster and Zweig advanced to the title match by eliminating Gary Estep Jr. of Peoria, Ariz. and Brett Wolfe of Mesa, Ariz., 462-443, while Hartter and Mohr ousted Cortez Schenck of Phoenix, Ariz., and Eric Hatchett of Henderson, Nev., 523-435, in the other semifinal match

 Closing out the February regional calendar over the Feb. 28-March 1 “leap year” weekend will be the PBA Plaza Lanes Central/Midwest Open in Crawfordsville, Ind.

 For complete PBA Regional schedules including 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. Whether you are a competitor or a fan, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba.com (easily accessible for Apple and Android device users using the PBA app).

QUICK NOTES

• Australia’s Sam Cooley has returned to PBA Tour competition to fulfill a promise he made to his mother, Donna Cooley, who died of cancer on February 18 in New South Wales. Cooley wrote on Facebook that he is returning to the U.S. to finish the PBA Tour winter schedule, noting “I will be devoting my focus solely on that as I had promised her. Once I return home preparations will resume for her life celebration.”  A South Coast Open regional event to be held at Shellharbour Bowl (Cooley’s home center) in late May will include the renaming of the tournament’s adult division “The Donna Cooley Memorial Open” in his mother’s honor.

• In his fourth television appearance of the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour season in the U.S. Open, Australia’s Jason Belmonte added 12 strikes to his ongoing pledge make a donation for each strike thrown on television to his “2HandsHelpingAustralia” fundraiser. His latest donation included $300 for six strikes at $50 each in the semifinal match of the U.S. Open and $100 for six strikes in the title match. Belmonte has now donated $1,800 for 30 strikes in his TV matches this season.

• PBA Hall of Famer Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, became PBA50 eligible on Tuesday, Feb. 25, his 50th birthday. Also reaching PBA50 eligibility in 2020 are fellow PBA Hall of Famer Jason Couch of Clermont, Fla., and PBA Tour title winners Tom Hess of Granger, Iowa, and Brad Angelo of Lockport, N.Y.

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