RENO, Nev. (Sunday, Nov. 27) – Matt O’Grady of Matawan, N.J.; Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Fla., and Missy Parkin of Laguna Hills, Calif., kicked off the GEICO Professional Bowlers Association World Series of Bowling VIII, presented by Silver Legacy Resort and Casino, with victories in the special PBA50 Tour, PBA Regional and PBA-PWBA Women’s Regional Challenge events Sunday at the National Bowling Stadium.
O’Grady, representing the PBA East Region, threw a clutch strike on his first shot in the 10th frame to nip South Region represent Dick Allen of Columbia, S.C., 225-217, handing Allen his first loss in the nine-game PBA Regional Challenge special event.
“I know it doesn’t count as a title, but it sure feels like one to me,” O’Grady said. “Being here on bowling’s biggest stage, live on Xtra Frame, against a stellar field of players who all have a lot more experience than I do feels pretty good. Maybe, at age 30, I’m just hitting my prime a little late.”
Williams, at age 57, survived another in a series of battles with veteran Ron Mohr of Las Vegas, throwing the only double of the match and clinching the 192-187 win with a strike on his first ball in the 10th frame after a pair of costly 10 pins thwarted Mohr again. For the ninth time in 2016, Mohr made a championship round without winning the title.
“It’s a great opportunity for the PBA50 Tour guys to have an event like this at the end of the season,” Williams said. “I was fortunate Ron didn’t double in the 10th, but I thought I threw some good shots that didn’t carry, too. That’s the challenge of this game. You have to figure out what to do to carry those shots.
“It’s a great confidence-builder to start the World Series,” he added, noting the win doesn’t end his ongoing duel with fellow PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber to become the first PBA player to win a combined 100 PBA Tour, PBA50 Tour, PBA Regional and PBA50 Regional titles. Both have 99.
“No, this wasn’t the 100th title,” Williams said. “It’s a special event. Never had been a PBA title, so it doesn’t count.”
Parkin, bowling with medical approval by her doctor after undergoing surgery nearly six weeks ago, saved her best game for last, defeating top qualifying and PBA South Region representative Ashly Galante of Palm Harbor, Fla., 267-188, for the PBA-PWBA Women’s Regional Challenge title. After a first-frame spare, Parkin reeled off eight strikes in a row to run away with the $8,000 first prize.
“I changed strategy based on what I was doing in qualifying,” Parkin said. “I overheard the guys say they were playing farther right on the pair of lanes we used for the finals, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I tried it in practice and it was amazing, so I stayed out there.
“I’m really grateful I got cleared to bowl this event,” the PBA West Region representative said. “I’m bummed I can’t bowl the rest of the World Series, but I’m really glad I got to do this one.”
Each of the three Challenge events culminated season-long competition points qualifiers to reach the World Series, and entitled each of the competitors to paid entries into the World Series as well. The Challenge events were covered live, exclusively on PBA’s online video streaming service, Xtra Frame.
The eighth annual WSOB officially gets underway Tuesday with the first of four animal pattern qualifying stages leading into the PBA World Championship that will conclude with live ESPN television coverage on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT). All preliminary qualifying rounds of the Cheetah, Chameleon, Scorpion and Shark Championships also will be covered live on Xtra Frame between Tuesday and Thursday, Dec. 8.
PBA-PBA WOMEN’S REGIONAL CHALLENGE
National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev., Nov. 27
Championship: Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif. ($8,000) def. Ashly Galanta, Palm Harbor, Fla. ($4,000), 267-188.
Final Match Play Standings (after 8 games, including match play bonus pins; top two advanced to championship match): 1, Galante, 7-1, 2,018. 2, Parkin, 4-4, 1,828. 3, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 6-2, 1,777, $1,000. 4, Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 5-3, 1,751, $700. 5, Liz Kuhlkin, Rotterdam, N.Y., 4-4, 1,728, $600. 6, April Lord Wittig, Steilacoom, Wash., 4-4, 1,648, $500. 7, Summer Jasmin, Beckley, W.Va., 2-6, 1,538, $400.
PBA50 TOUR CHALLENGE
Championship: Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla. ($8,000) def. Ron Mohr, Las Vegas ($4,000), 192-187.
Final Match Play Standings (after 8 games, including match play bonus pins; top two advanced to championship match): 1, Mohr, 7-1, 2,031. 2, Williams, 6-2, 2,012. 3, Bob Learn Jr, Erie, Pa., 4-4, 1,968, $1,000. 4, Lennie Boresch Jr, Kenosha, Wis., 4-4, 1,963, $700. 5, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3-5, 1,820, $600. 6, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3-5, 1,797, $500. 7, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 5-3, 1,754, $400.
PBA REGIONAL CHALLENGE
Championship: Matt O’Grady, Matawan, N.J. ($8,000) def. Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C. ($4,000), 225-217.
Final Match Play Standings (after 8 games, including match play bonus pins; top two advanced to championship match): 1, Allen, 8-0, 2,202. 2, O'Grady, 4-4, 1,974. 3, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 4-4, 1,959, $1,000. 4, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 4-4, 1,944, $700. 5, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, Texas, 5-3, 1,847, $600. 6, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 4-4, 1,825, $500. 7, David Haynes, Las Vegas, 3-5, 1,776, $400.