Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., won seven of his eight matches and tied the other Thursday afternoon at AMF Bowlero to complete a rally from 69th place after round one to claim the top berth for the PBA Players Championship stepladder finals.
Bohn, a 33-time PBA Tour champion, threw games of 248, 287, 266, 258, 247, 279, 238 and 270 during the final round of match play to finish the Players Championship with a 36-game total of 9,222 pins, claiming the lead for the first time when he defeated Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., 270-220, in the final position round game. Russell, who had led most of the day, finished second with 9,170 pins.
Also advancing to the stepladder finals, which will be contested on Saturday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. ET at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis as part of the PBA’s 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions week, were two-time reigning PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia; 37-time PBA Tour winner Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., and Tom Daugherty of Wesley Chapel, Fla.
The finals will air on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. ET.
“Tonight was one of those nights when I put it into cruise control and just let things happen,” the 51-year-old Bohn said. “After the first eight games, I went to dinner with Ryan Ciminelli, my doubles partner, and we just decided we had to try something different. We were just trying to figure out how we could make the doubles field. We were so far out of it, we had no plans to make singles.”
During the 12 qualifying games, bowlers also were competing concurrently for the top 12 spots in the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship, which moves into its match play finals Friday. Bohn and Ciminelli made the cut in ninth place, but a huge final four games by Bohn moved him up from 69th to 23rd place for the singles match play finals, and he just kept going.
”After every block you bowl, you have to analyze what’s going on, and try to figure out where things are going to happen in the future,” Bohn said. “If your guesses are correct, you stand to be one step ahead of everyone else.
“Today, I was an escalator ahead of everyone,” he added. “Everything worked out. In my match against Belmonte, he threw a 279, which would normally win, and I struck out to tie. Go figure.”
Having to wait until Valentine’s Day for the stepladder finals in Indianapolis doesn’t bother Bohn a bit.
“It’s okay that I have to wait a couple of weeks,” he said. “My kids are at home right now, but they’re already making plans to come to Indy. I’m going to hope I win the tournament, but no matter what, when you get up on the lanes and you mathematically have a chance to win, it isn’t over. We’ll see.”
Competition continues Friday with the match play final rounds in the Roth/Holman Doubles Championship. PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Fla., and his partner, Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., will take a 72-pin lead over Belmonte and his partner, Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa., into Friday’s six-game rounds at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. CT.
In Friday’s doubles matches, the leadoff and anchor bowler from each team will compete head-to-head for 10 bonus pins against the opposing team in each match, and the teams will compete for 30 bonus pins for winning each match, in addition to their actual pinfall totals.
The Roth/Holman PBA Doubles Championship finalists will meet in a five-game Baker format stepladder finals on Sunday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. ET at Woodland Bowl, following the live 1 p.m. telecast of the 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions finals. The PBA Doubles show will air on ESPN on March 1 at 1 p.m. ET.
Both doubles match play rounds Friday will be covered live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel, and on pba.com’s “live scoring” feature. For Xtra Frame subscription information, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.
PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
AMF Bowlero, Wauwatosa, Wis., Jan. 29
Final Match Play Standings (after 36 games, including match play bonus pins; top five advance to ESPN stepladder finals on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis)
1, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 15-6-3, 9,222.
2, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 14-9-1, 9,170.
3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 14-8-2, 9,110.
4, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 15-9, 9,107.
5, Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., 11-12-1, 9,070.
Other Cashers (after 36 games)
6, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 16-8, 8,989, $7,000.
7, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, Ariz., 15-9, 8,945, $6,000.
8, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 14-10, 8,901, $5,000.
9, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 12-11-1, 8,878, $4,500.
10, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 9-15, 8,742, $4,000.
11, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 11-13, 8,725, $3,800.
12, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 11-12-1, 8,672, $3,600.
13, Dom Barrett, England, 11-13, 8,659, $3,400.
14, Dan MacLelland, Saginaw, Mich., 11-13, 8,516, $3,200.
15, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 7-16-1, 8,485, $3,000.
16, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 13-10-1, 8,472, $2,800.
17, Patrick Girard, Canada, 14-10, 8,462, $2,700.
18, Dave Wodka, Beaver Creek, Ohio, 11-12-1, 8,438, $2,600.
19 (tie), Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 12-12, and Brian Himmler, Cincinnati, 9-15, 8,434, $2,450.
21, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 8-16, 8,427, $2,300.
22, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 12-12, 8,363, $2,200.
23, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 10-14, 8,288, $2,100.
24, Jon VanHees, Charlestown, R.I., 7-17, 8,286, $2,000.
300 Games (6): Tom Daugherty 2, Scott Norton, Parker Bohn III, Wes Malott, Norm Duke.