CHICAGO – The PBA announced its 2016 QubicaAMF PBA Regional Award winners Tuesday recognizing Players of the Year, Rookies of the Year, PBA50 Players of the Year and Pat Patterson Award winners in each of its eight regions.
Highlights of the season included Jakob Butturff’s record nine PBA Regional titles, which resulted in Northwest and West Player of the Year honors, and PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr., who was a member of the winning Decker Appraisal Services Baker Trios team in Harrisonburg, Va., to earn his 100th overall title in PBA competition.
The PBA’s regional program, founded in 1970, provides bowlers with a proving ground to develop their skills in high-level competition against some of the sport’s established stars.
Award winners were announced by the PBA’s regional managers: Russ Mills, East Region; Sam Zurich, South Region; Bob Jakel, Central Region; Rich Weber, Midwest Region; Pete McCordic, Southwest Region; Gary Mage, West and Northwest Regions, and Junia Yoshida, Japan Region.
Here’s a summary of 2016 PBA Regional award winners:
East – Matt O’Grady of Rahway, N.J., took Player of the Year honors with three top three finishes including one win and two thirds. Rookie of the Year went to Cody Shoemaker of Hanover, Pa., who cashed in five of seven events and had one match play appearance. PBA50 Player of the Year honors went to Ray Edwards of Middle Island, N.Y., who had four top-five finishes including one win. The Pat Patterson recipient in the East was PBA50 Tour player Warren Burr of Wilmington, Del.
South – Two-time PBA Tour winner Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Fla., took Player of the Year thanks to five top-five finishes including two wins. Rookie of the Year went to Trevor Roberts of Crystal River, Fla., who made match play in six of seven events and had a best finish of third. PBA50 Player of the Year went to Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Fla. with four top three finishes including two wins, a second and third-place finish. The Pat Patterson Award winner was Todd Wilson of Summerville, N.C.
Central – Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind. earned Player of the Year honors with seven top-five finishes including one win and four second-place finishes. Graham Fach, who made history as the first Canadian to win a PBA Tour title when he won the 2016 Barbasol PBA Players Championship, earned Rookie of the Year honors with three wins and a fifth-place finish. Former PBA Tour veteran Brian Kretzer of Kettering, Ohio earned PBA50 Player of the Year with five top-three finishes including two wins. The Pat Patterson Award went to Dick Gran of Hartville, Ohio.
Midwest – 2011 USBC Masters champion Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, earned Midwest Player of the Year honors for the third time with five top-three finishes including one win, three runner-up and one third-place finish. Winning PBA50 Player of the Year honors was Dave Williams Jr. of Omaha with four top-five finishes including one win, one runner-up, one fourth and one fifth-place finish. No Rookie of the Year award was voted on in the Midwest. Gerald Marrs of Huntley, Ill. was the Pat Patterson award recipient.
Southwest – Player of the Year honors went to Chris Hibbitts of Keller, Texas with five top-finishes including two wins. Rookie of the Year went to 2016 Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year and U.S. Open winner Francois Lavoie of Wichita, Kan. The Canadian native had four top-five finishes including one win and one runner-up finish. No PBA50 Player of the Year or Pat Patterson Award was awarded in the Southwest.
Northwest – If there was an overall award for Regional Player of the Year it would have to go to Jakob Butturff of Chandler, Ariz., who earned Regional Player of the Year in both the Northwest and West regions by winning a record nine PBA regional titles during the 2016 season, breaking the previous record of eight held by Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas. Other award winners in the Northwest were Darren Tang of San Francisco who earned Rookie of the Year honors with two third-place and one fifth-place finish. Northwest PBA50 Player of the Year went to Rob Rice of Sunnyside, Calif., who won two PBA50 Regionals and also had a third and fifth-place finish. No Pat Patterson award was awarded in the Northwest region.
West – Darren Tang also claimed Rookie of the Year honors in the West with one win, a second and fourth-place finish. PBA50 Tour standout Ron Mohr of Las Vegas earned PBA50 Player of the Year thanks to three wins, a second and fourth-place finishes. Jim Gordin, proprietor of Yosemite Lanes in Modesto, Calif., and a PBA50 competitor, won the Pat Paterson award winner in the West.
Japan – Bowler of the Year went to Takahiro Sato, Rookie of the Year is Masaki Noda, and Japan’s Pat Patterson Award recipient is the Sekiyu Co., Ltd.
The PBA conducted approximately 150 regional events during the 2016 season, including standard events, PBA50 and PBA60 events for players 50 and/or 60 years and older, “challenge” events for players who had not previously won PBA titles, and PWBA-PBA Women’s Regional events. The leading players in competition points in standard and PWBA-PBA Women’s events from each region were awarded paid entries into GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VIII in Reno, Nev., in December, and were invited to compete for berths in the PBA Regional and PWBA-PBA Women’s Regional Challenge finals.