PBA League Expands, Belmo’s Injury, and More in PBA Spare Shots

by Bill Vint, Professional Bowlers Association 0

Maybe one of the reasons why the fans in Portland, Maine have embraced the Professional Bowlers Association and its players so strongly, and vice versa, is that the visits to Maine’s largest city (fewer than 67,000 residents) have become much more than bowling competitions.

The latest example took place on Sunday, April 7, when Bayside Bowl — in collaboration with the PBA and its friends at City of Portland, MaineVisit Portland MainePortland Regional Chamber of Commerce and Portland Downtown — gave 30 Portland Middle and High school students the opportunity of a lifetime to bowl with eight of the world’s best bowlers in a pre-PBA Playoffs special event.

Portland and the PBA will have two more opportunities to light up the bowling world in 2019. The four finalists in the inaugural PBA Playoffs competition will return to Bayside Bowl Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2, for the semifinal and final rounds of the PBA Playoffs that will be televised live on FOX at noon EDT both days.

Six weeks later, the PBA League will return to Bayside Bowl for the fifth consecutive year July 16, 17 and 18 for live coverage of all rounds of the Elias Cup competition. FS1 will air four shows including the quarterfinal round in two shows on Tuesday, July 16, at 7 and 9 p.m.; the semifinals on Wednesday, July 17 at 9 p.m., and the Elias Cup championship finals on Wednesday, July 18 at 9 p.m. All times are Eastern.

To purchase tickets while limited supplies last, visit https://www.pba.com/Tickets and click on the link to the specific event you’d like to attend.


In news related to the PBA’s relationship with Portland, PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark announced during the 2019 PBA League Draft held Monday at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine, that the PBA League will expand from eight to 10 teams in 2020.

The PBAL made its debut in 2013 with eight teams tied to cities across the U.S. The initial competition included preliminary rounds at Thunderbowl Lanes in suburban Detroit with the first Elias Cup finals held at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. The second PBAL event was held at Thunderbowl and Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick, N.J., before it made its debut at Bayside Bowl in 2015. The first Elias Cup competition held in Portland was the first PBA event ever held in Maine.

No further details regarding the PBAL’s expansion plans were revealed, but Clark made a point to note that adding two more teams will provide PBA members will additional opportunities to experience what has become one of the PBA Tour’s most coveted events.


• A freak accident during a youth bowling event prior to the USBC Masters has played a hand – no pun attended – in slowing Jason Belmonte’s dominating season in 2019, including his bid for a 12th major championship in the Masters, an event he had previously won a record four times.

As told to FloBowling senior editor Lucas Wiseman, the 35-year-old Australian two-handed player explained his injury:

“I had my hand in a ball, and I was giving some of the kids a tip,” Belmonte said. “As I swung the ball back with one hand, one of the fellas was holding his ball, and he had moved a little bit. So, when I swung it back, my finger in the ball got jammed into the ball the young fella was holding. As soon as I did it, it split open and started bleeding and the bruising and swelling came up pretty quick.”

The cut, across the crease below his fingertip on his index finger, and the bruising and swelling accompanying the injury, forced Belmonte to bowl using only his ring and little fingers to grip the ball – something he said he had “never done before.” The result was a 194.73 average for his 15 qualifying games in the Masters and a 169th-place finish – well below the cut line.

Belmonte was hoping for rapid healing before his next major test – a Round of 16 match against fellow two-hander Kyle Troup in the inaugural PBA Playoffs. Belmonte was the runaway top qualifier for the Playoffs, earning a first-round bye, and will face Troup – who eliminated PBA Hall of Famer Chris Barnes in his opening Round of 24 match – in a Round of 16 match that will air on Monday, April 22, at 9 p.m. EDT on FS1.


Thomas Simmons of Plano, Texas, tried 32 times to out-bowl PBA World Champion Jason Belmonte in the special PBA Bowling Challenge game for mobile device players, and his persistence resulted in a victory in Concrete Software’s special event held in conjunction with the 10th anniversary PBA World Series of Bowling.

As the contest winner, Simmons earned a PBA bowling pin autographed by Belmonte plus 5,000 gold pins to use in the PBA Bowling Challenge for mobile devices. The WSOB X special event resulted in 20,346 entries (including 11,357 re-entries by 2,269 unique users). Simmons was selected at random among the players who posted a score higher than the 236 game Belmonte rolled to win the PBA World Championship.


England’s Dom Barrett and Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, captains of the international and United States teams for the upcoming Weber Cup competition set for Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, have completed their team rosters.

Barrett has selected fellow Englishman Stuart Williams and Finnish two-hander Osku Palermaa to join Swedish two-hander Jesper Svensson on the international team while Barnes’ United States team will include left-hander Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Ariz., and a pair of two-handed players – Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas, and Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C. Svensson and Butturff earned their berths based on the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour competition points standings; Williams, Palermaa, Simonsen and Troup were captains’ picks.

The Weber Cup, traditionally held in England, will make its debut on American soil June 18-21 just ahead of International Bowl Expo which will take place June 23-27 at the Paris Hotel and Las Vegas Convention Center. Tickets are on sale now atwww.webercup.com.


Canadian Francois Lavoie, PBA’s 2016 Rookie of the Year and the reigning PBA Southwest Region Player of the Year, defeatedAnthony Lavery-Spahr of Pasadena, Texas, 211-209, to win the eighth annual PBA FireLake/Grand Casino Resort Southwest Open presented by Brunswick.

The title was Lavoie’s seventh in PBA Regional competition and his third at FireLake. He also earned $2,700.

Lavoie, who now lives in Wichita, Kan., struck on his first shot in the 10th frame and then spared a 10 pin to finish with a 211. Lavery-Spahr needed three strikes to deny Lavoie the title, but he left three pins standing on his last shot to finish with 209.

Lavoie finished second in qualifying, averaging 242 plus to receive byes directly into the Round of 8 where he defeated Paul Henderson of Watauga, Texas, 2-0, in their best-of-three-game match. Lavoie then defeated Austin Boulds of Creal Springs, Ill., 269-235, to advance to the championship match.

The pro-am portion of the event included a fundraiser for the Shawnee area Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter. FireLake’s pro-ams have now raised more than $100,000 over the past eight years for that cause.

• Headlining the April 12-14 PBA Regional schedule will be the Bowlers Discount Pro Shop Open presented by DV8 at AMF Towson Lanes in Towson, Md.; the Debbie and Leo Nunan Memorial Central Open presented by Track at AMF Stardust Lanes in Grove City, Ohio; the Jac’s Lanes Valdosta South Open presented by DV8 in Valdosta, Ga., and the PBA and PBA50 Earl Anthony West/Northwest Memorial doubleheader at Earl Anthony’s Dublin Bowl in Dublin, Calif.

• The only event heading into the Easter weekend is the PBA50 Sarasota Ford South Open April 18-20 at Sarasota Lanes in Florida.

• Closing the April PBA Regional calendar over the April 26-28 weekend will be the Houston Copperfield Bowl Southwest Challenge for non-title winners, presented by Global 900; the Brighton Construction Myrtle Beach South Open at Myrtle Beach Bowl in South Carolina; the Oklahoma City Southwest Open presented by Roto Grip at Planet Bowl in Oklahoma; the PBA/PBA50 Tumwater Lanes Doubles event presented by MOTIV in Tumwater, Wash., and the Greater Richmond Central Open at Richmond 40 Bowl in Richmond, Ind.

● For complete PBA Regional schedules, 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…and remember, 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).

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