Newcomer and first-time television finalist Connor Pickford of Charlotte, N.C., will be hoping to upset a field of PBA Tour champions today when the finals of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling Viper Championship air on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET.
Opening the second telecast of the World Series will be the three-player shootout round featuring PBA titlists Mika Koivuniemi, Dom Barrett and Ronnie Russell. The player who bowls the highest game will meet Pickford in the title match.
Koivuniemi, who won a record fourth Brunswick Ballmaster Tournament in his native Finland earlier this season, will be trying for his 14th career Tour title. Russell, the winner of the 2014 Summer Swing Bear Open, will be trying for his third Tour title, and defending PBA World Championship winner Dom Barrett will be trying for his fifth Tour title.
Pickford, 22, is a fourth-year PBA member and a three-time PBA Regional winner who will be trying for his first PBA Tour title. He has a previous best Tour finish of 14th which came in the 2013 U.S. Open.
The Viper Championship is the second of five World Series Tour events on ESPN to be aired on consecutive Sundays through Jan. 11 at 1 p.m. ET. Following the Viper Championship will be the Chameleon Championship (Dec. 28) and the Scorpion Championship (Jan. 4). The PBA World Championship will wrap up the season with a live telecast on Sunday, Jan. 11 from the South Point Bowling Plaza at 1 p.m. ET.
ESPN World Series telecasts will conclude with the PBA Challenge presented by the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame Jan. 18 at 3 p.m. ET and the World Bowling Tour presented by PBA Men’s and Women’s Finals Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. ET.
Road to the PBA World Championship Finals:
The Viper Championship is the second of four qualifying events for the PBA World Championship, the third major and final tournament of the 2014 season.
Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas; Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas; Ronnie Russell of Marion, Indiana; Todd Book of Russells Point, Ohio, and Stuart Williams of England advanced to the World Championship finals based on 52 games of qualifying and match play during the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VI.
After 14 games of World Championship qualifying (seven from the Cheetah and seven from Viper Championships), Fagan ranked 5th, Malott, 11th, Russell, 14th; Book, 17th and Williams, 37th in the 240-player field.
Bowling fans can follow all the World Series of Bowling action through the PBA Network which includes wall-to-wall coverage of an expanded schedule of live events on Xtra Frame, player interactions through Facebook and Twitter, mobile gaming, original programming, archived events and immediate news updates 24/7 on varying communications devices anywhere in the world. For additional PBA Network information visit http://www.pba.com/PBANetwork