By Bill Vint
Professional Bowlers Association
RENO, Nev. – Sweden’s Jesper Svensson, a 20-year-old two-handed player, won his second Professional Bowlers Association Tour title, and first on American soil, when he defeated Germany’s Pascal Winternheimer, 267-193, to win the PBA Chameleon Championship presented by HotelPlanner.com at the National Bowling Stadium.
The Chameleon Championship aired Sunday on ESPN. It was the third of four “animal pattern” championships contested during the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII presented by Silver Legacy. It also was the first PBA Tour event held in the United States to feature an all-international field of finalists.
“It feels great. I didn’t expect it,” Svensson said. “I know how hard it is to win over here. This means everything to me; it’s really what I want to do.”
Svensson, a slender 6-foot-3 158-pound rookie, defeated England’s Stuart Williams, 245-188, in their semifinal round match while Winternheimer, bowling in his first PBA World Series, eliminated Denmark’s Thomas Larsen, 235-216, in the other semifinal match.
After an admitted nervous lapse in failing to convert a 3-5-6-10 spare attempt in his opening frame against Williams, Svensson went on a strike binge, throwing seven strikes in an eight-frame run to race away from Williams and then throwing nine strikes in his first 11 attempts against Winternheimer.
With his win, Svensson became the only PBA Tour rookie to win two titles in 2015. Earlier in the year, he captured the 13th Kingdom of Bahrain Open in Sitra, Bahrain, a PBA International Tour event.
“The biggest difference between winning here and in Europe is there are so many good bowlers here,” Svensson said. “To be able to win here is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me. I was a bit nervous at the start, but I was able to clear my mind and throw a couple of good shots.”
Like the majority of emerging two-handed players, Svensson began bowling with both hands as a toddler, but he is young enough that he was able to learn from other two-handed players who were beginning to establish themselves in the global bowling arena.
“I grew up watching the two-handers – (Finland’s) Osku (Palermaa) and Belmo (Australia’s Jason Belmonte) – as soon as I was old enough to use a computer,” he said. “I watched them on YouTube, maybe when I was around 10.”
Svensson’s future plans include bowling full-time in PBA Tour competition, beginning with the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions in Shawnee, Okla., Feb. 1-7.
PBA World Series coverage on ESPN continues with the finals of the PBA Scorpion Championship presented by Reno-Tahoe USA next Sunday at 1 p.m. EST. Finalists include Jason Sterner of Covington, Ga., vs. PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., and Rhode Island’s Jon Van Hees vs. Lonnie Waliczek of Wichita, Kan., in the semifinal round. The winners will bowl for the Scorpion title.