FAIRLAWN, Ohio (Feb. 6, 2020) -- PBA legend Carmen Salvino was overcome with emotion as he threw his final shots in qualifying for his 30th and final PBA Tournament of Champions Thursday.
In front of a huge crowd at AMF Riviera Lanes, the 86-year-old Hall of Famer and 17-time Go Bowling PBA Tour winner extended his record as the oldest player to compete in a PBA Tour event.
PBA’s most famous showman is one of the few remaining links to the storied tournament’s origin dating back to the inaugural event in 1962. The 1962 TOC was held at Play Bowl in Indianapolis and was actually billed as the Indianapolis 500 Festival Tournament of Champions. It’s an often-overlooked event because the tournament would not be held again for three years.
In 1965, when Firestone began its landmark sponsorship, the classic moved to Bowlarama in Akron and then to AMF Riviera Lanes the following year where it remained for 29 years. PBA’s signature event made its return to AMF Riviera Lanes in 2018 after a 24-year absence.
“I never won the Tournament of Champions but it was always my favorite tournament,” said Salvino. “The biggest reason I kept coming back was the fans – they always made me feel special.
“Every athlete should be thankful for the fans because without the fans we can’t compete,” the Chicago native added. “If we don’t have the fans you don’t have a paycheck. The way the fans treated me here made the last 30 years all worthwhile whether I bowled good or bad.”
Salvino’s best TOC finish was third in the inaugural tournament. Joe Joseph won with a two-game total of 480 pins followed by fellow Michigan star Billy Golembiewski with 413 pins and Salvino with a 409 total.
“I knew it was going to be emotional for me but I was able to keep it under control until about the middle of the last game,” said Salvino as he bowled his final frames. “Then I started thinking that this was going to be the last time and that’s when it really got to me.”
It was Salvino’s 734th PBA Tour event since competing in the first PBA tournament ever held – the 1959 Empire State Open at Schade’s Academy in Albany, N.Y. He is a member of numerous Halls of Fame including the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame headquartered in the Chicago area and was ranked 17th on PBA’s 2009 list of 50 greatest players in PBA history.
Seven-time PBA Tour winner Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas took top-qualifier honors with a 4,011 18-game pinfall total (222.8 average) heading into Thursday evening’s first eight-game match play round which begins at 6 p.m. ET. The 23-year-old Simonsen is trying for his third his third PBA major title.
Defending champion Jason Belmonte of Australia narrowly made the match play field by taking the 24th and final position by one pin. The five-time and reigning PBA Player of the Year who is trying for a record fourth Tournament of Champions title, finished with a 3,753 pinfall, one pin ahead of Jon Van Hees of Charlestown, Rhode Island, who finished 25th with 3,752.
PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
(a 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 1 event)
AMF Riviera Lanes, Fairlawn, Ohio, Thursday
Third Round Standings (after 18 games. Top 24 players advance to first round of match play)
1, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, 4,011.
2, Cristian Azcona, Puerto Rico, 3,954.
3, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 3,951.
4, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 3,932.
5, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3,922.
6, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 3,908.
7, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo., 3,904.
8, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 3,898.
9, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,885.
10, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,870.
11, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 3,864.
12, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 3,848.
13, Stuart Williams, England, 3,831.
14, Richard Teece, England, 3,825.
15, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 3,823.
16, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 3,822.
17, Dick Allen, Lexington, S.C., 3,819.
18, AJ Chapman, Manchester, Iowa, 3,785.
19, Mitch Hupe, Canada, 3,784.
20, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 3,782.
21, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 3,776.
22, Dom Barrett, England, 3,766.
23, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 3,764.
24, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,753.
Failed to advance:
25, Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., 3,752, $2,500.
26, Tom Hess, Granger, Iowa, 3,721.
27, DJ Archer, Spring, Texas, 3,715.
28, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,710.
29, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,696.
30, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 3,692.
31, Darren Tang, Las Vegas, 3,689.
32, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,686.
33, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,674.
34, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 3,663.
35, BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 3,653.
36, (tie) Matthew Ogle, Louisville, Ky., and Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3,644.
38, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,624.
39, Rhino Page, Spokane, Wash., 3,616.
40, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,614.
41, Chris Collins, Myrlte Beach, S.C., 3,606.
41, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 3,606.
43, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 3,591.
44, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,573.
45, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,550.
46, (tie) Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., and Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 3,535.
48, Jason Sterner, Rochester, N.Y., 3,511.
49, Matt Sanders, Evansville, Ind., 3,502.
50, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 3,495.
51, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 3,484.
52, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 3,482.
53, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3,481.
54, Anthony Pepe, Long Island City, N.Y., 3,473.
55, Matt O'Grady, Rahway, N.J., 3,466.
56, Ryan Ciminelli, Lancaster, S.C., 3,454.
57, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 3,404.
58, Graham Fach, Canada, 3,338.
59, Carmen Salvino, Schaumburg, Ill., 2,714.