A month after celebrating his 55th birthday, Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer, Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Florida, put himself into position to add to his stunning portfolio, advancing to the Round of 8 finals in the 28th Round1 Japan Cup Friday at Minami Suna Round 1.
Williams, the only player who has bowled in all 28 modern Japan Cups, will try for his third Japan Cup title and a 48th PBA Tour title – expanding upon his PBA titles record – when the eight finalists bowl for the $51,700 first prize on national television in Japan Saturday. The eight-time PBA Player of the Year hasn’t won a PBA Tour title since the 2010 United States Bowling Congress Masters.
Williams, the 1991 and 2006 Japan Cup winner, will join fellow PBA Tour competitors Mika Koivuniemi, Finland; Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, and Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., in the eight-man finals along with Japan’s Akio Ishihara and Takuya Miyazawa, and Korea’s Park Kyung Shin and Kim Young Kwan.
Williams advanced to the Round of 8 by sweeping Park Sang Pil, Korea, 3-0, and fellow PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., 3-0, before finally losing a game to Mike Fagan of Fort Worth, Texas, in a 3-1 win during Friday’s best-of-five-game elimination matches.
Another player pursuing a milestone first PBA Tour title is Kent, a former Robert Morris-Illinois University star and Team USA member, who needs a PBA victory to become eligible for the 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions in February.
Saturday’s finals will be a continuation of the bracket elimination matches, but matches will be one game.
ROUND1 JAPAN CUP
Minami Suna Round1, Tokyo, Friday
ROUND OF 16
(Best of five games; winners advance to Round of 8 finals, losers earned $2,840)
Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., def. Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, 3-1.
Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, def. Hiroyuki Kuretake, Japan, 3-2.
Akio Ishihara, Japan, def. Toshifumi Kojima, Japan, 3-0.
Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, def. Nobuhito Fujii, Japan, 3-2.
Park Kyung Shin, Korea, def. Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3-1.
Takuya Miyazawa, Japan, def. Yoshihiro Gima, Japan, 3-0.
Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., def. Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3-1.
Kim Young Kwan, Korea, def. Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3-2.
ROUND OF 32
(A Squad, winners advance to Round of 16, losers earned $1,375)
Gima def. Takashi Kudoh, Japan, 3-1.
Miyazawa def. Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 3-1.
Park def. Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3-1.
Jones def. Nobuaki Takahashi, Japan, 3-1.
Palermaa def. Shigeo Saito, Japan, 3-2.
Kim def. Stuart Williams, England, 3-2.
Malott def. Masanori Satoh, Japan, 3-2.
Kent def. Takuya Saitoh, Japan, 3-1.
(B Squad, winners advance to Round of 16, losers earned $1,375)
Koivuniemi def. Yugo Imakita, Japan, 3-1.
Kuretake def. Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3-1.
W.R. Williams def. Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3-0.
Fagan def. Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3-2.
Fujii def. Seo Jeng Hwan, Korea, 3-1.
Loschetter def. Hiroki Takada, Japan, 3-1.
Kojima def. Takeo Sakai, Japan, 3-2.
ROUND OF 64
(A Squad, winners advance to Round of 32, losers earned $685)
Sterner def. Shigenori Sakata, Japan, 3-1.
Malott def. Joji Takabuchi, Japan, 3-1.
Belmonte def. Brian Voss, Centennial, Colo., 3-0.
Kim def. Shinya Ishida, Japan, 3-2.
Palermaa def. Kengo Tagata, Japan, 3-0.
Takahashi def. Katsuhito Itoyama, Japan, 3-1.
Kent def. Tamiki Miike, Japan, 3-1.
Kudoh def. Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3-2.
Gima def. Choi Won Young, Korea, 3-2.
Saitoh def. Shunsuke Miyata, 3-1.
Jones def. Akio Harada, Japan, 3-0.
Saito def. Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3-2.
S. Williams def. Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 3-2.
Park def. Takahiro Satoh, 3-2.
Masanori Satoh def. Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3-0.
Miyazawa def, Hayato Hijikata, Japan, 3-0.
(B Squad, winners advance to Round of 32, losers earned $685)
Smallwood def. Kaname Yamamoto, Japan, 3-0.
Endo def. Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3-1.
Duke def. Yoshimi Kitaoka, Japan, 3-0.
Loschetter def. Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3-1.
Seo def. Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 3-1.
Ciminelli def. Eisuke Miyazaki, Japan, 3-0.
Sakai def. Jeong Tae Hwa, Korea, 3-1.
Koivuniemi def. Fumihiro Yoshida, Japan, 3-0.
Imakita def. Shuichi Heki, Japan, 3-0.
Kojima def. Jo Nam Yi, Korea, 3-0.
Fagan def. Shinichi Horie, Japan, 3-1.
Fuji def. Makoto Kawakami, Japan, 3-0.
Takada def. Dom Barrett, England, 3-1.
W.R. Williams def. Park Sang Pil, Korea, 3-0.
Ishihara def. Kenichi Kadokawa, 3-0.
Kuretake def. Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 3-0.