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Denver Broncos’ CJ Anderson to bowl in PBA Jonesboro Open

CJ Anderson, who helped the underdog Denver Broncos upset the heavily favored Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, made his debut in Professional Bowlers Association competition over the weekend in the PBA Planet Bowl Southwest Open in Oklahoma City, and is already making plans for his second appearance in the Downums Waste Services PBA Jonesboro Open presented by Xtra Frame at Jonesboro Bowling Center in Jonesboro, Ark., June 3-5.

The fact that he tied for 64th place out of 71 entries doesn’t bother him a bit. The fact that he averaged a modest 173.8 for his first eight games in a PBA Regional tournament for players in the southwest area of the U.S. is nothing more than a learning experience.

Being an underdog is nothing new for the 25-year-old Anderson, who signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of the University of California in 2013, and three years later was wearing a Super Bowl ring.

Bowling at the highest level is just another challenge Anderson decided he wanted undertake as a personal yardstick. Competing against bowlers who have grown up with a sport that Anderson just took up three years ago isn’t exactly the same as running into a wall of 300-pound linemen, but it’s less painful and a whole lot more fun.

“It was fun,” Anderson said of his PBA debut. “I learned a lot. That was my first time bowling in a PBA event. It was the first time I’ve bowled on the Cheetah lane condition. Bowling on a short (35-foot) pattern like that was not my best, but my last four games were higher than my first four, so I was happy with that.

“It’s a matter of my needing to know what to do as the pattern breaks down, so that’s what I was working on,” he said. “I’ve only been bowling for three years, so to put myself in position to bowl in an event like this…I’m pretty happy.”

2012PBAEastBrettCooper.jpg2011USBCGoldCoachHankBoomershine.jpgAnderson bowls a lot, and he’s under the watchful eye of PBA member and veteran regional competitor Brett Cooper (left; “I call him my boss,” Anderson said), as well as Storm Products’ Hank Boomershine (right), the company’s Vice President of North American Sales, Research and Development in addition to being a USBC Gold Level Coach.

Anderson, PBA fans may recall, was a celebrity participant in the 2016 Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational, where his unorthodox “wrong-foot” delivery was first noted. Unlike traditional right-handed bowlers who finish their approach by sliding on their left foot, Anderson slides on his right foot. Cooper and Boomershine are trying to help Anderson maximize his style rather than try to change it.

“It’s comfortable for me,” Anderson said. “That’s the way I’ve bowled since I started. It’s a matter of execution – staying down, hitting your target, all that stuff. I’m using the same tools Pete Weber, Norm Duke, all those guys use, so if I executive the shot, I get the same result.

“I’ve been around some of those bowlers. I’m always around Brett and Hank Boomershine. My goal is to stay consistent,” he said. “I want those guys to like the way the ball comes off my hand.”

2014PBAWSOBJohnBurkett.jpgIn Oklahoma City, Anderson was out-scored by 55 pins a game by his mentor, Cooper, the eventual tournament winner. He also was 30 pins a game behind former major league baseball star John Burkett (left), who averaged 207 in finishing 22nd.

Burkett got his feet wet in PBA competition while he was still an active major league pitched, and is now an established competitor on the PBA50 Tour. Anderson is eager at the front edge of his learning curve, and he’s eager to try it again.

Anderson will take his game to another plateau in early June in Jonesboro, where a stronger field of PBA Tour champions is expected to compete for a PBA Tour title along with a $15,000 first prize.

He also hopes his experience practicing with Cooper on a wide range of PBA animal patterns, including the longer oiling patterns that power players tend to favor, will suit his game better.

“I understand the Jonesboro tournament will be a long pattern,” Anderson said. “That means I’ll get to throw my heavy stuff, like I like to throw, so I think the outcome will be a little better for me.

“I’m just happy to be part of it,” he concluded. “My goal is to get better and win, and I’ve got the right people in my corner.”

The Downums Waste Services PBA Jonesboro Open presented by Xtra Frame will be covered live, from start to finish, by PBA’s Xtra Frame online video-streaming service.

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2016 PBA Tour Schedule & Champions

PBA Jonesboro Open Schedule

Jonesboro Bowling Center in Jonesboro, Ark., USA (June 3-5, 2016); all times are CDT

Friday, June 3, 2016
1 p.m. – A Squad Practice Session
3 p.m. – B Squad Practice Session
6 & 8:30 p.m. – Pro-am Squads

Saturday, June 4, 2016
8 a.m. – A Squad, 8 qualifying games
2:30 p.m. – B Squad, 8 qualifying games
(Top 1/3 of field advances to cashers round)

Sunday, June 5, 2016
8:30 p.m. – Cashers Round, 5 games
(Top 16 after 13 games advance to match play)
Noon – Top 16, 8 games Modified Round Robin Match Play
(Top four after 21 games advance to stepladder finals)
5:45 p.m. – Top four stepladder finals

Author: Herbert Bickel
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