Mike Fagan wins U.S. Open top qualifier race; tries for second consecutive "Major" title


    2011-12 PBA Tour #12

    Belmonte, Shafer, four-time winner Weber round out field for Sunday's ESPN finals

    201112PBAMikeFagan.jpg201112PBAJasonBelmonte.jpgMike Fagan (pictured left) of Dallas emerged as the top qualifier for Sunday's finals in the 69th U.S Open at Brunswick Zone-Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J., when he will try to become the first player in nearly four years to win back-to-back major professional bowling championships.

    Fagan will be joined in the championship round by Australia's Jason Belmonte (right), Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., and four-time U.S. Open winner Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., who advanced from 13th place to fourth during Saturday's final two rounds.

    The finals air live on ESPN at 3 p.m. Eastern.

    201112PBAPeteWeber.jpgWeber (left), a Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Fame, 35-time Tour titlist and one of only six to win the PBA Triple Crown of major championships, is the only player to win the modern U.S. Open four times. His late father, Dick Weber, and the late Don Carter, both won the BPAA All Star - the forerunner to the U.S. Open - four times.

    201112PBANormDuke.jpgFagan, a 10-year PBA competitor, won his third career title in the United States Bowling Congress Masters in late January. He earned the top spot for the finals by overtaking Belmonte and Shafer during Saturday night's final round of head-to-head match play, finishing with a 16-8 match play record and a 50-game total of 11,343 pins, including 30 bonus pins for each match won.

    If he wins the U.S. Open, Fagan will be the first player since Norm Duke (right) to win consecutive majors. In 2008, Duke won the PBA World Championship in February, the U.S. Open in March and a second PBA World Championship in October to become the only player ever to win three majors in a row.

    201112PBARyanShafer.jpgBelmonte, a two-handed player who won three of his four career PBA titles earlier this season in the PBA World Series of Bowling, qualified second with a 14-9-1 match play record and 11,279 pins. He is looking for his first major title.

    Shafer (left), who led the event from the second round until Saturday's morning match play round, will be trying for his fifth career title and his first major after advancing to the TV finals in a PBA-record 13 previous major championships without a title. Shafer posted an 11-13 record with 11,095 total pins.

    201112PBARhinoPage.jpgWeber, who turns 50 in August, clinched the final spot in the finals with a 14-10 match play record and 11,010 pins, beating Shafer in his final match of the night, 208-164, to top Rhino Page (right) of Dade City, Fla., by 32 pins.

    Defending champion Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., finished 14th. Missy Parkin of Lake Forest, Calif., the first woman ever to qualify for match play in the U.S. Open, finished 21st with a 9-14-1 match play record and 10,449 pins.

    First prize is $60,000 and includes an automatic berth in the Round of 36 for the end-of-season PBA Tournament of Champions.


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    69th U.S. Open - Seventh Round Results

    Players with position, hometown and 50-game total including match play bonus pins. The top four advance to the stepladder finals. * indicates non PBA members