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24th Malta Open Championships
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This year, in addition to a $15,000 first prize and a PBA Tour title (if the winner is a PBA member), players are competing for PBA Xtra Frame Storm Cup series points, which are awarded to the top 20 players in each of seven tournaments in the series.
Middletown is the sixth of seven Storm Cup series events which will reward the top five in points with shares of $50,000 in bonus prize, including $20,000 to the winner.
Heading into Delaware, the top five Storm Cup points leaders are: EJ Tackett (left; 64), Marshall Kent (62), Dom Barrett (60), Dick Allen (59) and Josh Blanchard (47). Blanchard is two points ahead of Ryan Ciminelli.
Whether or not youth will prevail in Middletown remains to be seen, because age-and-wisdom has proven to be the winning commodity the past two seasons.
In 2016, it was Michael Haugen Jr. (pictured above) of Phoenix who took the title on the eve of launching his PBA50 Rookie of the Year campaign. In 2015, victory went to the older-and-wiser Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., a 30-year PBA Tour veteran who ended a 12-year title slump with a 254-144 romp past then-22-year-old Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash. The 2014 champ was PBA Hall of Famer Jason Couch of Clermont, Fla., who came out of retirement to win.
The 2017 field coming to Mid-County Bowling and Entertainment will include veteran PBA Tour champions including Dick Allen of Columbia, S.C., who won last Sunday’s PBA Xtra Frame Chesapeake Open in Virginia; Patrick Allen of Elmwood Park, N.J.; England’s Dom Barrett (right); Josh Blanchard of Mesa, Ariz.; Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y.; Couch; Tom Daugherty of Tampa, Fla.; Ray Edwards of Middle Island, N.Y.; Haugen; Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C.; Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa.; Anthony Pepe of Elmhurst, N.Y.; Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill.; Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind.; Shafer; Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich.; two-hander Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C.; Danny Wiseman of Baltimore; Dave Wodka of Beavercreek, Ohio, and the winningest PBA player of them all, 47-time PBA Tour champion Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Fla.
Among the next-generation challengers will be reigning PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind.; Kent, the 2014 PBA Rookie of the Year; AJ Johnson (left) of Oswego, Ill.; San Francisco’s Tang brothers, Darren and Michael; PBA rookie Cristian Azcona of Puerto Rico, and several others who are trying to establish names for themselves.
The Delaware field also has a distinct international flavor, including Japan’s Shota Kawazoe and Malaysian two-hander Zulmazran (ZZ) Zulkifli.
The entire tournament will be covered live, exclusively by PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel. For subscription and schedule information click here.
The Gene Carter Pro Shop East Classic gets underway on Friday with a practice session for tournament players from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., followed by pro-am squads at 3, 5:15 and 8 p.m. when grassroots league bowlers – men, women, kids, seniors – can bowl with PBA stars for their own prizes.
Competition begins with three seven-game qualifying squads on Saturday with seven-game qualifying squads bowling at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The top 50 players will advance to a four-game cashers round Sunday at 9 a.m., after which the top 16 will bowl a modified 12-game round-robin match play round.
Based upon combined 23-game pinfall totals (including 30 bonus pins for matches won), the top four will compete in a stepladder finale at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Mid-County Bowling & Entertainment Center in Middletown, De., United States (August 18-20, 2017)
All times Eastern
Friday, Aug. 18, 2017
11 a.m. – Practice session
3 p.m. – AB Sports Junior Scholarship pro-am
5:15 and 8 p.m. – Anchor Buick-GMC/Williams Chevrolet pro-am squads
Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017
9 a.m. – A Squad, 7 qualifying games
4 p.m. – B Squad, 7 qualifying games
Top one-third of field after 7 games advances to match play
Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017
9 a.m. – Cashers round, 4 games (top 16 after 11 games advance to match play
1 p.m. – Top 16, 12 games modified round robin match play (top four after 23 games advance to stepladder finals)
6:30 p.m. – Top four stepladder finals.
Players with 10 or more points after five of seven events; 25 points are awarded to the winner, 19 to second place, 18 to third, etc. through 20th place. Bonus prize money payable at the end of the season will include $20,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place, $8,000 for third, $7,000 for fourth and $5,000 for fifth place.
1, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 64
2, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 62
3, Dom Barrett, England, 60
4, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 59
5, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 47
6, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 45
7, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 39
8 (tie), AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., and Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., 37
10, Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 35
11, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 32
12, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 29
13 (tie), Rhino Page, Orlando, FL, and Francois Lavoie, Quebec City, Quebec, 27
15 (tie), Cristian Azcona, Puerto Rico, and Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 26
17, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 25
18, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 24
19 (tie), Jakob Butturff, Chandler, Ariz.; Jason Sterner, Cocoa Beach, Fla.; Stuart Williams, England, and Anthony Caso, Spring Hill, Fla., 18
23 (tie), Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, and Shawn Maldonado, Houston, Texas, 17
25 (tie), Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., and Steven Arehart, Chesapeake, Va., 15
27, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 14
28 (tie), BJ Moore III, Greensburg, Pa.; Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, and Chris Spoo, Boynton Beach, Fla., 13
31 (tie), Kris Koeltzow, Wheat Ridge, Colo.; Andres Gomez, Colombia; Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., and Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 12
35, Jeff Piroozshad, Coral Springs, Fla., 11
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