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24th Malta Open Championships
Slow Motion Video
Fach (pictured above and left), bowling in only his second PBA Tour event, was nearly perfect in winning the $40,000 first prize, a PBA major championship and a Barbasol shaving cream pie. His only flaw was leaving a 10 pin, which he converted, in the seventh frame while Ciminelli was almost as good, leaving and converting four single-pin spares.
“It’s a great feeling to win against players of this caliber,” Fach (pronounced “faw”) said. “They want to win, but obviously I want to win, too. I wasn’t sure I would be able to compete out here, but the only way to find out is come out and try. Now at least the PBA staff knows who I am.”
Fach, who earned his shot at the title when he escaped with a 247-244 win over Australia’s Sam Cooley (right) in the semifinal round, said the support he’s gotten from Canadian fans as well as friends and teammates from nearby Urbana (Ohio) University, where he completed his collegiate bowling career in 2015, has been “incredible.”
As happy as Fach was, Ciminelli was equally distraught. “One of these days someone is going to shoot 210 against me on TV and give me a chance,” he said. “It’s frustrating but there’s not much more I could do about it.”
In the first game of the finals, 21-year-old Swedish two-hander Jesper Svensson (left) struck on 10 of his first 11 shots, and converted a pivotal 4-7-10 split in the fifth frame to end PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke‘s bid to win a fifth different major championship, 274-258.
Duke, who had previously won the PBA World Championship, PBA Tournament of Champions, USBC Masters and U.S. Open, had hopes of joining Mike Aulby as the second player to win the PBA “Super Slam.”
“I fought hard,” the 51-year-old Duke (right) said. “I never created an advantage in this tournament that stuck out. I was the one hanging around all week, but I put together a game I was really proud of and sometimes it just isn’t enough. The hardest part is I have to wait another year for the opportunity.”
Cooley, in his PBA television debut, eliminated Svensson in the second match, 246-206.
The PBA Tour will take a break during “March Madness,” returning to competition with the PBA League Elias Cup competition and the Xtra Frame Maine Shootout in early April at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.
Ryan Ciminelli wins top berth for Sunday’s finals
Graham Fach rebounds to lead field into final match play rounds
Canadian rookie Graham Fach leads top 36 into Cashers’s Round
Aussie Sam Cooley out-scores Hall of Fame trio for early lead in PBA Players Championship
Past PBA Players Championship winners Belmonte, Norton, Bohn earn retroactive majors
Barbasol PBA Players Championship returns to major title status
2016 PBA Tour Schedule & Champions
Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus, Ohio, USA (Feb. 15-21, 2016)
1. Graham Fach, Ontario, Canada, 526 (2 games), $40,000
2. Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 244 (1 game), $20,000
3. Sam Cooley, Australia, 490 (2 games), $12,000
4. Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 480 (2 games), $11,000
5. Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 258 (1 game), $10,000
Graham Fach with Dean Bring for Barbasol (left), Elaine Webb for Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl and PBA CEO & Commiss Tom Clark (right).
First Match: No. 4 Svensson def. No. 5 Duke, 274-258
Second Match: No. 3 Cooley def. Svensson, 246-206
Semifinal Match: No. 2 Fach def. Cooley, 247-244
Championhsip: Fach def. No. 1 Ciminelli, 279-244.
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