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24th Malta Open Championships
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Sunday’s 1 p.m. EST finals will be contested on lanes 27 and 28, the same pair of lanes where Wayne Zahn defeated top qualifier Dick Weber (right), 203-170, in the first Firestone TOC held at Riviera Lanes in 1966.
It’s the same pair of lanes that saw Jack Biondolillo (left) roll the first nationally-televised 300 game in PBA history in 1967; where Don Johnson (above) bowled his historic 299 game in winning the 1970 title, and where Mike Durbin (right) became the first three-time TOC champion with victories in 1972, 1982 and 1984.
The roster of players who won TOC titles on lanes 27 and 28 is a who’s who of future PBA Hall of Famers, including Norm Duke (left), who won the last TOC title contested on that pair of lanes in 1994.
What might be the most famous pair of lanes in the PBA’s 60-year history has undergone a significant change over the years, transitioning from natural wood to synthetic surfaces, but one thing that won’t change Sunday is the aura of nostalgia that will surround the setting as AMF Riviera Lanes adds another chapter to its colorful history.
If you’d like a taste of what the TOC was like in the good ol’ days, watch 1971 champion Johnny Petraglia’s interview on Facebook Live from Tuesday morning as he prepared to bowl his final TOC at the age of 70.
Capacity crowds will be on hand for the live ESPN finals of the PBA Tournament of Champions from AMF Riviera Lanes in Fairlawn, Ohio, Sunday, and for the Barbasol PBA Players Championship from Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, Feb. 25, the PBA has announced.
A full house also is expected for the Go Bowling! PBA 60th Anniversary Classic finals from Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis on Sunday, Feb. 18, but a few tickets are still available. Click here to reserve tickets on a first-come basis.
All three live ESPN telecasts, part of the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule, begin at 1 p.m. EST. The live Players Championship telecast will be part of a doubleheader in Columbus, followed by the finals of the Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship presented by BowlerX.com which will be lived streamed on ESPN3 at 4 p.m. EST on Feb. 25 and taped for broadcast by ESPN on Sunday, March 25, also at 1 p.m. EST.
The rivals in one of the 2017 season’s most exciting title matches will reflect on their duel Thursday when the newest edition of PBA Player’s Perspective on Xtra Frame features FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions winner EJ Tackett (l.) and runner-up Tommy Jones (r.).
Tackett’s 208-203 victory, which made him the youngest player ever to become title-eligible for the PBA Hall of Fame, came at Jones’ expense when he failed to convert the 1-2-4-10 washout in the 10th frame.
The win was Tackett’s second major to go along with seven standard PBA Tour titles, fulfilling the “titles won” criteria for future hall of fame consideration, but he won’t be “membership eligible” for induction until 2032 – his 20th year of PBA membership. Jones, an 18-time titlist, will become eligible for HOF induction in 2020.
The Xtra Frame Player’s Perspective series presents a new inside look at PBA competition every Thursday, followed a week later by availability of the exclusive interview on PBA’s YouTube channel.
Recent Perspective’s include Pete Weber re-living his emotional victory in the 2012 U.S. Open; Rhino Page‘s insights into the 2017 Xtra Frame Kenn-Feld Group Classic; Chris Barnes‘ victory in the 2015 DHC PBA Japan Invitational, and Tom Daugherty‘s emotional win in the 2016 Wolf Open. Additional perspectives will be announced in the coming weeks.
Next up on the PBA Regional calendar will be a PBA South Region doubleheader, PBA and PBA50 Break Point Alley Challenge events, both open to players who have not won a PBA title. Break Point Alley in Tavares, Fla., will host the doubleheader this weekend.
The PBA South Region’s second weekend of competition includes the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota Spartanburg South Open at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., over the Feb. 16-18 weekend.
For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, click here to find the event(s) in your area.
The PBA extends its congratulations to frequent Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational and former World Series of Bowling competitor Terrell Owens (right) on his election to the National Football League Hall of Fame.
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