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Aussie Sam Cooley takes early lead in PBA Players Championship


2015PBASamCooley2.jpg2015PBAParkerBohn.jpgSam Cooley, a 25-year-old Australian who made his Professional Bowlers Association debut in the PBA Fall Classic in Las Vegas in October, out-scored a little-known Canadian, a ranking international star and a trio of PBA Hall of Famers to take the first round lead in the Barbasol PBA Players Championship Tuesday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.

Cooley (pictured left), who has yet to qualify for a PBA stepladder finals, averaged 256.38 Tuesday behind games of 257, 300, 279, 209, 236, 266, 226 and 278 for an eight-game total of 2,051 pins to take a 47-pin lead over 35-time titlist Parker Bohn III (right) of Jackson, N.J. and Canadian Graham Fach (below left), who shared second place with 2,004 pins.

2014USBCOCGrahamFach.jpg2015PBADomBarrett.jpgEngland’s Dom Barrett (right), a four-time PBA Tour winner including the 2012 PBA World Championship, was fourth with 1,999 pins, just ahead of 37-time PBA Tour champion Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo. (1,983 pins); and 38-time winner Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla. (1,953 pins).

Cooley, a member of Australia’s national team, admitted he has been a little star-struck bowling with and against the PBA greats in his limited career, but “now I’m watching these guys a little, and it’s a matter of ‘wow, Pete’s bowling a good game…and now it’s my turn to bowl.’ I’m not dwelling on it.

“It’s good to be ahead of them, but tomorrow’s a new day. In my previous tournaments I’ve had really good starts and I tend to get carried away with things. I’m learning that each day is its own tournament. You have to take each day on its own. You can start good, catch a bad pair of lanes and it plays on my mind. I have to learn to focus on not worrying about scores, but making good shots all of the time.”

2015PBAPeteWeber.jpg2015PBANormDuke.jpgAmong the early leaders, Weber (left) is the only player who has previously won the PBA Players Championship (1992). With the tournament returning to major championship status this year, Weber, 53, has a chance to win an 11th career major and break his tie with Earl Anthony for the all-time PBA record.

Duke (right), 51, has a chance to add the only title he needs to complete the so-called “Super Slam” of PBA major titles. He has already won the U.S. Open, PBA Tournament of Champions, PBA World Championship and United States Bowling Congress Masters. A fifth different major in the PBA Players Championship would match a feat only fellow hall of famer Mike Aulby has accomplished.

But Weber, who hobbled into the bowling center after an acupuncture treatment for a lingering hip injury, and Duke, who has been battling a chronic pinched nerve issue in his neck, need to stay healthy.

“I trained really well coming into this swing (of three consecutive major championships),” Duke said. “I was strong, I was ready, but I tweaked my neck a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been trying to get myself healthy to make good shots. I figure if I can keep my health together, I like my chances. I still feel like I’m very good, but I have to stay healthy.”

2016BarbasolPBAPlayersChampionshipLogo_small.jpgThe PBA Players Championship continues with second eight-game qualifying round for all players Wednesday at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET. The top 36 players after 16 games will then advance to an eight-game cashers round at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Based on 24-game pinfall totals, the top 24 players will advance to eight-game round-robin match play rounds at 5 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday. All preliminary rounds will be covered live, exclusively on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video-streaming service.

After 48 games, the top five players will compete for the $40,000 first prize live on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Immediately following Sunday’s live Barbasol PBA Players Championship finals at 3 p.m. ET, ESPN will air the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by the PBA from Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.

The WBT finals will feature three men (England’s Dom Barrett, Australia’s Jason Belmonte and Mike Fagan of Berkley, Calif.) and three women (Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J.; Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., and Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y.) in stepladder finals which will be contested using an experimental World Bowling scoring system.

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BARBASOL PBA Players Championship – First Round Standings

Players with position, hometown and 8-game total

1, Sam Cooley, Australia, 2,051
2 (tie), Graham Fach, Ontario, Canada, and Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 2,004
4, Dom Barrett, England, 1,999
5, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 1,983
6, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,953
7, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 1,944
8, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 1,939
9, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,927
10 (tie), Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., and Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 1,926
12, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 1,920
13, J.R. Raymond, Bay City, Mich., 1,905
14, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 1,896
15, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 1,893
16, Mike Eaton Jr., Cincinnati, 1,892
17, Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 1,884
18, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 1,883
19 (tie), Jason Belmonte, Australia; Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa; f-Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Ronnie Sparks Jr., Ecorse, Mich., 1,881
23, John Szczerbinski, N. Tonawanda, N.Y., 1,877
24, Brian Himmler, Cincinnati, 1,874
25, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1,871
26, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,867
27, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 1,863
28, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 1,856
29, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,852
30, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 1,850
31, Miguel Lopez, Wichita, Kan., 1,847
32, Anthony Simonsen, Princeton, Texas, 1,845
33, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 1,844
34, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 1,842
35, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 1,841
36, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 1,840
37, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 1,835
38 (tie), Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., and Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 1,829
40, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 1,828
41, Lucas Legnani, Argentina, 1,825
42, Francois Lavoie, Wichita, Kan., 1,824
43, Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 1,823
44, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 1,822
45, Tim Foy Jr., Seaford, Del., 1,820
46, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 1,819
47, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 1,812
48, Chad Roberts, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, 1,807
49, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 1,804
50 (tie), Patrick Allen, South Salem, N.Y., and Josh Conner, Columbus, Ohio, 1,799
52, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 1,798
53, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 1,796
54, John Furey, Freehold, N.J., 1,795
55, David Simard, Quebec, Canada, 1,793
56, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 1,783
57, Patrick Girard, Canada, 1,780
58, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,777
59, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 1,776
60, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1,774
61, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,771
62, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 1,765
63, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 1,762
64 (tie), Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., and David Haynes, Las Vegas, 1,754
66, f-Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 1,751
67, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 1,750
68, Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 1,749
69, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 1,745
70, A.J. Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 1,744
71, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 1,739
72 (tie), Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C.; Manuel Otalora, Colombia, and Andrew Cain, Phoenix, 1,735
75, Tom Carter, Columbus, Ohio, 1,728
76, Jaime Gonzalez, Colombia, 1,724
77 (tie), Johnathan Bower, Middletown, Pa., and Gregory Thompson Jr., Dublin, Calif., 1,720
79, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 1,712
80, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 1,705
81, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,700
82, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 1,699
83, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 1,694
84, B.J. Moore III, Apex, N.C., 1,693
85, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 1,691
86, f-Liz Kuhlkin, Rotterdam, N.Y., 1,683
87, f-Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 1,682
88 (tie), Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., and Sean Johnson, Moundsville, W.V., 1,675
90, Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas, 1,672
91 (tie), Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., and Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., 1,668
93, Wayne Webb, Columbus, Ohio, 1,663
94, Brett Cunningham, Clay, N.Y., 1,661
95, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla., 1,660
96, Steven Arehart, Chesapeake, Va., 1,658
97, Jakob Butturff, Chandler, Ariz., 1,656
98, Carleton Chambers, Detroit, 1,652
99, Brandon Dye, Columbus, 1,650
100, Stuart Williams, England, 1,649
101, Terrance Bright, Atlanta, 1,645
102, Andrew Graff, Las Vegas, 1,639
103, Tony Johnson, Canton, Ohio, 1,638
104, Kyle Bigelow, Troy, Ohio, 1,626
105 (tie), f-Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., and Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,616
107, f-Rocio Restrepo, Colombia, 1,614
108, Anthony Kennard, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 1,608
109, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,597
110, John Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 1,587
111, Frankie Mazzella, Staten Island, N.Y., 1,565
112, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 1,551
113, Joshua Weiner, Hilliard, Ohio, 1,544
114, Trey Ford III, Bartlesville, Okla., 1,535
115, Chris Colella, Templeton, Mass., 1,525
116, Brad Miller, Maryland Hts, Mo., 1,512
117, Mark Nance Sr., Grove City, Ohio, 1,495
118, Frank Bellavia Jr., Niagara Falls, N.Y., 1,467
119, James Owens, Vernon, N.Y., 1,413
120, Larry Helton, Bolingbrook, Ill., 1,396

300 Games (4) – Stuart Williams, Anthony Pepe, Sam Cooley, Andres Gomez.

Herbert Bickel

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