Mika Koivuniemi, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard crowned World Bowling Tour Finals champions


    2011 WBT Finals

    201112PBAMikaKoivuniemi.jpgThe inaugural World Bowling Tour point ranking winners, Mika Koivuniemi (pictured left) of Finland and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard of Keller, Texas, claimed the 2011 men's and women's World Bowling Tour Finals titles Thursday at the South Point Casino and Hotel.

    In the men's final, Koivuniemi defeated Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 237-224, while Dorin-Ballard defeated Sandra Andersson of Sweden, 207-162 for the women's title.

    The World Bowling Tour Finals consisted of the top three men and top three women on the final point list for the 2011 WBT season. Bowlers earned points based on their performance in the season's eight tournaments, including the Brunswick Ballmaster Open, the Bayer USBC Masters, the 68th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open, the Brunswick Euro Challenge, the Kuwait Open, the Korean Daejeon International Open, the Thailand Open and the Australian Masters.

    Koivuniemi, the reigning PBA Player of the Year, got off to a blistering start in the men's title match, throwing strikes in seven of the first eight frames. Rash left a 10 pin in a must-strike ninth frame, and his hopes of forcing Koivuniemi to mark in the 10th were dashed when he missed the spare in a losing effort.

    "I think I put a little too much pressure on myself the first couple of days of the World Series of Bowling," Koivuniemi said after the win, "but after a couple of days I calmed down. I know I have been bowling good and I am still bowling good, so I just have to focus on making good shots when I need to."

    2011WWCCarolynDorinBallard.jpgDorin-Ballard (pictured right), a member of Team USA, struggled with carry throughout the women's title match, leaving several pocket 10 pins. Once again, though, spare shooting was the deciding factor, as Andersson missed single-pin spares in each of her first two frames. Dorin-Ballard's all-clean game of 207 was more than enough to hold off Andersson, who finished with a 162.

    Dorin-Ballard enjoyed the unique advantage of having a ball rep who also happens to be her husband, as Professional Bowlers Association and United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Del Ballard currently is working as a ball rep for Storm/Roto-Grip, the bowling ball company that wife Dorin-Ballard represents.

    "Del has sacrificed a lot for me to travel and work, and even when he was sick he still gave up his time to come to the bowling center and work with me," Dorin-Ballard said of her husband, who was diagnosed with tonsil cancer in 2010. "I'm a lucky person, that's all I can say."

    The men's semifinal featured a much-anticipated match between noted rivals Rash and two-hander Jason Belmonte of Australia. Belmonte fell behind early as he missed a 10 pin in the third frame and opened again in the fifth when he left the 2-8-10 split. He pulled within 10 pins later in the match with a turkey, but needing to double in the 10th for the win he left a solid 10 pin on the first ball. Rash moved on by a score of 214-204.

    In the women's semifinal, Andersson took an early lead over a struggling Nina Flack of Sweden, who opened three of her first four frames. Andersson started her game with a double but opened the third frame with a 4-6-7 split and opened again in the fifth. Flack's early blunders proved too much to overcome, however, as she lost 190-160.

    The prize money for each division was the same, with the winner taking $10,000, second place earning $6,000 and third place winning $4,000.

    WBTLogo_small.jpg The 2012 World Bowling Tour features 14 tournaments in ten countries - Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Finland, France, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Thailand and the United States.

    The second season of the WBTA event kicks off Jan. 6-15 with the Ballmaster Open in Helsinki and concludes with the AMF Australian Masters in October. There will also be a World Bowling Tour Finals event with dates and venue to be determined

    The World Tenpin Bowling Association, which is made up of 115 bowling federations, governs the sport throughout the world.

    Courtesy of Bowl.com.


    2012 WTBA World Bowling Tour Schedule

    • Jan. 6-15 - Brunswick Ballmaster Open, Helsinki, Finland
    • Jan. 22-29 - United States Bowling Congress Masters, Henderson, Nev.
    • Jan. 28-Feb. 5 - WTBA International Open, Henderson, Nev.
    • Feb. 7-11 - International Bowling Championship 2012 supported by DHC, Hakata, Japan
    • Feb. 20-26 - U.S. Open, North Brunswick, N.J.
    • March 15-19 - Kuwait Open, Kuwait City, Kuwait
    • March 16-25 - Brunswick Euro Challenge, St. Maximin, France
    • April 19-24 - USBC Queens, Euless, Texas
    • May 14-20 - Bahamas International Bowling Classic 2012, Nassau, Bahamas
    • June 16-21 - Daejeon International Bowling Tournament, Daejeon, Korea
    • June 22-28 - Bowling's U.S. Women's Open, Reno, Nev.
    • Sept. 24-30 - World Bowling Tour Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand
    • Oct. 2-7 - Columbia 300 Vienna Open, Vienna, Austria
    • October - AMF Australian Masters, TBD

    There will also be a World Bowling Tour Finals event with dates and venue to be determined. Additional events may also be scheduled.


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