Tommy Jones wins PBA Player of the Year award


    PBA News

    O'Neill, Jurek also take home honors

    The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) announced today the season-ending awards for the 2005-06 Denny's PBA Tour campaign. Tommy Jones has been named the Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year, Bill O'Neill was awarded the Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year and Jack Jurek was voted the Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner.

    2004JPNCupTommyJones3.jpg Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., won a Tour-high four titles for the second consecutive season, becoming the first bowler to win as many as eight titles over two seasons since Parker Bohn III in 1998 and '99. One of Jones' four titles was his first career Major, which came in the 63rd U.S. Open in February.

    In his fifth season on Tour, Jones led all bowlers in earnings with $301,700, the third-highest single-season total of all-time. He also finished second in points (237,886), tied for first in match play appearances (19), tied for second in TV appearances (6) and finished fifth in average (221.68).

    "Obviously it's an honor when it's voted on by your peers, but this year with bowling writers voting for the first time it means that much more," said Jones, who finished second in last year's Player of the Year voting. "There are so many great bowlers who haven't won the award and even more great bowlers who have won, so to be put in that category means a lot."

    The 27-year-old started the season off with a bang, winning the first two tournaments on the schedule. He defended his Japan Cup title by winning five matches in the championship round to capture the Dydo Japan Cup 2005, then won the season's first event on American soil, the 2005 Tulsa Championship. Jones' other title came in the 2006 Bayer Atlanta Classic.

    Jones, who won the 2002 Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year Award, joins PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby as the only two bowlers in Tour history to win both awards in their career.

    WRW_3698.jpg 2005PBA19NormDuke_small.jpg Norm Duke (left), Clermont, Fla., was second in the PBA Player of the Year voting after making a Tour-high seven championship round appearances and winning one title. Walter Ray Williams Jr. (right), Ocala, Fla., who tied Earl Anthony for most career Tour victories when he won his 41st title in the 2006 Denny's World Champions, was third. Others receiving votes were Patrick Allen, Chris Barnes, Wes Malott, Mike Scroggins, Ryan Shafer and Pete Weber.

    The PBA Player of the Year Award is named after long-time television play-by-play announcer Chris Schenkel. The late Schenkel provided commentary for the PBA on ABC for 36 years and was elected to the PBA Hall of Fame in 1976.

    Bill ONeill.jpg O'Neill, Levittown, Pa., led all rookies in points – finishing 28th in the 2005-06 PBA World Point Rankings – as well as earnings ($61,080), match play appearances (11) and average (215.06).

    The rookie nearly won a title in his first career television appearance, finishing second in the 2005 Greater Omaha Classic early in the season.

    "You only have one chance to be Rookie of the Year, and there were some pretty good bowlers so it feels very good to win," said O'Neill. "It's something I have always wanted to win and there have been a lot of great bowlers who have won in the past and have gone on to great careers. It's a nice stepping stone for me."

    At 24 years old, O'Neill came into the 2005-06 campaign as the youngest of the 58 exempt bowlers, appearing in just three Denny's PBA Tour events prior to the 2005-06 season. He made an appearance in the 62nd U.S. Open as an amateur during the 2004-05 season and finished sixth. He became a PBA member just days later.

    2005PBA14SeanRash_small.jpg Dino Castillo.jpg Sean Rash (left), Wichita, Kan., who became the first non-exempt bowler ever to win a Denny's PBA Tour event when he captured the 2006 West Virginia Championship for his first career title, finished second. The 23-year-old bowled in 13 Denny's PBA Tour Qualifying Rounds in 2005-06, advancing to the Round of 64 twice. Also receiving votes were Dino Castillo (right), Andres Gomez and Ben Laughlin.

    The Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year Award is named after PBA Hall of Famer Harry Golden, who served as the PBA Tour's Tournament Director for 29 years before retiring in 1990. The award was not handed out for the 2004-05 Tour season since no bowler fit the criteria to be nominated for the award. The criteria were changed for this season, with bowlers no longer needing to earn an exemption to be eligible.

    2006PBAStveNagyAwardJackJurek.jpg Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., won his first career PBA Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award. The 43-year-old has bowled on Tour part-time for 20 years, but the 2005-06 season was his first as an exempt bowler. He earned his exemption for 2005-06 by finishing first in the 2004-05 PBA Central Region point rankings.

    Jurek regained his exempt status for 2006-07 by finishing 30th in the 2005-06 PBA World Point Rankings. He made one championship round appearance, finishing fourth in the 2005 Empire State Classic in Clifton Park, N.Y. He established career highs in earnings ($53,075), cashes (19), match play appearances (8) and average (216.28).

    Blaise Bedolla.jpg Tommy Delutz.jpg Tommy Delutz Jr. (left) finished second while Blaise Bedolla (right), Dino Castillo, Joe Ciccone, Rick Lawrence and Mike Edwards also received votes.

    Steve Nagy, a member of the United States Bowling Congress and PBA Halls of Fame, is the namesake of the PBA's Sportsmanship Award. The award is given annually to the PBA professional who demonstrates the highest degree of sportsmanship on Tour.

    The Denny's PBA Tour Awards are voted on by PBA members and the U.S. media after the completion of the 2005-06 season.