Walter Ray Williams Jr. preparing for a more challenging PBA50 Tour Season


    2013 PBA50 Tour #1

    Reigning PBA50 Player of the Year feels the need to step up preparation for competing on two tours

    201213PBAWalterRayWilliams.jpgThe state of Florida will be well represented when the PBA50 Pasco County Suncoast Open benefitting Wounded Warriors launches the Professional Bowlers Association's 2013 PBA50 Tour season April 14-17 at Lane Glo Bowl in New Port Richey, Fla.

    Of the nearly 120 players entered to date, almost 40 are from the Sunshine State, and most notable among the Floridians is one of the PBA's living legends, reigning PBA50 Player of the Year Walter Ray Williams Jr. (pictured left) of Ocala.

    Williams, who has accumulated a record 47 Tour titles on the PBA Tour over a 30-season career, begins his fourth season on the PBA50 Tour. The PBA Hall of Famer, who also earned PBA50 Rookie of the Year in 2010, has won four PBA50 Tour titles.

    201213PBA03WalterRayWilliams.jpgHe will have his work cut out for him when a new crop of 50-years-and-older players who have become eligible in 2013, including fellow bowling great Pete Weber, will be competing in their PBA50 Tour rookie season.

    Williams has been encouraged by a better start to the 2012-13 regular PBA Tour season after a disappointing 2011-12 season where his best finish was 16th. He hopes to continue the momentum heading into the PBA50 Tour after notching a third-place finish in the Chameleon Championship, a seventh-place finish in the USBC Masters and finishing among the top qualifiers in the Japan Cup.

    "I'm encouraged by a few good tournaments I've had so far this season, certainly much better than the previous two seasons," the 53-year-old Williams said. "The talent on both tours is very good and seems to just get better every year, so it doesn't get any easier."

    To stay sharp, Williams admits to altering his routine in preparing for a two-tour season which includes taking less time off.

    "Years ago I used to take some extended time off from bowling in the off-season," Williams said, "but now I don't like to go more than a week without bowling. If it doesn't wear me out, the upcoming schedule should get me in the best bowling form I've been in for quite some time."

    201213PBA12PeteWeber7.jpgWilliams, an eight-time PBA Player of the Year, and Weber, who has never won player of the year honors, have been rivals for much of their careers on the PBA Tour, and it's a scenario that likely will repeat itself during the upcoming PBA50 Tour season.

    Weber (left) recently won PBA's signature event for the second time - the PBA Tournament of Champions - for his 37th career title which ties him for third place on the all-time list with Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla. Weber became the oldest winner of that event and with the win became the only player to complete PBA's Triple Crown for the second time.

    Suncoast Open competition begins on Monday, April 15, with eight-game qualifying rounds beginning at 8 a.m. Qualifying continues on April 16 after which the field will be cut to the top 40 to begin single-elimination match play on April 17. Match play continues all day Wednesday, concluding with the championship rounds at 5:30 p.m.

    Practice and pro-ams will be conducted on Sunday, April 14. Admission is $10 which is good for all three days of competition (April 15, 16 and 17).

    The Lucas, Green & Magazine Pro-Am on April 14 will give Tampa Bay area youth, adult and senior league bowlers an opportunity to bowl with the pros. Squads are scheduled for 3 and 5:30 p.m. Entry fee is only $39 for adults and $19 for kids.

    There will also be a Corporate Charity Challenge which allows companies to help raise money for the WWP while a team of their employees bowl with the pros in a fun format. For additional information contact Lane Glo Bowl at (727) 376-1164.

    PBA's online bowling channel Xtra Frame will provide start-to-finish coverage of the tournament. Xtra Frame returns with an expanded 2013 schedule including PBA50 Tour and PBA Regional Tour events plus special event coverage.


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    PBA50 Pasco County Suncoast Open Benefitting Wounded Warriors Schedule (All times Eastern)

    Lane Glo Bowl in New Port Richey, Fla., United States (April 14-17, 2013)

    Sunday, April 14, 2013
    9 a.m. – Noon - Practice
    3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. - Pro-Am Squads

    Monday, April 15, 2013
    8 a.m. – 1 p.m. - A squad qualifying (8 games)
    2 – 7 p.m. – B squad qualifying (8 games)

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013
    8 a.m. – 1 p.m. - B Squad qualifying (8 games)
    2 – 7 p.m. – A squad qualifying (8 games)
    Field cut to top 40 based on 16-game totals; top eight earn three byes, top 9-16 earn two byes, top 17-24 earn one bye (based on field of 120 or more entries)

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013
    8 a.m. – Round One: Best of three games match play for players qualifying 25-40
    9:30 a.m. – Round Two: Best of three games match play, eight Round One winners plus players qualifying 17-24
    Noon – Round Three: Best of five games match play, eight Round Two winners plus players qualifying 9-16
    2 p.m. – Round of 16: Best of five games match play, eight Round Three winners and players qualifying 1-8
    5:30 p.m. - Round of 8 best-of-three games match play
    Semifinal Round (one-game matches, immediately following Round of 8)
    Championship Round (one game, immediately following Semifinal Round)