Ronnie Russell rolls into PBA Players Championship lead


    2015 PBA Tour #2 & 3

    Walter Ray Williams Jr. & Tom Smallwood take early lead in Mark Roth/Marshall Holman Doubles

    2014PBARonnieRussell2.jpg2014PBADJArcher2.jpgRonnie Russell (pictured left) of Marion, Ind., arguably the hottest player on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, caught fire after an opening 212 game and rolled into the first round lead in the PBA Players Championship Tuesday at AMF Bowlero in Wauwatosa, Wis.

    Russell, who is trying for his third PBA Tour title, finished the eight-game opening round with games of 268, 289, 259, 234, 247, 238 and 269 for a 2,016 pinfall total, a 252 average, and a 135-pin lead over DJ Archer (right) of Friendswood, Texas.

    2014PBAJasonBelmonte.jpgNewly-crowned PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte (left) of Australia, who threw one of the eight 300 games bowled during the opening round, was third with 1,964 pins.

    Russell, a 35-year-old, 11-year PBA Tour veteran, is coming off a stellar-year when he won the PBA Bear Open and was the only player to qualify for three television shows during the recent GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling. He said his hot streak is a matter of confidence and relaxation.

    "I'm just throwing it and taking full advantage of it over everything," he said. "I'm very loose. I feel good. I'm enjoying bowling. I threw 212 the first game, but I didn't panic. I just kept throwing it, figured it out and pins started falling.

    "The players out here are so good, if you start putting expectations on yourself, you're going to get yourself in trouble," he said. ""I'm just letting things happen."

    2014PBAWalterRayWilliams2.jpg2014PBATomSmallwood2.jpgIn the Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship qualifying which is being held concurrently with the Players Championship, PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. (left) of Oxford, Fla., and his partner, Tom Smallwood (right) of Saginaw, Mich., combined for 3,855 pins, a composite 240.94 average, to take a 56-pin lead over Russell and his partner, Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio, who finished with 3,799 pins.

    The final four games of Players Championship and Roth/Holman Doubles qualifying will take place at 8 a.m. CT Wednesday, with the top 24 individuals and top 12 doubles teams advancing to match play.

    Players Championship finalists will bowl three eight-game match play rounds Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., and Thursday at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the top five after 36 games advancing to the stepladder finals on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.

    The top 12 teams will bowl two six-game, Baker format match play rounds at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. CT on Friday. After a composite total of 36 qualifying and Baker games, the top five teams will advance to the Roth/Holman PBA Doubles Championship finals on Sunday, Feb. 15, at Woodland Bowl, following the live 1 p.m. telecast of the 50th anniversary Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions finals.

    The PBA Players Championship finals will air on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m. ET. The PBA Doubles show will air on ESPN on March 1 at 1 p.m. ET. All qualifying and match play rounds of the Players Championship and PBA Doubles are being covered live on PBA's Xtra Frame online bowling channel.


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    PBA Player Championship - First Round Results

    Players with position, hometown and 8-game total; top 24 after 12 games will advance to match play

    1, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 2,016
    2, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 1,981
    3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 1,964
    4, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 1,943
    5, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 1,920
    6, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,912
    7, Dom Barrett, England, 1,889
    8, Brian Himmler, Cincinnati, 1,886
    9, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 1,876
    9, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas, 1,876
    11, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1,875
    12, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 1,874
    13, Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., 1,863
    14, Dean Billings, Rootstown, Ohio, 1,859
    15, Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., 1,858
    16, Dave Wodka, Beaver Creek, Ohio, 1,857
    17, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 1,852
    18, Dan MacLelland, Saginaw, Mich., 1,850
    19, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, Ariz., 1,849
    20, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,844
    21, Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 1,841
    22, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 1,830
    23 (tie), Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, and Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 1,829
    25, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 1,824
    26, Jon VanHees, Charlestown, R.I., 1,819
    27, Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., 1,816
    28, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 1,811
    29, Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill., 1,810
    30, Patrick Girard, Canada, 1,809
    31 (tie), Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., and Tom Baker, King, N.C., 1,807
    33, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 1,806
    34 (tie), Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., and Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 1,799
    36, John Szczerbinski, N. Tonowanda, N.Y., 1,798
    37, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,792
    38, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 1,790
    39, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,783
    40, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 1,779
    41, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 1,775
    42, Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 1,774
    43, Mike DeVaney, San Diego, Calif., 1,770
    44, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 1,768
    45, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla., 1,767
    46, Blake Demore, Springfield, Mo., 1,763
    47 (tie), Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., and Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,761
    49 (tie), Nathan Bohr, Austin, Texas; Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., and Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 1,760
    52, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 1,752
    53, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 1,745
    54, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 1,743
    55, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,742
    56, Paul Moor, England, 1,741
    57, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 1,740
    58, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 1,733
    59, Bob Learn Jr, Erie, Pa., 1,728
    60, Aaron Lorincz, Saginaw, Mich., 1,717
    61, John Furey, Freehold, N.J., 1,716
    62 (tie), J.R. Raymond, Bay City, Mich., and John Ferraro, Kingston, N.Y., 1,713
    64, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,712
    65 (tie), Stuart Williams, England, and Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 1,711
    67, Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, 1,710
    68, David Haynes, Las Vegas, 1,704
    69 (tie), Osku Palermaa, Finland, and Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 1,702
    71 (tie), Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., and Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 1,694
    73, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,688
    74, Chad Lusche, Arvada, Colo., 1,680
    75, Steven Arehart, Chesapeake, Va., 1,668
    76, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 1,660
    77, Julio Cesar Blancas, Mexico, 1,647
    78 (tie), Chad Roberts, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and Brad Miller, St. Charles, Mo., 1,643
    80, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 1,639
    81, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 1,632
    82, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 1,630
    83, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 1,627
    84, Missy Parkin, Lake Forest, Calif., 1,606
    85, Humberto Vazquez, Mexico, 1,599

    300 Games (8) - Mike Fagan, Dave Wodka, Jason Belmonte, Dom Barrett, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Josh Blanchard, Brian Himmler, Chad Roberts.

    Mark Roth/Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship - First Round Results

    Doubles with position, hometown and composite 16-game total; top 12 teams after 12 games will advance to Baker format match play

    1, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich./Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 3,855
    2, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio/Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3,799
    3, Jason Belmonte, Australia/Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3,709
    4, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas/Shawn Maldonado, Houston, Texas, 3,692
    5, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas/Tom Daugherty, Tampa, Fla., 3,683
    6, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz./Dan MacLelland, Canada, 3,649
    7 (tie), Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y./Jonathan Bower, Middletown, Pa., and Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla./Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 3,634
    9, J.R. Raymond, Bay City, Mich./Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 3,633
    10, Mike Fagan, Fort Worth, Texas/Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,628
    11, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla./Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,619
    12, Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill./John Szczerbinski, Columbus, Ohio, 3,608
    13, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla./Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 3,599
    14, Dom Barrett, England/Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,591
    15, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind./Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,585
    16, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla./Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., 3,583
    17, Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa./John Furrey, Freehold, N.J., 3,574
    18, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash./EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 3,569
    19, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix/Stuart Williams, England, 3,560
    20, Aaron Lorincz, Saginaw, Mich./Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 3,558
    21, Thomas Larsen, Denmark/Paul Moor, England, 3,533
    22 (tie), John Ferraro, Kingston, N.Y./John VanHees, Charlestown, R.I., and Mike Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich./Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,532
    24, Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga./Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 3,522
    25, Nathan Bohr, Austin, Texas/Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 3,521
    26, Bob Learn Jr., Erie, Pa./Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 3,518
    27, Dave Wodka, Columbus, Ohio/Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 3,517
    29, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa/Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 3,515
    30, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C./Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 3,495
    31 (tie), Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas/Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, and David Haynes, Las Vegas/Craig Nidiffer, Trenton, Mich., 3,478
    33, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas/Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,456
    34, Blake DeMore, Springfield, Mo./Chad Lusche, Arvada, Colo., 3,443
    35, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J./Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 3,414
    36, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif./Missy Parkin, Laguna Hills, Calif., 3,412
    37, Andres Gomez, Colombia/Martin Larsen, Sweden, 3,374
    38, Julio Cesar Blancas/Humberto Vazquez, Mexico, 3,246