Ronnie Russell surprises himself by winning PBA Badger Open


    2015 PBA Tour #9

    Bohn's confidence tip helps Indiana resident win third career title in third of five Oklahoma's Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Summer Swing events



    2015PBA09RonnieRussell3.jpg Of the three animal pattern events that make up the Oklahoma's Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Summer Swing, the Badger Open was the one Ronnie Russell thought he was least likely to win.

    For a player who gets better results playing on PBA's shorter lane conditions, Russell surprised even himself by winning the Badger Open at the Grand Casino Resort Event Center in Shawnee, Okla. It was Russell's third career title (center with Grand Casino Director Marketing Chad Mathews, left, and FireLake Manager Chris Skillings, right).

    2015PBA09DomBarrett.jpgThe 35-year-old Marion, Ind., resident, who won last year's Summer Swing Bear Open on the shorter 40-foot Bear lane condition for his second Tour win, beat four-time Tour winner and top qualifier Dom Barrett (right) of England, 218-178, in the championship match which was contested on the 52-foot Badger lane condition, the longest of the Summer Swing lane conditions.

    2015PBA09WalterRayWilliams.jpg"My (ball) roll is quite a bit different than most players out here," Russell said. "I'm better on the shorter lane conditions because I like to get the ball down early which makes those conditions work in my favor. On a condition like the Badger, the guys with the lower rev rates usually do better.

    "I was carrying the pins better than the other guys because I was using different angles to the pocket and I felt I could throw a good shot when I needed to which gave me a good comfort level," Russell added.

    2015PBA09RhinoPage.jpgRussell, who qualified third for the finals, beat Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. (left) of Oxford, Fla., who was making his first U.S. television appearance in more than two years, 235-217, in the second match. He then eliminated three-time Tour winner and No. 2 qualifier Rhino Page (right) of Orlando, Fla., in the semifinal match, 244-193, to advance to the final.

    Despite a second-place finish earlier this season in the PBA Players Championship, Russell still had some concerns about when his next win would come. He credited Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III, who beat him in the Players Championship title match, for some valuable advice.

    "I didn't want the thought of when another win would come to wear on me and Parker gave me some good advice," Russell said.

    2015PBA09ShawnMaldonado.jpg"He told me to stay focused and have a good time instead of worrying about winning until I get in that position. I like to have too good a time out there and sometimes I just need to calm down."

    In the opening match, Williams, who was trying to extend his all-time leading Tour win total to 48 at age 55, ended 28-year-old Houston two-hander Shawn Maldonado's (left) hopes for his first Tour title, 232-223.

    The Badger Open was the third of five events that comprise the Oklahoma's Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Summer Swing. All five events (Wolf, Bear, Badger and Oklahoma Opens plus the Grand Casino Resort King of the Swing) are televised by CBS Sports Network.

    Russell also will join the previous Summer Swing winners (Tommy Jones, Bear Open, and Kyle Troup, Wolf Open) in the King of the Swing special event. The Oklahoma Open and a wild card player, based upon Summer Swing competition points without winning a title, will complete the King of the Swing field.


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    2015 PBA Tour Schedule & Champions


    PBA Badger Open - Stepladder Finals

    Qualifying at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., United States (May 13, 2015); Finals at Grand Casino Resort Events Center (May 16, 2015)




    Championship Round:
    1. Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 697 (3 games), $10,000
    2. Dom Barrett, England, 178 (1 game), $5,000
    3. Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 193 (1 game), $4,000
    4. Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 449 (2 games), $3,500
    5. Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 223 (1 game), $3,000

    Playoff Results:
    First Match: No. 4 Williams def. No. 5 Maldonado, 232-223
    Second Match: No. 3 Russell def. Williams, 235-217
    Third Match: Russell def. No. 2 Page, 244-193
    Championship: Russell def. No. 1 Barrett, 218-178.