Aussie Sam Cooley out-scores Hall of Fame trio for early lead in PBA Players Championship


    2016 PBA #5

    2015PBASamCooley2.jpg2015PBAParkerBohn.jpgSam Cooley (pictured left), a 25-year-old Australian who made his Professional Bowlers Association debut in the PBA Fall Classic in Las Vegas in October, out-scored a little-known Canadian, a ranking international star and a trio of PBA Hall of Famers to take the first round lead in the Barbasol PBA Players Championship Tuesday at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.

    Cooley, who has yet to qualify for a PBA stepladder finals, averaged 256.38 Tuesday behind games of 257, 300, 279, 209, 236, 266, 226 and 278 for an eight-game total of 2,051 pins to take a 47-pin lead over 35-time titlist Parker Bohn III (right) of Jackson, N.J. and Canadian Graham Fach (below left), who shared second place with 2,004 pins.

    2014USBCOCGrahamFach.jpg2015PBADomBarrett.jpgEngland's Dom Barrett (right), a four-time PBA Tour winner including the 2012 PBA World Championship, was fourth with 1,999 pins, just ahead of 37-time PBA Tour champion Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo. (1,983 pins); and 38-time winner Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla. (1,953 pins).

    Cooley, a member of Australia's national team, admitted he has been a little star-struck bowling with and against the PBA greats in his limited career, but "now I'm watching these guys a little, and it's a matter of 'wow, Pete's bowling a good game…and now it's my turn to bowl.' I'm not dwelling on it.

    "It's good to be ahead of them, but tomorrow's a new day. In my previous tournaments I've had really good starts and I tend to get carried away with things. I'm learning that each day is its own tournament. You have to take each day on its own. You can start good, catch a bad pair of lanes and it plays on my mind. I have to learn to focus on not worrying about scores, but making good shots all of the time."

    2015PBAPeteWeber.jpg2015PBANormDuke.jpgAmong the early leaders, Weber (left) is the only player who has previously won the PBA Players Championship (1992). With the tournament returning to major championship status this year, Weber, 53, has a chance to win an 11th career major and break his tie with Earl Anthony for the all-time PBA record.

    Duke (right), 51, has a chance to add the only title he needs to complete the so-called "Super Slam" of PBA major titles. He has already won the U.S. Open, PBA Tournament of Champions, PBA World Championship and United States Bowling Congress Masters. A fifth different major in the PBA Players Championship would match a feat only fellow hall of famer Mike Aulby has accomplished.

    But Weber, who hobbled into the bowling center after an acupuncture treatment for a lingering hip injury, and Duke, who has been battling a chronic pinched nerve issue in his neck, need to stay healthy.

    "I trained really well coming into this swing (of three consecutive major championships)," Duke said. "I was strong, I was ready, but I tweaked my neck a couple of weeks ago and I've been trying to get myself healthy to make good shots. I figure if I can keep my health together, I like my chances. I still feel like I'm very good, but I have to stay healthy."

    2016BarbasolPBAPlayersChampionshipLogo_small.jpg The PBA Players Championship continues with second eight-game qualifying round for all players Wednesday at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET. The top 36 players after 16 games will then advance to an eight-game cashers round at 10 a.m. Thursday.

    Based on 24-game pinfall totals, the top 24 players will advance to eight-game round-robin match play rounds at 5 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday. All preliminary rounds will be covered live, exclusively on PBA's Xtra Frame online video-streaming service.

    After 48 games, the top five players will compete for the $40,000 first prize live on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

    Immediately following Sunday's live Barbasol PBA Players Championship finals at 3 p.m. ET, ESPN will air the World Bowling Tour Men's and Women's Finals presented by the PBA from Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.

    The WBT finals will feature three men (England's Dom Barrett, Australia's Jason Belmonte and Mike Fagan of Berkley, Calif.) and three women (Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J.; Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., and Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y.) in stepladder finals which will be contested using an experimental World Bowling scoring system.


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    PBA Players Championship - First Round Standings

    Players with position, hometown and 8-game total

    1, Sam Cooley, Australia, 2,051
    2 (tie), Graham Fach, Ontario, Canada, and Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 2,004
    4, Dom Barrett, England, 1,999
    5, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 1,983
    6, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,953
    7, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 1,944
    8, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 1,939
    9, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,927
    10 (tie), Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., and Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 1,926
    12, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 1,920
    13, J.R. Raymond, Bay City, Mich., 1,905
    14, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 1,896
    15, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 1,893
    16, Mike Eaton Jr., Cincinnati, 1,892
    17, Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 1,884
    18, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 1,883
    19 (tie), Jason Belmonte, Australia; Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa; f-Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Ronnie Sparks Jr., Ecorse, Mich., 1,881
    23, John Szczerbinski, N. Tonawanda, N.Y., 1,877
    24, Brian Himmler, Cincinnati, 1,874
    25, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1,871
    26, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,867
    27, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 1,863
    28, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 1,856
    29, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,852
    30, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 1,850
    31, Miguel Lopez, Wichita, Kan., 1,847
    32, Anthony Simonsen, Princeton, Texas, 1,845
    33, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 1,844
    34, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 1,842
    35, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 1,841
    36, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 1,840
    37, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 1,835
    38 (tie), Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., and Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 1,829
    40, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 1,828
    41, Lucas Legnani, Argentina, 1,825
    42, Francois Lavoie, Wichita, Kan., 1,824
    43, Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 1,823
    44, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 1,822
    45, Tim Foy Jr., Seaford, Del., 1,820
    46, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 1,819
    47, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 1,812
    48, Chad Roberts, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, 1,807
    49, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 1,804
    50 (tie), Patrick Allen, South Salem, N.Y., and Josh Conner, Columbus, Ohio, 1,799
    52, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 1,798
    53, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 1,796
    54, John Furey, Freehold, N.J., 1,795
    55, David Simard, Quebec, Canada, 1,793
    56, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 1,783
    57, Patrick Girard, Canada, 1,780
    58, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,777
    59, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 1,776
    60, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1,774
    61, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,771
    62, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 1,765
    63, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 1,762
    64 (tie), Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., and David Haynes, Las Vegas, 1,754
    66, f-Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 1,751
    67, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 1,750
    68, Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 1,749
    69, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 1,745
    70, A.J. Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 1,744
    71, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 1,739
    72 (tie), Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C.; Manuel Otalora, Colombia, and Andrew Cain, Phoenix, 1,735
    75, Tom Carter, Columbus, Ohio, 1,728
    76, Jaime Gonzalez, Colombia, 1,724
    77 (tie), Johnathan Bower, Middletown, Pa., and Gregory Thompson Jr., Dublin, Calif., 1,720
    79, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 1,712
    80, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 1,705
    81, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,700
    82, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 1,699
    83, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 1,694
    84, B.J. Moore III, Apex, N.C., 1,693
    85, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 1,691
    86, f-Liz Kuhlkin, Rotterdam, N.Y., 1,683
    87, f-Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 1,682
    88 (tie), Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., and Sean Johnson, Moundsville, W.V., 1,675
    90, Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas, 1,672
    91 (tie), Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., and Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., 1,668
    93, Wayne Webb, Columbus, Ohio, 1,663
    94, Brett Cunningham, Clay, N.Y., 1,661
    95, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla., 1,660
    96, Steven Arehart, Chesapeake, Va., 1,658
    97, Jakob Butturff, Chandler, Ariz., 1,656
    98, Carleton Chambers, Detroit, 1,652
    99, Brandon Dye, Columbus, 1,650
    100, Stuart Williams, England, 1,649
    101, Terrance Bright, Atlanta, 1,645
    102, Andrew Graff, Las Vegas, 1,639
    103, Tony Johnson, Canton, Ohio, 1,638
    104, Kyle Bigelow, Troy, Ohio, 1,626
    105 (tie), f-Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., and Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,616
    107, f-Rocio Restrepo, Colombia, 1,614
    108, Anthony Kennard, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 1,608
    109, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,597
    110, John Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 1,587
    111, Frankie Mazzella, Staten Island, N.Y., 1,565
    112, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 1,551
    113, Joshua Weiner, Hilliard, Ohio, 1,544
    114, Trey Ford III, Bartlesville, Okla., 1,535
    115, Chris Colella, Templeton, Mass., 1,525
    116, Brad Miller, Maryland Hts, Mo., 1,512
    117, Mark Nance Sr., Grove City, Ohio, 1,495
    118, Frank Bellavia Jr., Niagara Falls, N.Y., 1,467
    119, James Owens, Vernon, N.Y., 1,413
    120, Larry Helton, Bolingbrook, Ill., 1,396

    300 Games (4) - Stuart Williams, Anthony Pepe, Sam Cooley, Andres Gomez.