Panama Invitational Tournament gets underway with practice sessions and pro-ams



    El Dorado Bowling Center in Panama City (October 3-8, 2007)

    PanamaInvitationalLogo_small.jpg With a huge prize fund and one of the strongest fields in all of international bowling, the second Panama Invitational Tournament got underway Wednesday with practice sessions and pro-ams.

    2006BrianHimmler_small.jpg The tournament features some big names from the Denny’s Professional Bowlers Association Tour, including last year’s champion Brian Himmler (right). Among those joining Himmler from the PBA Tour ranks is Dino Castillo, Michael Fagan, Mika Koivuniemi, Brian Kretzer, Chris Loschetter, Bill O’Neill, Sean Rash, Tony Reyes, Tom Baker and many others.

     The field also includes some of the world’s top amateur players like two-handed star Jason Belmonte of Australia, Tim Mack of the United States, Paul Moor and reigning World Ranking Masters champion Stuart Williams (center, in the red shirt), both of England. Click on the image to enlarge it.

    2006BWCClaraGuerrero_small2.jpg On the women’s side, the contingent of players is just as strong with Liz Johnson, Kelly Kulick, Wendy Macpherson and the female

    World Ranking Masters champion for 2007, Diandra Asbaty. Defending champion Clara Guerrero (right) of Colombia will not compete this year.

     The seniors field is tough as well with several hall of famers among the competitors. Larry Laub, Mark Roth, Steve Fehr and Marshall Holman headline an impressive group of bowlers. Defending champion Jorge Quintero will look to make it a repeat performance for host Panama in the senior division.

    The pictures shows Fehr, with PBA's Chris Loschetter in the background. Click on the image to enlarge it.

    The total prize fund for the event is more than $300,000. The winner in the open division will claim $40,000, the women’s winner will take home $15,000 while the champion among the seniors will also win $15,000.

    After the three champions are determined, they will compete in a King of the Hill match, with an additional $5,000 going to the winner of that battle.

    Before they get to that point, however, all players will bowl 15 games of qualifying (five Thursday, five Friday and five Saturday) before the field is cut to the top 24 in the open division and 12 in the women’s and senior divisions. The semifinalists will bowl six final games to determine the players who advance to the stepladder finals