U.S. Open champ Bill O'Neill jumps into PBA Player of the Year points lead


    2010 PBA Spare Shots #6

    200910PBA14BillONeill.jpgWith only four "standard" events remaining in the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour regular season, newly-crowned U.S. Open champion Bill O'Neill (pictured) of Southampton, Pa., has taken a four-point lead over venerable Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., in the 2009-10 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year points race.

    O'Neill, in making his tour-best fifth TV appearance of the season, earned 24 points for a total of 56 to take the lead from Williams. He also joined Williams as the only two-time champions during the 2009-10 campaign.

    Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, who is still looking for his first title of the season, and U.S. Open runner-up Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, are tied for third in POY points with 32 each.

    In the remaining four events, the tournament winner will earn 16 points. Second place is worth 8, third 6, fourth 4 and in non-match play events where there is a fifth place finisher, that player will earn one point.


    How dominant was Jason Belmonte in U.S. Open qualifying?

    200910PBA13JasonBelmonte.jpgAustralia's Jason Belmonte (pictured) averaged 248.83 during the third and final six-game round of qualifying in the 67th Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open, racing into a 178-pin lead over Dave Beres of Waukesha, Wis. His 1,493 total for the round was nowhere close to the PBA Tour record of 1,635 shared by Norm Duke and Dave Wodka, but those records weren't set on U.S. Open lane conditions, either.

    To illustrate how dominant Belmont was up to that point against the field of 352, his 18-game average was 228.72. The entire field – for a combined 6,301 games bowled during the qualifying portion of the event – averaged 188.67, more than 40 pins below the Australian two-hander.

    To further analyze the qualifying field after 18 games:
    • All PBA Tour exempt players averaged 205.72
    • All non-exempt PBA members averaged 189.58
    • All PBA members combined averaged 193.86
    • All non-members in the field averaged 182.46

    Unfortunately for Belmonte, he injured the hamstring on his left (sliding) leg during the final round of match play and dropped out of contention for his first major title.


    Belmonte, Weber to miss Etonic Don Johnson Eliminator

    200809PBAKenSimard_small.jpgAustralia's Jason Belmonte (hamstring injury) and 34-time PBA Tour champion Pete Weber (back) of St. Ann, Mo., will not compete in this week's Etonic Don Johnson Eliminator in Columbus, Ohio.

    Weber hurt his back during practice on Wednesday and withdrew. Weber's spot in the field of 64 will be awarded to Ken Simard (pictured) of Greenville, S.C., who finished 10th in Tuesday's Tour Qualifying Round.


    Smallwood, Kulick stories continue to gain media attention for PBA

    200910PBA07ThomasSmallwood.jpg200910PBA10KellyKulick3.jpgTom Smallwood's (left) compelling story as a laid-off auto worker who defied the odds to win the 2009 PBA World Championship and Kelly Kulick's (right) historic victory for women in sports as the first female to win a PBA Tour title continue to capture the imagination of America's mainstream news media. Most recently:

    Award-winning Detroit Free-Press columnist, radio host and frequent ESPN "Sports Reporters" analyst Mitch Albom authored a feature story on Smallwood that appeared in the February 21 issue of Parade Magazine which is distributed to 33 million American readers each week.

    Eleven-time National Sportswriter of the Year Rick Reilly focused on Kelly Kulick's historic PBA Tournament of Champions victory in the March 8 edition of ESPN the Magazine, calling her victory over 62 male PBA champions "one of the single greatest female sporting achievements in history." ESPN the Magazine is published every other week and has a circulation of just over two million.

    To serve bowling fans who might not otherwise have access, watch pba.com for links to newspaper, magazine, television and online to these and other coverages of the PBA and its players.


    Chris Barnes turns 40, but is he ready for the hall of fame?

    200910PBA12ChrisBarnes.jpgLynda Barnes helped husband Chris Barnes (pictured) celebrate his 40th birthday on Feb. 25 in Indianapolis by ordering a unique Columbia 300 birthday cake, created by Fairytales Custom Bakery in Indianapolis. It was a happy day for Chris because he advanced to the cashers' round in the Lumber Liquidators U.S. Open, but it was a landmark day for another reason.

    Now that he's 40, Barnes is eligible for United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame consideration. But he has mixed emotions about the possibilities.

    "It's nice to think I might be elected, but I'd rather wait a while," Barnes said. "I personally think I have more to accomplish, and when my resume is complete, I'd like to be considered at that point. I've heard some players say they probably would have appreciated the honor more if they were inducted after they were no longer at the peaks of their careers. And if I were to get elected, I'd like to be able to go, which some of the guys recently haven't been able to do in recent years (because the induction ceremonies have conflicted with PBA Tour events)."


    Chris Barnes Challenge III set for Xtra Frame Saturday in Columbus

    Speaking of Chris Barnes, he'll take on the highest bidder in Chris Barnes Challenge III presented by Columbia 300 Saturday, March 6, in Columbus, Ohio. The winner-take-all three-game, total pinfall match will air exclusively on pba.com's Xtra Frame at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

    Barnes lost his first "challenge" against collegiate All-American Derek Hartnell in Wichita, Kan., in December, but won Challenge II in Wheat Ridge, Colo., in February, defeating area pro shop operator Shawn Lee, 590-480.


    Is it really the "most important chair in bowling?"

    What started as a fun reference to office furniture on pba.com's Xtra Frame has blossomed into one of the hottest fan pages in social networking. More than 1,000 people are now fans of "The Bowling Doctor's" Xtra Frame Office Depot-brand vinyl club webcast chair on Facebook.

    You can follow the exploits of what some are calling "the most influential piece of furniture in sports entertainment" on Facebook, where photos include "Pretty Girls," "Handsome Dudes" as well as "You and The Bowling Doctor (Jeff Mark) in The Most Important Chair in Bowling.


    Angelo, Couch welcome new daughters

    The PBA Tour family is expanding. Brad and Michelle Angelo of Lockport, N.Y., welcomed their third child, daughter Ryleigh Catherine Angelo, on Jan. 27. The newcomer weighed in at seven pounds, 10 ounces.

    Kim Couch presented Jason with his fourth daughter – Keira Kathleen Couch – on Feb. 6. The new addition to the Couch family tipped the scales at six pounds, 14 ounces.


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    Jan. 28, 2010 - 2010 PBA Spare Shots #2
    Jan. 20, 2010 - 2010 PBA Spare Shots #1


    2009-10 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour Stats

    Earnings (Events, Total)
    1, Walter Ray Williams Jr. Ocala, Fla., 14, $133,270
    2, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 14, $132,075
    3, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 14, $103,210
    4, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 14, $86,330
    5, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 14, $84,560
    6, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 14, $74,460
    7, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 14, $71,320
    8, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 14, $67,400
    9, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 13, $62,640
    10, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 14, $60,010

    Averages (Games, Average)
    1, Walter Ray Williams Jr. Ocala, Fla. 437, 222.47
    2, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 397, 220.15
    3, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 374, 220.12
    4, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 279, 219.39
    5, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 363, 219.18
    6, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C. 404, 218.29
    7, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 388, 218.18
    8, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 344, 218.11
    9, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 284, 217.15
    10, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 357, 217.07

    PBA Player of the Year Race (Titles, Points)
    Based on championship round finishes only: Standard five-player events = 16, 8, 4, 2, 1 points; Major four-player events = 24, 12, 8, 4
    1, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 2, 56
    2, Walter Ray Williams Jr. Ocala, Fla., 2, 52
    3, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 0, 36
    (tie) Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 1, 36
    5, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1, 29
    6, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 1, 26
    7, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 1, 24
    (tie) Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 1, 24
    (tie) Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y. 0, 24
    10, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 0, 18
    11, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1, 16
    (tie) Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 1, 16
    (tie) Jason Belmonte, Australia, 0, 16
    (tie) Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 1, 16
    (tie) Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 1, 16
    (tie) Brian Voss, Alpharetta, Ga., 1, 16

    PBA World Ranking Points
    1, Walter Ray Williams Jr. Ocala, Fla., 188,152
    2, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 169,476
    3, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 157,334
    4, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 149,872
    5, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 148,914
    6, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 137,443
    7, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 133,83
    8, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 130,776
    9, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 130,544
    10, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 126,676
    11, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 116,085
    12, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 113,905
    13, Sean Rash, Wichita, Kan., 112,931
    14, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 101,809
    15, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla. 99,955
    16, Mike DeVaney, San Diego, 97,612
    17, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y. 96,519
    18, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y. 93,134
    19, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind. 88,177
    20, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich. 87,198
    21, Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla. 85,636
    22, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 85,182
    23, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 84,838
    24, Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill. 82,474
    25, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa. 81,49
    26, Stevie Weber, Chalmette, La. 78,966
    27, Ronnie Russell, Camby, Ind. 77,808
    28, Michael Haugen Jr. Carefree, Ariz. 75,444
    29, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla. 75,294
    30, Jeff Carter, Springfield, Ill. 74,151
    31, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y. 71,89
    32, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan. 70,232
    33, Brian Voss, Alpharetta, Ga. 69,712
    34, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind. 69,621
    35, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J. 69,027
    36, Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y. 64,197
    37, Dave D'Entremont, Middleburg Hts. Ohio, 63,723
    38, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 62,027
    39, Steve Harman, Indianapolis, 61,987
    40, Ritchie Allen, Columbia, S.C. 61,275
    41, Mitch Beasley, Puyallup, Wash. 61,217
    42, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan. 61,208
    43, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 59,339
    44, Robert Smith, Columbus, Ohio, 59,337
    45, Stuart Williams, England, 59,179
    46, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill. 56,924
    47, PJ Haggerty, Clovis, Calif. 55,962
    48, Tim Mack, Indianapolis, 54,877
    49, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 54,683
    50, Troy Wollenbecker, Miami, 53,441