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Jesper Svensson wins PBA Cheetah Championship for 7th career PBA Tour title


Jesper Svensson of Sweden, the 22-year-old 2015 PBA Rookie of the Year, defeated Denmark’s Thomas Larsen, 245-194, to win the PBA Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game for his seventh career PBA Tour title.

The Cheetah Championship, the third of four PBA animal pattern championships conducted in November during the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX presented by Eldorado Resorts Reno Properties at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., aired Sunday on ESPN as part of the 2017-18 Go Bowling! PBA Tour package.

Svensson (right), a hard-throwing left-handed two-handed player, struck on eight of his first nine shots, overpowering Larsen (left) despite missing a 7 pin spare attempt in the fourth frame for his only flaw.

“By the end of the first match, I got lined up so I thought if I threw good shots, I’d have a good chance to win,” said Svensson, who finished the preliminary round game with a string of eight strikes. “I screwed up a little when I missed that single pin, but I got right back in it.”

If there was anything unusual about the match, it was an extraordinary level of intensity by the normally sedate, emotionless Swede.

“It was by far the most emotional title I’ve ever won,” Svensson admitted. “Things have happened at home while I was here that…” He stumbled and added, “This title means more to other people than just me. I’m just really, really happy I could finish it off. I had a friend who passed away a week ago and I really believe he was watching me today. This one is for him, 100 percent. There’s nothing I can do but continue doing what I love to do. It makes me appreciate that even more.”

To reach the Cheetah Championship telecast Svensson edged Larsen in the four-player shootout preliminary, 259-256, but both advanced to the title match while Australia’s Sam Cooley (right; 236) and Jason Belmonte (left; 222) were eliminated with the lowest scores.

ESPN’s coverage of the Go Bowling! PBA Tour’s WSOB IX package continues on Sunday, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. EST with the PBA World Championship finals that will feature Svensson, Belmonte, and three other PBA Tour titlists – Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C.; Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and rookie Matt Sanders of Evansville, Ind.

2017 PBA Cheetah Championship Finals

National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., USA (Nov. 18, 2017). ESPN delayed telecast aired on Sunday, Dec. 24 at 1 p.m. ET.

Championship Round:
1. Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 505 (2 games), $20,000
2. Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 450 (2 games), $10,000
3. Sam Cooley, Australia, 236 (1 game), $5,000
4. Jason Belmonte, Australia, 222 (1 game), $4,000

Playoff Results:
Shootout Round: Svensson 259, Larsen 256, Cooley 236, Belmonte 222
Cooley and Belmonte eliminated.
Championship: Svensson def. Larsen, 246-194.

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Herbert Bickel

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