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Mika Koivuneimi wins Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open for first PBA50 Tour title

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Known as Major Mika during a 16-year career on the PBA Tour, 14-time PBA Tour winner Mika Koivuniemi lived up to that nickname by winning the Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open presented by Storm Friday for his first title on PBA’s tour for players 50 and over.

The 51-year-old native of Finland, who was top qualifier for the stepladder finals, reeled off the first six strikes in a 259-237 win over Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio, in the title match at the Suncoast Bowling Center in Las Vegas to win the season’s third PBA50 Tour major.

“We may be getting older but winning never gets old,” said Koivuniemi, who won three majors during his PBA Tour career. “There’s a lot of great bowlers out here and many of them are bowlers who I bowled against on the PBA Tour so the competition is still tough.”

With the first six strikes in the title match, Koivuniemi was able to build a lead that was just too much for Kretzer to overcome.

“I really felt good mentally and couldn’t have thrown the ball better considering I don’t bowl as much as I used to,” said Koivuniemi. “I used a ball that I felt good about but it’s one that I either throw a lot of strikes with or throw a lot of splits. Fortunately, it was strikes today.

“My attitude has always been to focus on what I can do to win,” he added. “Even though Brian was bowling well it didn’t have any effect on what I needed to do going into the (title) match.”

Koivuniemi, who has been retired from the PBA Tour for three years, isn’t able to bowl as much because he is the full-time head coach for the United Arab Emirates national bowling team.

“I’m fortunate that I’m still able to get time off to bowl these tournaments,” Koivuniemi said of competing in the Senior U.S. Open and USBC Senior Masters. “I believe I can win these tournaments so that’s why I make the trip.”

Koivuniemi’s previous best PBA50 major finishes were seventh in the 2017 Senior Masters and ninth in the 2017 Senior U.S. Open.

Kretzer (right), who qualified fifth for the finals after making a big move from 14th after Friday’s first match play round (fifth round overall), started by winning the opening match against No. 4 qualifier five-time PBA Tour winner Ryan Shafer (left) of Horseheads, N.Y., 208-196.

He then went on to beat PBA Hall of Famers Parker Bohn III (right) of Jackson, N.J., 243-193, and Brian Voss of Centennial, Colo., 257-196, on his way to the title match.

Kretzer, who owns one PBA Tour title, was trying for his first PBA50 Tour title. Bohn, a 35-time PBA Tour winner, was trying for his fifth PBA50 Tour title and Voss (left), a 25-time tour winner, was trying for his third and second of the season.

In danger of missing the cut to match play, PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., who was trying to become the Senior U.S. Open’s first three-time winner rallied in the final two rounds of match play with an 11-1 match play record but fell just short of making the finals finishing sixth.

The PBA50 Tour will take a four-week break and return to action with the PBA50 River City Xtreme Open presented by Ebonite in Monticello, Minn., July 17-20.

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Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open – Stepladder Finals

Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open, presented by Storm

Championship Round:
1, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 259 (1 game), $10,000
2, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 945 (4 games), $6,000
3, Brian Voss, Centennial, Colo., 196 (1 game), $5,000
4, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 193 (1 game), $4,000
5, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 196 (1 game), $3,500

Playoff Results:
First Match: No. 5 Kretzer def. No. 4 Shafer, 208-196
Second Match: Kretzer def. No. 3 Bohn, 243-193
Semifinal Match: Kretzer def. No. 2 Voss, 257-196
Championship Match: No. 1 Koivuniemi def. Kretzer, 259-237.

Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open – Sixth Round Results

Players with position, hometown and 36-game total, including match play record and total pinfall including bonus pins. Top five players advance to stepladder finals. n-denotes non-member.

1, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 9-3, 8,206
2, Brian Voss, Centennial, Colo., 7-5, 8,095
3, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 8-3-1, 8,078
4, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 5-6-1, 8,057
5, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 8-4, 8,042

Missed Cut:
6, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 11-1, 7,974, $3,000
7, Allan Sennevall, Sweden, 9-3, 7,966, $2,800
8, n-Steven Smith, San Diego, 8-4, 7,964, $2,600
9, Eric Forkel, Henderson, Nev., 6-6, 7,959, $2,500
10, Rolando Sebelen, Dominican Republic, 6-6, 7,944, $2,400
11, Kimmo Lehtonen, Finland, 7-5, 7,926, $2,300
12, Ron Mohr, Las Vegas, 7-5, 7,912, $2,200
13, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 4-7-1, 7,894, $2,100
14, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 5-7, 7,859, $2,050
15, Andrew Frawley, Australia, 8-4, 7,842, $2,000
16, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 4-8, 7,841, $1,950
17, Mark Williams, Beaumont, Texas, 7-5, 7,832, $1,900
18, Harry Sullins, Chesterfield Twp., Mich., 4-8, 7,788, $1,850
19, n-Steven Badovinac, Parker, Colo., 7-5, 7,778, $1,800
20, Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., 8-4, 7,771, $1,750
21, n-Paul Fleming, Bedford, Texas, 4-8, 7,767, $1,700
22, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 6-6, 7,755, $1,650
23, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 6-6, 7,714, $1,600
24, Bo Goergen, Sanford, Mich., 7-5, 7,705, $1,575
25, Eddie Graham, Kettering, Ohio, 4-8, 7,698, $1,550
26, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 6-6, 7,690, $1,525
27, Rick Minier, Houston, 4-8, 7,675, $1,500
28, Jeff Johnson, Freeport, Ill., 6-6, 7,625, $1,475
29, Bob Learn Jr., Erie, Pa., 6-6, 7,590, $1,450
30, Todd Kjell, Roscoe, Ill., 4-8, 7,579, $1,425
31, (tie) Kevin Croucher, Grants Pass, Ore., 4-8, 7,567 and
n-David Bolles, Stockton, Calif., 6-6, 7,567, $1,388
33, n-Ben Hoefs, Mobile, Ala., 7-5, 7,558, $1,350
34, Ricky Schissler, Brighton, Colo., 5-6-1, 7,550, $1,325
35, Wayne Garber, Modesto, Calif., 7-5, 7,531, $1,300
36, Mark Mazzulla, Brentwood, Calif., 5-7, 7,442, $1,290
37, Jan Larsen, Sweden, 4-8, 7,421, $1,280
38, Sammy Ventura, Syracuse, N.Y., 2-10, 7,370, $1,270
39, Robert Lawrence, Austin, Texas, 3-9, 7,361, $1,260
40, *Pat Nolan, Japan, 2-3-0, 7,348, $1,250
41, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 2-5-0, 6,490
*Alternate Pat Nolan replaced Mike Edwards who withdrew in second game.

Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open – Fifth Round Results

Players with position, hometown and 30-game total, including match play record and total pinfall including bonus pins. All players advance to sixth round. n-denotes non-member.

1, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 5-1, 6,697
2, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3-3, 6,691
3, n-Steven Smith, San Diego, 5-1, 6,660
4, Brian Voss, Centennial, Colo., 4-2, 6,655
5, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 4-1-1, 6,630
6, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 3-3, 6,615
7, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 4-2, 6,592
8, Allan Sennevall, Sweden, 5-1, 6,559
9, Harry Sullins, Chesterfield Twp., Mich., 3-3, 6,533
10, Eric Forkel, Henderson, Nev., 3-3, 6,517
11, Ron Mohr, Las Vegas, 3-3, 6,502
12, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 2-4-0, 6,497
13, Rolando Sebelen, Dominican Republic, 2-4, 6,491
14, Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio, 3-3-0, 6,487
15, Mark Williams, Beaumont, Texas, 3-3, 6,453
16, Doug Kent, Newark, N.Y., 4-2, 6,438
17, Kimmo Lehtonen, Finland, 2-4, 6,426
18, n-Steven Badovinac, Parker, Colo., 4-2, 6,421
19, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 5-1, 6,418
20, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 4-2, 6,389
21, Todd Kjell, Roscoe, Ill., 2-4, 6,369
22, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 2-4, 6,366
23, Bo Goergen, Sanford, Mich., 3-3, 6,356
24, Jeff Johnson, Freeport, Ill., 4-2, 6,342
25, Rick Minier, Houston, 2-4, 6,340
26, Bob Learn Jr., Erie, Pa., 4-2, 6,335
27, Eddie Graham, Kettering, Ohio, 2-4, 6,311
28, Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis., 3-3, 6,293
29, Andrew Frawley, Australia, 3-3, 6,290
30, (tie) Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 3-3, and
n-Paul Fleming, Bedford, Texas, 1-5, 6,287
32, Wayne Garber, Modesto, Calif., 4-2, 6,286
33, Kevin Croucher, Grants Pass, Ore., 1-5, 6,285
34, n-David Bolles, Stockton, Calif., 3-3, 6,258
35, Ricky Schissler, Brighton, Colo., 3-2-1, 6,243
36, n-Ben Hoefs, Mobile, Ala., 3-3, 6,237
37, Robert Lawrence, Austin, Texas, 2-4, 6,181
38, Sammy Ventura, Syracuse, N.Y., 1-5, 6,178
39, Jan Larsen, Sweden, 1-5, 6,150
40, Mark Mazzulla, Brentwood, Calif., 1-5, 6,126

Herbert Bickel

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