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PBA50 Player of the Year race heats up with PBA Senior U.S. Open

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As the 2018 PBA50 Tour season reaches the halfway mark, the Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open presented by Storm, which gets underway June 11-15 at the Suncoast Bowling Center in Las Vegas, will no doubt be a pivotal event in establishing momentum for the PBA50 Player of the Year race as it heads into the second half of the season.

Among the players 50 years of age and older competing this week in the USBC Senior Masters who will also compete in the Senior U.S. Open, defending champion and 2017 PBA50 Rookie of the Year Michael Haugen Jr. (right and featured photo) currently leads in points with 12,604 after five events.

Haugen won the PBA50 Johnny Petraglia BVL Open presented by Brunswick in May and also has third-, sixth- and ninth-place finishes to his credit so far this season.

In the 2017 Senior U.S. Open, the five-time winner on the regular PBA Tour won the low-scoring championship match over eventual 2017 PBA50 Player of the Year Brian LeClair (left), 173-158, for his first PBA50 Tour title.

Less than 200 points behind Haugen is ageless PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. (right), who has three runner-up finishes this season. Williams, at age 58, is in pursuit of his 12th PBA50 Tour title and has accumulated 12,449 points thus far in 2018.

Depending on his performance in this week’s Senior Masters, Williams, an 11-time PBA50 Tour winner, would tie for second on the all-time list with Gary Dickinson, Tom Baker and Dale Eagle (left) if he were to win the Senior U.S. Open. While he has won two Senior Masters titles (2014 and 2017), he is still trying for his first Senior U.S. Open win.

Williams, despite his plethora of PBA records at all levels, always wants to add to his portfolio. Among the records he is chasing is the all-time record of 14 PBA50 Tour titles held by John Handegard (right).

With one win this season, PBA Hall of Famer Ron Mohr (left) of Las Vegas sits in third on the points list with 11,037. Mohr achieved professional bowling’s highest honor earlier this year when he was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame because of his accomplishments on PBA’s tour for players 50 years of age and older.

Still highly competitive at age 62, the 2011 Senior U.S. Open champion and two-time runner-up has established one of the most successful track records in PBA50 Tour history ranking among the top 10 in every key statistical category every year he has competed as a “senior” player. He has never had a PBA50 season averaging below 220.

While he’s a distant seventh in the POY points standings, PBA Hall of Famer Amleto Monacelli (right), who has top finishes of fifth, sixth and seventh so far this season, will try to make history as the Senior U.S. Open’s first three-time winner. The eight-time PBA50 Tour winner won back-to-back Senior U.S. Open titles in 2012 and ’13.

The Senior U.S. Open begins with the first of four six-game qualifying rounds on June 11 at 9 a.m. PT. Qualifying continues Tuesday through Thursday after which the top 25 percent of the field will advance to Friday’s first match play round at 8 a.m. After the second match play round at noon, the top five players will be determined for the stepladder finals scheduled for 4:15 p.m.

Practice sessions are scheduled for June 10 at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. with pro-am squads, where grassroots amateur bowlers bowl with the pros, scheduled for 1 and 3 p.m. For pro-am entry information fans should contact the Suncoast Bowling Center at (702) 636-7400.

The entire Senior U.S. Open will be covered live on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame. For subscription and schedule information click here.

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Brian Voss wins second PBA50 Tour Title in Mooresville Open
Lennie Boresch Jr. wins PBA50 National Championship
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2018 PBA50 Tour Schedule & Champions

Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open Schedule

Suncoast Bowling Center in Las Vegas, United States (June 10-15, 2018)

(all times Pacific)

Sunday, June 10, 2018
8 a.m. A Squad practice
10 a.m. – B Squad practice
1, 3 p.m. – Pro-Am squads

Monday, June 11, 2018
9 a.m. – A Squad qualifying (6 games)
1:30 p.m. – B Squad qualifying (6 games)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
9 a.m. – B Squad qualifying (6 games)
1:30 p.m. – A Squad qualifying (6 games)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
9 a.m. – A Squad qualifying (6 games)
1:30 p.m. – B Squad qualifying (6 games)

Thursday, June 14, 2018
9 a.m. – B Squad qualifying (6 games)
1:30 p.m – A Squad qualifying (6 games)
(Top 25 percent of the field after 24 games advance to modified round robin match play)

Friday, June 15, 2018
8 a.m. – Match Play Round 1 (6 games)
Noon – Match Play Round 2 (6 games)
(Top five advance to stepladder finals)
4:15 p.m. – Stepladder Finals

Herbert Bickel

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