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PBA’s influence on international bowling community continues to grow


Bowlers from around the world have always considered the Professional Bowlers Association as the gold standard. If you wanted to find out how good you are, you had to bowl against – and beat – the world’s best.

For decades, that was a difficult decision to make because the Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ), the international governing body in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), banned professionals from its ranks.

Pictured above from left to right: Osku Palermaa, Kimmo Lehtonen, Mika Koivuniemi (all Finland), Dan MacLelland (Canada), Jason Belmonte (Australia) and Amleto Monacelli (Venezuela).

That policy changed in 2008, when the World Tenpin Bowling Association (WTBA) – now World Bowling – became the official governing body of tenpin bowling and opened its doors to professionals in the hopes of advancing bowling’s hope to gain Olympic acceptance, meaning that international players would no longer jeopardize eligibility to represent their national teams if the joined the PBA.

The introduction of the multi-event PBA World Series of Bowling concept a year later brought a veritable flood of international players into PBA competition. While notable players like PBA Tour champions Amleto Monacelli of Venezuela (1982), Sweden’s Mats Karlsson (1983) and Finland’s Mika Koivuniemi (1999), among a handful of others, had ventured into the PBA arena prior to 2008, the inaugural WSOB included an unprecedented 28 players from 14 different countries.

The WSOB has continued to welcome players from around the world. Since 2009, 38 different countries have been represented in the World Series, including a record 23 countries and 55 international players last year in Reno.

The same sort of trend has had an impact of the recently-resurrected Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour, which has featured a strong influx of international players.

In 2017, the PBA has seen international competition grow in events not previously known for global appeal, such as the Xtra Frame PBA Tour program and, this week, the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Oklahoma Open, which includes 16 nations and 26 international players in its field of 91.

It’s an exciting trend for bowling, especially as the sport continues to seek the attention of the IOC and bowling manufacturers continue to expand their global markets.

It’s good for bowling fans around the world, who can cheer for their home-country favorites thanks to the advent of Xtra Frame, pba.com and other social media outlets with world-wide accessibility.

And it’s good for competition, because the level of talent in PBA competition has never been stronger, which only adds to the prestige of winning a PBA Tour title.

Xtra Frame schedule includes Oklahoma prelims, PWBA action

This week’s Xtra Frame’s live streaming schedule will feature qualifying round coverage of the PBA Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Oklahoma Open from FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., through Friday, leading up to two days of live ESPN coverage of the Oklahoma Open’s nine-player stepladder finals Saturday and Sunday, July 1-2, at 1 p.m. EDT both days. The Oklahoma Open finals also will be live streamed on ESPN and the WatchESPN app.

This week’s PWBA Tour coverage features the Orlando Open Friday and Saturday.

Heading into July, Xtra Frame’s schedule includes the Teen Masters from Richmond, Va., July 5-7; the PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open from Seminole, Fla., July 7-8; the Proprietors Cup from Beavercreek, Ohio, July 8-9; the Nationwide PWBA Rochester (N.Y.) Open, July 14-15; the PBA50 South Shore Open from Hammond, Ind., July 25-27; the XF Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles from Copperfield Bowl in Houston, Texas, July 28-30, which will award PBA and PWBA Tour titles; and the PBA50 Dave Small’s Championship Lanes Classic from Anderson, Ind., July 30-Aug. 1. For broadcast time and other details, check under the “schedules” tab on pba.com.

PBA fans also can follow real-time results for PBA50, PBA Xtra Frame Tour and all PBA Regional events by visiting the “live scoring” feature on pba.com. PWBA live scoring is available on pwba.com.

For Xtra Frame subscription and schedule information click here.

PBA Regional Update: Rookie Andrew Anderson wins his first PBA title

PBA rookie Andrew Anderson (above, with GM Brian Cave, right) of Holly, Mich., defeated Chandler Stevens of Archbold, Ohio, 216-177, to win his first PBA title in the PBA Pro Bowl West Central/Midwest Challenge presented by Roto Grip at Pro Bowl West in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Saturday.

Challenge events are open to PBA members without a PBA title or non-members who have never won a PBA event. In addition to his first title, Anderson won $1,500.

Anderson downed Frank Snodgrass of Center Line, Mich., 228-161, in the semifinal round while Stevens topped Charlie Brown of Grandville, Mich., 208-159, to set up the championship match.

PBA50 competitor Chris Warren (left) of Grants Pass, Ore., teamed up with Darren Tang (right) of San Francisco to win the PBA50/PBA Sands Regency West/Northwest Doubles Open, presented by MOTIV, at High Sierra Lanes Sunday over PBA50 rookie Michael Haugen Jr. of Phoenix and Tang’s younger brother, amateur Michael Tang, 449-422.

Warren and Darren Tang took an early lead and a costly open late in the game by Michael Tang, combined with Haugen’s inability to carry pocket hits, resulted in Warren claiming his fourth PBA50 Regional title while Darren Tang picked up his second title since becoming a member a year ago.

In the single elimination match play leading up to the title match, the Warren/Tang team swept Utah amateurs Clay Rees from Riverton and Craig Harrington of Harriman, 3-0. Warren/Tang then defeated the San Jose, Calif., team of Gregory Thompson Jr. and Marty Deh in the semifinal match, 490-416, while the Haugen/Tang team survived a semifinal round shootout against PJ Haggerty from Roseville, Calif., and Las Vegan Ron Mohr, 546-545.

Keith Lesko of Chicago defeated Mark Sullivan of Indianapolis, 222-202, to win the PBA50 Ultimate Inserts Midwest Open presented by Hammer at Lakeside Lanes in Davis, Ill., Sunday.

Lesko, who led qualifying, took each of the preliminary matches to the maximum number of games. He defeated Jeff Johnson of Freeport, Ill. 3-2, in the best-of-five-game Round of 8, and then defeated R.J. Alman of Murrysville, Pa., 2-1, in the best-of-three semifinal round.

Sullivan bested his travelling partner Danny Clark of New Palestine, Ind. 3-2, before beating Dave Traber of Hebron, Ill., 2-1, in his semifinal match. Along with his third PBA Regional title Lesko received $1,700.

The July PBA Regional calendar begins with the PBA and PBA50 Vanessa Brown Homes West Opens, both presented by Columbia 300 at Yosemite Lanes, in Modesto, Calif.

On the July 7-9 weekend schedule is the PBA50 Cecil Raymond Memorial presented by Columbia 300 at 30 Strikes Bowling Pub & Pizza in Stratford, N.J.

July 14-16 weekend activity for PBA Regional players includes the Albany Strikers South Open at in Albany, Ga., and the St. Charles Lanes Midwest Open presented by Storm in St. Charles, Mo. The PBA Central Region will conduct a mid-week event, the PBA50 Fairborn Central Classic at Bowl 10 Fairborn in Fairborn, Ohio, July 18-20.

On the busy July 21-22 PBA Regional calendar are the PBA50 Parkway Lanes Open and the PWBA/PBA Parkway Lanes Open in Elmwood Park, N.J.; the Angola Central/Midwest Open at Angola Bowl in Angola, Ind.; the PBA50 Beverly Lanes Midwest/Central Open presented by Roto Grip in Arlington Heights, Ill.; the Spring Hill South Open at Spring Hill Lanes in Spring Hill, Fla.; the Fort Sill Southwest Open at Twins Oaks Bowling Center in Fort Sill, Okla., and the Secoma Lanes Northwest/West Open, PBA50 Northwest/West Open and PWBA/PBA Open, all presented by Storm, in Federal Way, Wash.

Also in July are the PBA Japan Region’s first events of 2017, the PBA Chameleon Open on July 23 followed by the Women’s Chameleon Championship on July 30, both at Shinsayama Grand Bowl in Sayama.

For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, click here to find the event(s) in your area.

Quick Notes

Chris Paul‘s (pictured with PBA’s Kimberley Pressler) blockbuster trade to the Houston Rockets this week also means the annual CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational will move to Houston in 2018. Details will be announced later.

PBA West/Northwest Region manager Gary Mage was inducted into the Washington State USBC Hall of Fame Saturday at the Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel in Rochester, Wash.

Now available in the PBA Store, the Marshall Holman t-shirt and polo joins the Signature Collection which already includes Earl Anthony, Mark Roth and Dick Weber signature apparel.

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Herbert Bickel

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