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Ronnie Russell takes first round lead in PBA Players Championship


With the help of a 300 game, four-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour winner Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., averaged 247.8 to lead the 115-player field Tuesday after the first round of the Barbasol PBA Players Championship at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus, Ohio.

The 37-year-old Russell (pictured right and above), who is trying for his first major title, fired a 1,983 eight-game pinfall total with games of 278, 300, 217, 245, 245, 240, 213 and 245.

“I made an equipment change recently so I did a lot of practice and felt really good coming in here,” Russell said. “I was in a place where all I had to do was make simple moves and when that’s all you have to do it makes it easy.”

Russell’s last individual PBA Tour title came in the 2015 Badger Open. His fourth PBA title came in the PBA Team Challenge last November in Las Vegas.

“It wasn’t long ago that I was making shows on a regular basis but then the last few months I’ve kind of flat-lined,” Russell added. “I’ve made some changes to come in fresh and really clear-headed and so far it’s paying off.”

Russell held a commanding lead over former Wichita State standout and fellow Team USA member AJ Chapman (left) who finished the first round in second with a 1,877 pinfall.

The 23-year-old Chapman bowled games of 247, 258, 209, 235, 278, 216, 219 and 215.

“It’s great to be in this position but I have confidence in my ability,” Chapman said. “I need to learn a lot out here but I expect to bowl well, too.”

Chapman was a member of the Wichita State team that won the 2015 Intercollegiate Team Championship.

“I’ve gained a lot of experience bowling in college but going from the team format to individual competition takes some re-programming,” Chapman added. “You’re learning in a whole new environment so there’s definitely an adjustment that needs to be made in your mental game.”

Rounding out the top five were Jakob Butturff (left), Tempe, Ariz., 1,870; Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 1,859 and Brad Miller, Maryland Heights, Mo., 1,851.

Graham Fach (right), who became the first Canadian to win a PBA Tour title when he won last year’s Players Championship, finished the round in 10th with a 1,824 pinfall.

Competition continues with eight-game qualifying rounds Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. After Thursday’s round the field will be cut to 24 players who will bowl another eight-game round Friday morning that will determine the top 16 players who will advance to the final eight-game round Friday afternoon.

After Friday’s final round, the top five players will advance to the live stepladder finals Sunday on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET.

All qualifying rounds are covered live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video streaming service. For subscription information, click here.

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Barbasol PBA Players Championship – First Round Standings

Players with position, hometown and 8-game total

1, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 1,983
2, AJ Chapman, Wichita, Kan., 1,877
3, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 1,870
4, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 1,859
5, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights,, Mo., 1,851
6, Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., 1,847
7, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 1,840
8, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 1,836
9, Joe Bailey, Wooster, Ohio, 1,833
10, Graham Fach, Canada, 1,824
11, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,812
12 (tie), Jeff Evans, Supply, N.C., and DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 1,808
14, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,805
15, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 1,802
16, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 1,801
17, (tie), Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, and Patrick Allen, Elmwood Park, N.J., 1,793
19, JR Raymond, Bay City, Mich., 1,791
20, Cristian Azcona, Lake Wales, Fla., 1,790
21, Zacharary Wilkins, Canada, 1,786
22, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 1,785
23, Jason Sterner, Rockledge, Fla., 1,784
24, (tie) EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., and Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,777
26, Jesse Buss, Belvidere, Ill., 1,774
27, Darren Tang, San Francisco, 1,771
28, (tie) Wayne Webb, Columbus, Ohio, and Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,770
30, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 1,768
31, Matthew O’Grady, Rahway, N.J., 1,766
32, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 1,763
33, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 1,760
34, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 1,759
35, (tie) Dom Barrett, England, and Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 1,752
37, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., 1,751
38, John Furey, Freehold, N.J., 1,743
39, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1,741
40, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 1,740
41, Ronnie Sparks Jr., Redford, Mich., 1,738
42, BJ Moore III, Greensburg, Pa., 1,737
43, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,736
44, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 1,731
45, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,729
46, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 1,728
47, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 1,726
48, Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., 1,724
49, Tim Foy Jr., Seaford, Del., 1,723
50, Chris Polizzi, Spring Hill, Fla., 1,722
51, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 1,721
52, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 1,720
53, Daniel Fransson, Sweden, 1,717
54, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 1,715
55, (tie) David Krol, Nixa, Mo., and John Szczerbinski, N. Tonawanda, N.Y., 1,714
57, (tie) Stuart Williams, England, and Josh Conner, Columbus, Ohio, 1,712
59, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 1,709
60, Rocio Restrepo, Colombia, 1,704
61, Sam Cooley, Australia, 1,701
62, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 1,697
63, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 1,694
64, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 1,692
65, Andrew Graff, Las Vegas, 1,689
66, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 1,682
67, (tie) Matthew Sanders, Evansville, Ind., and Kyle Bigelow, Troy, Ohio, 1,678
69, Tristan Butler, Fort Wayne, Ind., 1,676
70, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,665
71, Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 1,664
72, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 1,663
73, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 1,662
74, Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., 1,660
75 (tie), Jesper Svensson, Sweden, and Richie Teece, England, 1,658
77, Andrew Cain, Phoenix, 1,655
78, Daniel Hochstein, Farmington Hills, Mich., 1,651
79, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla., 1,650
80, Zeke Bayt, Westerville, Ohio, 1,648
81, Carleton Chambers, Detroit, 1,638
82, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 1,635
83, (tie) Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., and Kelly Jordon, Marion, Ohio, 1,634
85, Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., 1,632
86, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 1,628
87, Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 1,624
88, Dwight Adams, Greensboro, N.C., 1,623
89, Kristian Rogers, Salisbury, N.C., 1,622
90, (tie) Francois Louw, South Africa, and Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,618
92, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 1,612
93, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 1,604
94, Kim Bolleby, Thailand, 1,597
95, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 1,596
96, Kyle Mayberry, Mt. Vernon, Ohio, 1,588
97, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 1,584
98, Jason Lundquist, Columbus, Ohio, 1,579
99, Matthew Rubright, Pittsburg, Pa., 1,577
100, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 1,576
101, (tie) Christopher Barger, Dry Ridge, Ky., and Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 1,556
103, Anggie Ramirez, Colombia, 1,538
104, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 1,526
105, Warren Burr, Wilmington, Del., 1,511
106, Johnathan Bower, Middletown, Pa., 1,510
107, Joshua Weiner, Hilliard, Ohio, 1,502
108, Zachery Tackett, Huntington, Ind.,, 1,491
109, Jeremiah Bryant, Taylor, Mich., 1,483
110, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,471
111, Matthew Wozney, Clayton, Del., 1,469
112, David Adcox Jr., Shawnee, Kan., 1,467
113, John Dudak, Orland Park, Ill., 1,449
114, CL Smith, Rynoldsburg, Ohio, 1,397
115, Chad Cygnarowicz, Robinson Township, Pa., 1,393

Herbert Bickel

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