Friday, February 24, 2012

Stories Abound at 69th PBA U.S. Open

"At the U.S. Open, it's all about hitting your target and making spares, and I did pretty good at that." ~ Missy Parkin

The PBA U.S. Open may not pay out the most money to its top finishers of all the big bowling tournaments in the world, but it is arguably the most prestigious tournament of them all, and it is conducted on what are surely among the most demanding lane conditions of all elite bowling tournaments, the flat 42-foot U.S. Open pattern.

In this year's U.S. Open, 394 of the finest professional and amateur bowlers from several continents gathered at the fabled 82-lane Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J. on Tuesday to loft and grind their way through three 6-game blocks over three consecutive days of qualifying before the field was winnowed down to the cashier's round of 98 for another 8 games of qualifying Friday morning prior to being cut to the top 24. Those top 24 will now bowl one 8-game block of round-robin match play on Friday evening and two blocks Saturday to determine the four stepladder finalists for Sunday's live ESPN telecast at 3 pm ET.

If you've been watching PBA Xtra Frame this week, you've seen some remarkable bowling, enjoyed expert coverage by Mike J. Laneside, Jason Thomas, and Jackie Bowling, heard some great guest commentary from the likes of PBA legend Mark Roth, Johnny Petraglia Jr., PBA Commissioner Tom Clark, and 14-year-old bowling phenom Kamron Doyle, and you've no doubt gained a huge appreciation for just how incredibly difficult it is to cash in the U.S. Open and how tremendously well someone has to bowl to make it to the top 24 on those lane conditions.

You would have also seen the aforementioned Kamron Doyle become the youngest bowler ever to make the cashier's round of the U.S. Open, finishing in 61st place, ahead of a panoply of big name bowlers including Walter Ray Williams Jr., Tommy Jones, Kelly Kulick, Amletto Monacelli, Tom Baker, and Dick Allen in the cashier's round and a plethora of other outstanding bowlers who didn't cash.

You would have seen 64-year-old bowling legend Johnny Petraglia remarkably make the cut and finish in a very respectable 78th place.

You would have seen USBC Queens winner Missy Parkin bowl phenomenally well against her male counterparts to average 210.84 and finish 9th in the cashier's round, setting her up for match play and a possible TV appearance on Sunday. No woman has ever made it into match play in the PBA U.S.Open before. She also finished higher in the recent USBC Masters than any woman ever has before when she ended up in 11th place.

You would have seen multiple PBA titlists Jason Belmonte and Osku Palerma two-hand their way into the top 24, while lesser known but no less exciting two-hander Brian Valenta lofted the ball 30 feet down the lane while standing on the approach of the adjacent lane to crush the pins repeatedly and impress even the hard-to-impress Mark Roth who was a guest commentator at the time.

You would have seen Sean Rash shoot a desperation 289 to leap from well down the field into the top 24 with two games to go and then flail his way out of the cut.

You would have seen 50-year-old Pete Weber bid for an unprecedented 5th U.S. Open title by finishing 10th in the cashier's round.

You would have seen P.J. Sonday using mostly one strike ball all week to finish the cashier's round in 5th place, while defending champion Norm Duke, Masters Champion Mike Fagan, and a bevy of other great bowlers including Chris Barnes, Bill O'Neill, Dan McLelland, Rhino Page, and Jason Couch did what great bowlers do and make it to the top 24 for match play of the U.S. Open.

And last but not least, you would have seen Ryan Shafer show why he has to be far and away the best player never to win a major title. He ran away and hid from the rest of the field by averaging a blistering 224 on impossible lane conditions and leading second place Mike Fagan by 170 pins.

If you don't get PBA Xtra Frame, it's not too late to sign up and catch the 24 games of match play and expert commentary today and tomorrow. In any case, be sure to tune into ESPN on Sunday to watch the televised finals of the greatest bowling tournament of them all. And you can get the official scores and major backstories at the PBA website.

No comments:

Post a Comment