- Home Town: Dade City, Florida
- Birth Date: 7/10/1983
- Throws: Left
- Ball Weight: 15 lbs.
- 300 Games: 13
- Career Regional Titles: 6
- Career National Titles: 3
- Career Earnings: $516,347
- Positive Axis Point: 5 9/16" x 1/4" up
- Favorite Layout: Pin 5 1/4" from PAP, with pin below fingers or Pin 4 1/2" from PAP, with pin above fingers
When I was a very young boy I fell in love with the sport of bowling. My parents use to bowl a league every Friday night and I would spend that time in the bowling center’s nursery. I remember either bowling on the play set all night long or standing on a chair looking out the window watching all of the bowlers.
I couldn’t wait until my parents were done bowling as they would take me to the lanes and let me throw a few shots before going home. Not long after, when I was four years old I started bowling my first league. I knew from the start that being a pro bowler was my dream. When I wasn’t bowling in the center I would bowl for endless hours on my play set at home while watching all of the telecasts I had taped. I remember trying to replicate the styles of Mike Aulby, Parker Bohn, Pete Weber and Norm Duke.
As time went on, my hunger to become a professional continued to grow; only I didn’t want to just be a professional, I wanted to be the best. I took that determination into every practice and tournament that I competed in.
My hunger to be the best has driven me to become the player that I am today. Over all of these years, I have never lost sight of the goal to be the best in the world and I am determined to accomplish it very soon!
When I am not bowling I love to play golf, watch sports and hang out with friends. I also really enjoy coaching and teaching younger players the sport of bowling and am proud to be the head coach of Junior Team Storm.
Music wise, if its loud, I like it. My favorite bands include Metallica, Sevendust, Three Days Grace, Staind, Avenged Sevenfold and Nickelback to name a few.
Favorite Sports Teams are: Kansas Jayhawks, San Diego Chargers, LA Kings (I'm a die hard fan) and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Nickname “Rhino” earned from his T-Ball coach because of his intensity…California native…Has been a member of Team USA since 2004…Was a member of Junior Team USA in 2001 and ’02…Won two gold medals (masters, singles) in the 2007 Pan American Games…Also won five medals in the 2007 American Zone Championships…Owns over 20 international medals…Won the 2005 U.S. Amateur Championship…Won team and doubles gold, all-events silver and trios bronze medals for Team USA in 2008 WTBA Men’s World Championships…Bowled for the University of Kansas where he was a member of the 2004 Intercollegiate Bowling Championship winning team…Named 2004 Intercollegiate Bowling Championship MVP…First-team Collegiate All-American in 2004-05 and Honorable Mention in 2003-04.
2015: Finished second in Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions losing to Jason Belmonte 232-214 in championship match. Was second runnerup after also finishing second in 2009...Finished third in Badger Open.
Career: Won one title in each of his first three seasons on tour…Won the Viper Championship in 2009-10 for his third career title...Finished second in 2009 Tournament of Champions…Made a rookie record five championship round appearances on his way to Rookie of the Year honors in 2007-08…Won 2008 GoRving Classic in fifth championship round appearance...All five TV appearances came after advancing from the PBA Tour Qualifying Round, also a PBA record…Bowled televised 300 game in 2009 DyDo Japan Cup – the first ever on Japanese television – to earn a $100,000 cash bonus and finished third in that event… Holds the PBA’s seven-game scoring record of 1,883 which he set in Baltimore in 2007…Broke the rookie record for earnings in a season with $83,811…Second bowler ever to win a title after advancing through a TQR…Holds PBA records for most times advancing through the TQR (12) and most times making top 32 match play as a qualifier (9)…Won PBA Experience Showdown special event at the end of 2009-10 season...In 2011-12 got off to a slow start but ended strong with three top-six finishes in the last five tournaments. Had best finish of third in Ricart Ford Open, fifth in U.S. Open and sixth in Tournament of Champions...In 2012-13 finished fourth in PBA World Championship. Lost to eventual winner Parker Bohn III 200-170...Owns six PBA Regional titles.
Career Standard Titles (3): 2007-08 – Norwich, Conn.; 2008-09 – Baltimore.; 2009-10 - Allen Park, Mich. (Viper Championship)
Awards: PBA Rookie of the Year (2007-08).
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Preparation on the lanes starts for me around a month before a major event. When a season is about to start I bowl almost every night for ten to fourteen games on average. When I practice I try to make things fun but also still challenge myself. I create a stepladder type format with five bowling balls and then I bowl matches against myself with different equipment. To me it makes things a lot more fun while also forcing me to do more thinking and play different angles on the lane.
I also have been playing a lot of tennis lately to get my legs into better shape. This so that I don’t feel the fatigue late into blocks or at any time during a tournament. My legs are the most important part of my game as it is how I create my power. And with long formats, such as the Tournament of Champions, I feel it is really important to make sure I am in top shape when I compete.
1. You have bowled all over the world. What is the best country you have ever bowled in excluding the US? Japan is by far my favorite place to go to bowl. Before I started traveling internationally, I was under the assumption that bowling was only big in the United States. However, upon visiting Japan, I couldn’t believe how big bowling was. On top of the fact there are countless bowling centers across Japan, they have a true love for the sport of bowling and the treatment they give the tour players is incredible. It is a true joy every time I get to visit.
2. Do you have any interesting superstitions or routines you go through before, during, or after bowling? What is the most interesting superstition or routine you have seen from another bowler on tour? Before bowling on tour, I was never a superstitious player at all. After a few years out there however, I noticed many superstitious routines that I had developed. For example, I remember at the World Series of Bowling in Detroit, I was making a really good showing. Every lunch break we had, I went to Ruby Tuesdays and sat at the same table and ordered the same thing to eat (a chicken BLT, no tomato). Needless to say, after a few weeks of this, my girlfriend never wants to eat there again! I have found superstitions such as these, for whatever reason, help me feel as good as possible as I go into the night blocks of a tournament.
Routines on the other hand I feel are really important on tour. It is important for me to go through the same routine before every shot I make. For me, I make my decisions as I dry my hand so that when I step up on the lane, I am confident and not second guessing myself. From there, I play some music in my head to block out any thoughts that may distract me.
3. What is the best advice you have for a teenage bowler looking to make a career out of bowling? There are two things that have really helped me as a young player to get to where I am at now. First, experience is everything! I encourage every young player to bowl as many tournaments as possible (especially events like Junior Gold). From tournaments like this, you get a true sense of where you are at in your game, as well as feedback with areas you need to work on. I also feel the more tournaments you bowl, the easier it is to handle the pressure you feel when you face those shots you need to win or to advance to the next round. I have always felt experience in tournaments can never be replaced by any practice session.
The second thing that has really helped me throughout my career is having a solid spare game. From a young age, my father always emphasized spare shooting and it’s something I have carried with me and worked very hard on over the years. Having the confidence that every single or multi pin spare you leave will result in a spare and being able to carry it out, is something that will help you see better results, as well as make it deeper into tournaments where you may struggle with reaction or are facing a demanding oil pattern.
4. When do you know when you need to change bowling balls? Sometimes it’s easier to know when to switch balls than others. For example, when I feel I am in the right zone and my misses result in splits, or even missing the headpin, it’s pretty clear I may not have the right tool in my hand. Other times, I may have a ball I can get to the pocket with, but my carry percentage isn’t as high as I would like, then I will consider changing. This all depends on the overall scoring pace though.
5. If you had one piece of advice for bowlers trying to elevate their game to a higher level, what would it be? One of the most important things in really elevating your game to a higher level I feel is truly understanding ball motion. The biggest problem I see in amateur bowling is players relying on the friction down the lane to provide hook. Furthermore, many people want that huge backend motion. If you look at the top players on tour however, they get their ball to read the oil pattern earlier (they have extreme control of their mid-lane reaction). Therefore, changes in the pattern, such as carrydown doesn’t effect their ball nearly as much, if at all. I feel Chris Barnes would be the most elite example of this, and it is why he very rarely misses any cuts.
6. How do you block out distractions around you during tournament play? I think blocking out these distractions is as simple as realizing that there is no defense in the sport of bowling. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day. The important thing is that you have to have some belief and confidence in yourself. I know when I am bowling my best, I feel inside there is no one that can beat me. Watching the scoreboard is the worst thing in these times because if I am leading, I may press, which is never a good thing. On the other side, if I am not in the lead or on the cut line, it may take some of that inner confidence away, or as stated before it may cause me to press too hard which generally results in falling apart. I really feel if you can create your own little world in your head and on the lanes and bring inner confidence, then those distractions and worries about others will disappear.
7. What is one valuable life lesson that you learned while on the PBA Tour that you believe would benefit most people? Never take anything for granted! After my rookie season, I took everything for granted and my work ethic went into the tank which resulted in a very bad first half of my second season. In our sport, there is no certainty of a paycheck or what our future may be. I have really learned recently to take a step back and enjoy what I am doing more and I am very grateful for each new experience or tournament that I get to compete in.
8. Are there any particular songs or bands that you listen to before you bowl to help you get pumped up? I love listening to either Metallica or Sevendust before I compete. They are two of my favorite bands and their music really gets my blood flowing and my intensity up before competition.
9. If you got to choose a superhero ability, what would it be? Well I guess I would say I would love the ability to be able to fly. It would certainly take those long hours of sitting in the car away which would be really nice. But then again, if I could fly I probably wouldn’t be a bowler!
10. What or who got you started in the sport of bowling? As a young boy, anything that I could throw, whether it was a ball or rocks, I would and for hours (sometimes disrupting my families fishing). My parents bowled in a league once a week and I remember being in the nursery and pulling a chair up to the window and just watching bowling all night. I loved it! Each night when they picked me up after league, they would let me throw a ball or two and I was hooked. I begged them to let me bowl more so soon after, they signed me up for my first league at the age of four. From there, I would tape the PBA every Saturday and practice on my play set while watching it over and over. I knew being a pro is what I really wanted and I never lost sight of that dream.
1/27/2013: PBA League Debuts on ESPN