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Bowling News USA - December 17, 2010 PBA Shark Championship Airs Dec. 26th 1:00PM EST on ESPN

Canada’s MacLelland Earns No. 1 Berth for GEICO Shark Championship Finals

Former Saginaw Valley State collegiate star becomes fifth player to earn No. 1 position for first time


LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Nov. 3, 2010) –  Dan MacLelland of Windsor, Ontario, closed in on his childhood dream, earning the No. 1 position for Saturday’s GEICO Shark Championship at South Point Bowling Center Wednesday in his quest for his first Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour title.


By topping the Shark Championship field after 21 games of qualifying and match play, the 25-year-old MacLelland became the fifth consecutive player in PBA World Series of Bowling competition to earn the top stepladder position for the first time. Cheetah Championship leader Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind.; Viper Championship top qualifier Andres Gomez of Colombia; No. 1 Chameleon Championship qualifier Scott Norton, Costa Mesa, Calif., and Scorpion Champion leader Jun-Yung Kim of South Korea also clinched spots in the title match of their respective events for the first time earlier in the week.


MacLelland, a three-time collegiate All-American at Saginaw (Mich.) Valley State, finished the nine-game Shark round with an 8-1 match play record and a 21-game total of 5,087 pins, including match play bonus pins. He entered the match play round in 10th place following last week’s 12-game preliminary round. Finland’s Osku Palermaa was second with 4,946 pins. Also qualifying for Saturday’s stepladder finals were Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich.; Jason Belmonte of Australia, and Mike Fagan of Patchogue, N.Y.


MacLelland, Palermaa and Belmonte all qualified for their second World Series of Bowling stepladder final. Palermaa and Belmonte are the first pair of two-handed players to qualify for the same television show. Fagan threw two strikes in the 10th frame to win the fifth seat in the stepladder finals by four pins over reigning PBA Player of the Year Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla.


“I’m overwhelmed,” MacLelland said. “Coming into the round, a lot of people thought we would be bowling for two spots because of the three two-handers in the field (Brian Valenta of Lockport, Ill., was the third two-hander; Valenta finished seventh). The two-handed players can open up the lane condition so much, but that wasn’t the case. I was able to stay on top of the conditions and make all of the correct moves at the right time. I didn’t fight the conditions with the wrong bowling balls.”


MacLelland, who has returned to Saginaw Valley State to complete his senior year and earn a degree in sociology, has dreamed of a PBA title “since I started bowling as a little kid. I have always wanted to be one of the best on tour.”


He tried to earn an exemption to bowl full-time on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour last season, but fell 74 pins short of qualifying in a similar event – the PBA Tour Trials which were contested over five days on the same five PBA “animal pattern” lane conditions.


“I was minus 60 (pins below a 200 average) on the Cheetah pattern,” he said. “While everyone else was bowling high scores, I was struggling. I almost made it back, but I knew someday I’d get out here and live my dream.”


The GEICO Shark Championship stepladder finals will be conducted at 3 p.m. Pacific on Friday at South Point Bowling Center for delayed airing on ESPN on Sunday, Dec. 19, at 1 p.m. Eastern. The concluding event of the World Series will be a televised USA vs. The World Team Championship which will be conducted at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for airing on ESPN on Sunday, Dec. 26, at 1 p.m. Eastern.



South Point Bowling Center, Las Vegas, Nev., Wednesday



(After 21 games, including match play bonus pins; top five advance to stepladder finals at 3 p.m. Pacific Saturday; finals will air on ESPN at 1 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, Dec. 19)

1, Dan MacLelland, Canada, 8-1, 5,087.
2, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 6-3, 4,946.
3, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 6-3, 4,921.
4, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 4-5, 4,909.
5, Mike Fagan, Patchogue, N.Y., 7-2, 4,888.

Other Cashers:

6, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 5-4, 4,884, $2,500.
7, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 3-6, 4,830, $2,300.
8, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 4-5, 4,813, $2,200.
9, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 5-4, 4,807, $2,150.
10, Jesper Agerbo, Denmark, 5-3-1, 4,805, $2,100.
11, Dave Wodka, Chatsworth, Calif., 5-4, 4,717, $2,050.
12, Joe Ciccone, Buffalo, N.Y., 2-7, 4,661, $2,000.
13, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3-5-1, 4,588, $1,950.
14, Patrick Girard, Canada, 3-5-1, 4,542, $1,900.
15, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3-6, 4,516, $1,850.
16, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 1-7-1, 4,431, $1,800.


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