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Bowling News USA - January 26, 2011 The Schlemer Report - Tournament of Champions

There is no other way to describe what happened on January 22, 2011 at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas, Nevada other than “bowling history.” From the highest purse ever, to the largest margin of victory, there were multiple story lines and plenty to talk about. In my opinion, every major should be of that magnitude. How great was it to see PBA bowling back in its old Saturday afternoon time slot on ABC? No to mention having Bo Burton back in the booth? I am sure those of you watching at home could feel the same sort of excitement that those of us fortunate enough to be there in person felt. To be completely honest, it was like no show I have ever experienced in all my 10 years as tour rep for Storm. I could ramble on for hours, but that’s not what you came here to read! So with that, let me give you the inside scoop on how we got to the biggest show ever in PBA history.

The Tournament of Champions actually started exactly one week before the live final. With this year’s T of C being the largest in the history of our sport, the PBA decided to make various changes in formats and who was eligible to bowl. For the first time in PBA history, this event was open to any PBA titlist on any level. Meaning anyone who had ever won a PBA national, regional, non-champions regional or women’s series title could bowl. Not to mention this marked the first time in T of C history that non-titlist could bowl as well. Prime example is Storm staffer Andres Gomez who made the show and finished 4th. He has never won a PBA event; however, since he is exempt this year on the tour, he was eligible to bowl this event. Now some say that this was not fair, while others accepted the fact that he still had to bowl like everyone else; either way Andres took full advantage of the opportunity given to him.

This year’s format was different than it had been in previous years. This was largely in part because of the prize fund and the number of entries. To be part of the “elite” field you had to own five or more PBA national titles, own a PBA major title, or currently be exempt on this year’s tour. Being part of the elite field earned you a 14 game bye. The rest of the field had to bowl 14 games of qualifying and finish in the top 50% of that field in order to advance in the event. Those top 50% then joined the elite field to bowl four rounds of qualifying (each round was five games). Then after the 20 games of qualifying, the field was cut again to the top 50% (53 competitors). From that point, they bowled 14 more games of qualifying before cutting to the top 24. Then the remaining 24 bowled three rounds of match play (each round was eight games). After all this bowling was completed, the top four bowlers made the telecast. Of the four TV finalists, Tom Daugherty bowled the maximum possible number of games, (72 to be exact) in route to his highest career PBA national tour finish.

The Storm Nation was well represented throughout the entire tournament to say the least. Andres Gomez led the way with his 4th place finish, using a variety of balls to get there. Along the way, he used a pin-up Marvel and pin-down Marvel. He used two different pin-up Reign Supremes and two different pin-up Hy-Roads as well. The pin-up 2Fast you saw him use on the TV show was one of two balls we drilled specifically for the show because we knew the lanes on set would be different. Our calculations were correct; there was plenty additional friction all the way throughout the entire lane, which was our reason in drilling a weaker ball. The 2Fast was the same layout Andres used playing deep inside all week as he did on the show.

Other staffers in the top 24 included two-handed sensations Osku Palermaa (7th) and Jason Belmonte (12th).  Each used Prodigys, Marvels, Victory Roads, and a 2Furious to achieve their respected finishes. Norm Duke finished 16th using a Reign Supreme, Tropical Heat Orange/Purple, Tropical Heat Black/Silver, and T-Road Pearl. Jeff Carter finished 18th using the combination of an Anarchy, Reign Supreme, and a couple of different Victory Roads. Regional Sales Manager and 2011-2012 PBA exempt player Tyler Jensen finished 23rd using a Victory Road, Anarchy, Marvel, Prodigy, and Hy-Road. On a side note, the newest member of the Storm Nation, Diandra Asbaty finished 33rd. She used Marvels, Victory Roads, and a Prodigy to claim the highest female finish.

All together, our entire group of staffers bowled well. They all played a variety of angles with different speeds and rotations. It was a long grueling week not only for the players but for us reps as well. Hank Boomershine and I had our hands full with staff and free agent players all week. There was no right or wrong way to attack the patterns. The key was getting the players in tune with which group of balls best suited what they were trying to do on the lanes. Our next item of business was helping the players stay focused on the lanes and not watching the scoreboard. That was a job in itself with so much prize money riding on the line.

Well my friends it is time for me to move on down the road. I hope you enjoyed this week’s report. Be sure to log on next week for the report from the Earl Anthony event.

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January, 2011