Storm superstar Pete Weber will return to TV in Sunday’s Johnny Petraglia Division finals of the PBA World Championship which will air at 1 p.m. ET in high-definition on ESPN.
The Petraglia Division is the third of four eliminator rounds that will reduce a field of 16 PBA World Championship finalists down to four for the Sunday, Jan. 15, showdown for the $50,000 first prize, the Earl Anthony Trophy and the PBA Tour’s first major title of the 2011-12 season.
All World Championship competition will be conducted on a pair of lanes specially installed in an exhibit hall at South Point Hotel and Casino.
Sean Rash led the 40-game qualifying portion of the PBA World Championship, averaging 234.03 on five different lane conditions and topping No. 2 qualifier Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., by 296 pins. As the top qualifier in the Petraglia Division, Rash has selected the PBA’s Scorpion lane condition as the scoring environment for Sunday’s round. Rash’s competition will include PBA Hall of Famer Weber of St. Ann, Mo.; third-year player Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., and non-titlist Nathan Bohr of Wichita, Kan., who will be making his PBA television debut. The Petraglia Division is the only group in the World Championship elimination rounds without an international player.
Weber is a 35-time PBA Tour title-winner with eight majors. The rest of the PBA World Championship field has won a combined 17 titles including two majors.
In the eliminator round, all four players will bowl a one-game match. The player with the lowest score will be eliminated. The three survivors will bowl another game, with the low man knocked out. The two finalists will bowl a final game with the survivor advancing to the World Championship finals.
The four World Championship divisional finals have been named for PBA superstars who excelled in the event during their careers. Finland’s Osku Palermaa won the Don Carter Division berth and Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., captured the Billy Hardwick Division title. The Mike Aulby Division finals will conclude the preliminary rounds on ESPN on Jan. 8. Aulby Division competitors will be Jason Belmonte, Australia; Brian Kretzer, Dayton, Ohio; Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., and Mike Fagan, Dallas.
The PBA World Championship trophy is named in honor of Anthony, the only player ever to win the event six times.
A preview of the Petraglia Division finals will be webcast on pba.com’s Xtra Frame beginning Wednesday, and a post-game show will be presented on Xtra Frame immediately following Sunday’s ESPN finals.