2013 PBA Tour Winter Swing Blog by Louie Wemett
Day 4, Thursday, January 24th - Don Carter Classic, Dateline Detroit, MI
Big Wes Malott came to play Thursday at Thunderbowl and found the magic touch that vaulted him to PBA Player of the Year in 2009. Malott, a Roto Grip staffer, used a Storm IQ Tour Pearl to go 9 - 0 in matchplay and make the ESPN telecast in the Don Carter Classic.
The Carter lane pattern was 50 feet, but the volume was somewhat light down the lane and the players massacred it. The strikes came early and often. Stu Williams, also on the Roto Grip staff, came out of the gates 299 - 268 - 299 with a Defiant Soul. It took a 237 average to make the cut.
The left side played better than it did all week, and the right-handers camped out on the track, anywhere between 10 - 15. These guys make the lanes look easy, but believe me, it's somewhat of an illusion. They are great at what they do.
Nine players used Storm and Roto Grip equipment in matchplay and once again, the tournament leader was throwing balls from Utah; the third consecutive tournament. Two balls are standing out as the players favorites; The IQ Tour Pearl (Gold ball), and the Disturbed.
It certainly is a nice homecoming for former Storm/Roto Grip Tour Representative Chris Schlemer, who is filling in for Del Ballard Jr., in Detroit. Three shows in a row, and plenty of free agents asking for Utah balls.
On Thursday night, Malott looked like he did in his "King of Bowling" year (2009). His stroke was masterful and the pins just didn't have a chance. He fired a 300 game in the middle of the matchplay round and I got the last couple shots on video. He buried the last ball, walked back to the camera and said, "Let's bring it home."
Big Wes was back.
Several staffers bowled great, including 51-year-old Amleto Monacelli (Lucid, IQ Tour Pearl), rookie John Szczerbinski (who led the qualifying, Disturbed), Rhino Page (Critical Theory) and Williams (Defiant Soul, Disturbed).
Storm and Roto Grip balls are clearly matching up wonderfully with the lane surface at Thunderbowl. It is no time to gloat. Nobody ever remembers second place, so there is still more work to do on the shows.
On Friday, the Earl Anthony Players Championship...
Former Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, won all nine of his matches Thursday night to run away with the No. 1 position in the Don Carter Classic championship match by 167 pins over his title-match opponent, Jason Sterner of McDonough, Ga.
Malott, a seven-time PBA title winner and the Tour’s 2008-09 Player of the Year, averaged 255.94 for 17 games to finish with a total of 4,621 pins, including a 300 game and 270 bonus pins for nine matches won.
Sterner, who made his PBA television debut in the Bowlers Journal Scorpion Championship during the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IV in Las Vegas earlier in the season, was nearly as dominant as Malott in posting a 4,454 pinfall total to win the No. 2 berth in the finals by 130 pins over PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Ocala, Fla., the winningest player in PBA history with 47 Tour titles.
Sterner finished fourth in the Scorpion Championship for his best career finish. He lost to eventual champion Tom Daugherty, 199-177.
Malott, who is trying for his first singles title since winning the Etonic Marathon Open in March of 2009, said he couldn’t remember having an open frame in his flawless match play round.
“I didn’t shoot at many spares, and the ones I did, I made,” he said. “I honestly don’t think I had an open frame all night.
“It’s always fun to let your arm swing loosen up like that and be aggressive with your shot. I’ve had my struggles for the past two or three years. I tore the meniscus in my left knee, so it takes a while to get loosened up. The past couple of days it’s been pretty good. I’ll probably get it fixed in April when we have a window in the schedule.
“I’ve struggled with my mental game, too, but it’s about as solid as it could be right now. I had a couple of situations tonight where I needed to make shots late, and I did, and that’s why I went 9-0.”
The Don Carter Classic title match and the PBA League Carter round stepladder finals will be contested on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET at Thunderbowl Lanes. The finals will air on ESPN on Sunday, March 3, at 3 p.m. ET.
The final round of qualifying events in the Detroit Winter Swing is set for Friday with the final eight games of Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship qualifying (including the fourth and final round of PBA League qualifying) and the Players Championship match play final round to determine the two players who will bowl for the Anthony title.
Heading into the final round of Players Championship qualifying, two-time PBA Tour titlist Scott Norton of Mission Viejo, Calif., held a 40-pin lead over reigning PBA Player of the Year Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill. Norton, the 2010-11 PBA Rookie of the Year, won his second title in the PBA Chameleon Championship earlier in the 2012-13 season.
Earlier Thursday, the BROOKLYN STyLES, owned by Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams, finished the PBA League Don Carter round with a five-player, eight-game total of 9,527 pins to earn the No. 1 position in the stepladder finals by 247 pins over the KingPins, a team owned by women’s sports icon Billie Jean King. Comedian Chris Hardwick’s Silver Lake (Calif.) Atom Splitters qualified third in the Carter round.
In the battle for the five positions in Sunday’s Thunderbowl Finals round, which will air live on ESPN at noon ET, the STyLES led with 27,274 pins – a team average of 227.28 for a combined total of 120 games bowled by the five team members. The KingPins were second with 27,246 pins while the previous leader, Jerome Bettis’ Motown Muscle, dropped into third place.
The top five teams for Sunday’s team stepladder finals will be decided after Friday’s final eight-game qualifying round during the Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship.
All preliminary rounds of Winter Swing competition are being covered live, exclusively on PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.
PBA DON CARTER CLASSIC
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich., Jan. 24
Final Match Play Standings (after 17 games, including match play bonus pins; top two advance to championship match)
1, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 9-0, 4,621. (Roto Grip)
2, Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 6-3, 4,454.
Other Match Play Cashers:
3, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 5-4, 4,324, $6,000.
4, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 5-4, 4,263, $4,500. (Storm)
5, John Szczerbinski, North Tonawanda, N.Y., 6-3, 4,249, $4,000. (Roto Grip)
6, Stuart Williams, England, 5-4, 4,240, $3,500. (Roto Grip)
7, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 6-3, 4,195, $3,000.
8, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 4-5, 4,177, $2,500. (Storm)
9, Todd Book, Russells Point, Ohio, 4-5, 4,146, $2,200.
10, Patrick Girard, Canada, 5-4, 4,138, $2,000.
11, Brian Gunn, Chicago, 3-6, 4,068, $1,900.
12, Brad Miller, St. Charles, Mo., 3-6, 4,053, $1,800. (Using Storm)
13, Mike DeVaney, Hemet, Calif., 5-4, 4,016, $1,700. (Using Storm/Roto Grip)
14, Mark Milasinovich, Macomb, Mich., 4-5, 3,925, $1,600.
15, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 2-7, 3,917, $1,550.(Storm)
16, Jim Pratt, Glendale, Ariz., 0-9, 3,840, $1,500. (Using Storm)
Other Cashers (after 8 games):
17, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 1,893, $1,000.
18, Ronnie Sparks Jr., Ecorse, Mich., 1,883, $950.
19, Dan MacLelland, Canada, 1,879, $900.
20, Dom Barrett, England, 1,872, $850.
21 (tie), E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., and Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,871, $810.
23, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,865, $790.
24 (tie), Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, and J.T. (Action) Jackson, Sherman Oaks, Calif., 1,864, $775.
26, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 1,863, $760.
27 (tie), Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., and Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 1,860, $745.
29, Kirby Allen, Ironton, Ohio, 1,859, $730.
30, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 1,854, $720.
31, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,853, $710.
32, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 1,852, $700.
300 Games: Kirby Allen, Dick Allen, Jim Pratt, Wes Malott (2), Brad Miller, Kyle Troup, Tony Campagna Jr.
EARL ANTHONY PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Qualifying Leaders (after 24 of 32 games; top 16 after 32 games advance to round robin match play Friday night)
1, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 5,772.
2, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 5,732.
3, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 5,555.
4, John Szczerbinski, North Tonawanda, N.Y., 5,548.
5, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 5,546.
6, Dom Barrett, England, 5,518.
7, Mark Milasinovich, Macomb, Mich., 5,511.
8, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 5,509.
9, Jason Sterner, McDonough, Ga., 5,498.
10, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 5,497.
11, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 5,484.
12, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 5,481.
13, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 5,474.
14 (tie), Ronnie Sparks Jr., Ecorse, Mich., and Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 5,473.
16, Brett Spangler, Niles, Ohio, 5,467.
17 (tie), Todd Book, Russells Point, Ohio, and Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 5,465.
19, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 5,459.
20, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 5,454.
21, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 5,447.
22 (tie), Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, and Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 5,445.
24, Mike DeVaney, Hemet, Calif., 5,436.
25, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 5,424.
26, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 5,422.
27, Michael Haugen Jr., Carefree, Ariz., 5,407.
28, Frankie Calca, Elmont, N.Y., 5,405.
29, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 5,390.
30, Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 5,371.
31, Jim Pratt, Glendale, Ariz., 5,368.
32, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 5,366.
PBA LEAGUE DON CARTER ROUND
Final Don Carter PBA League Qualifying Standings (after 8 games; top 3 teams advance to Baker format stepladder finals; teams 4-8 will bowl a one-ball Clash eliminator round to determine the fourth team in the stepladder finals)
1, BROOKLYN STyLES, 9,527 pins (Sean Rash 1,817, Ryan Ciminelli 1,793, Ryan Shafer 1,946, Walter Ray Williams Jr. 1,950, Jason Sterner 2,021).
2, New York City WTT KingPins, 9,280 (Pete Weber 1,780, Tommy Jones 1,836, Scott Norton 1,919, Jack Jurek 1,685, John Szczerbinski 2,060).
3, Silver Lake Atom Splitters, 9,198 (Chris Barnes 1,864, Dom Barrett 1,872, Josh Blanchard 1,816, Stuart Williams 1,900, Nathan Bohr 1,746).
4, Dallas Strikers, 9,080 (Norm Duke 1,865, Rhino Page 1,905, Amleto Monacelli 1,902, Bryon Smith 1,627, Mike Machuga 1,781).
5, L.A. X, 9,055 (Jason Belmonte 1,852, Wes Malott 1,962, Andres Gomez 1,708, Parker Bohn III 1,724, Dave Wodka 1,809).
6, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits, 9,004 (Osku Palermaa 1,838, Martin Larsen 1,853, Dan MacLelland 1,879, Patrick Allen 1,795, Thomas Larsen 1,639).
7, Philadelphia Hitmen, 8,828 (Bill O’Neill 1,814, Mika Koivuniemi 1,743, Chris Loschetter 1,617, Mike DeVaney 1,896, Dick Allen 1,758).
8, Motown Muscle, 8,699 (Mike Fagan 1,648, Tom Smallwood 1,643, Mike Scroggins 1,831, Ronnie Russell 1,678, Jesse Buss 1,717).
PBA LEAGUE THUNDERBOWL FINALS ROUND
Final Qualifying Standings after 24 of 32 team games; top five teams advance to live ESPN Baker format stepladder finals Sunday at noon ET)
1, BROOKLYN STyLES (owner Jesse Williams), Brooklyn, N.Y., 27,274.
2, New York City WWT KingPins (owner Billie Jean King), New York, 27,246.
3, Motown Muscle (owner Jerome Bettis), Detroit, 26,888.
4, Philadelphia Hitmen (owner Kevin Hart), Philadelphia, 26,820.
5, Silver Lake Atom Splitters (owner Chris Hardwick), Silver Lake, Calif., 26,813.
6, L.A. X (owner Chris Paul), Los Angeles, 26,610.
7, Dallas Strikers (owner Terrell Owens), Dallas, 26,477.
8, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits (owner LaMarr Woodley), Pittsburgh, Pa., 26,345.