PBA Spare Shots

Rookie Josh Blanchard’s hard fall in last week’s PBA World Championship Mike Aulby Division Final seen on ESPN has attracted a lot of national media attention. He has been featured on ESPN SportsCenter, ESPN Around the Horn, ESPN Pardon the Interruption, ESPNews, LIVE with Kelly Ripa, the Howard Stern Show and numerous other local sportscasts. His misfortune has also become a YouTube hit, among other internet blog sites, with hundreds of thousands of views.

PTI’s Tony Kornheiser accepted a challenge from Blanchard and as a result plans are in the works to schedule a match at Tony’s hometown lanes Strike Bethesda (Md.) sometime in the future.

“I would have never dreamed in a million years that it would have gotten this much attention,” said the former Wichita State bowler. “Everything happens for a reason and I’m actually having a lot of fun with it. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to turn it into a positive for the sport.”

“Josh is a future star of the sport and we know one day soon he will be able to turn his rough debut on TV into a great story of perseverance,” added PBA Commissioner Tom Clark.

Jason Belmonte won the Mike Aulby final with a 300 game during the show. He will be featured with Osku Palermaa, Sean Rash and Ryan Shafer in the PBA World Championship final Sunday on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET.


Sean Rash will fulfill the “wish” of 16-year-old Benjamin Doyle of Casper, Wyo., providing the young cancer victim with a personal visit and a bowling lesson during the Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels USBC Masters.

Rash will meet with Doyle, who is suffering from brain cancer, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Strike Zone inside Sunset Station Hotel/Casino in Henderson, Nev., in response to a request from the Make A Wish Foundation. Doyle and his family also will be invited to attend the live ESPN coverage of the USBC Masters finals on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. PT as guests of the PBA and USBC.

REGIONAL UPDATE: Thanks to an 8-0 match play record, Dale Traber of Cedarburg, Wis., won the T-Byrd Lanes Senior Open regional in Rochelle, Ill., Jan. 8 for his ninth Senior regional title to go along with his 38 regular regional titles.

In the title match, he defeated Robert Flaws of Chicago Ridge, Ill., 226-179 to take home the $1,500 first prize

PBA Regional activity continues for Midwest and Central senior players with the Lynwood Bowl Senior Open in Lynwood, Ill., Jan. 20-22, and the Sparetime Lanes Senior Open, Feb. 3-5, in Decatur, Ill. Both events are sponsored by Allstate Insurance.

The PBA Central Region also will conduct the Legend Lanes Regular/Senior Doubles Classic in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Jan. 27-29.

February’s highlight for non-senior players include the new Regional Players Doubles Championship presented by Hammer Feb. 10-12 at The Orleans in Las Vegas. For complete Regional tournament schedules and entry information, visit pba.com and click on “Regional Tour” under the “Schedules” drop-down tab.


PBA World Championship Finals


Event: PBA World Series of Bowling
Tournament: PBA World Championship Finals
Where: South Point Hotel Exhibition Hall, Las Vegas
Purse: $542,120, winner’s share: $50,000 and Earl Anthony trophy

Eliminator Format: Four finalists 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 ousted. The two finalists will then bowl in the championship match.

Each finalist won a Division final to advance to Championship.

Television: ESPN (Sunday at 1 p.m. ET)

Finland’s Osku Palermaa and Australia’s Jason Belmonte, two-handed players of almost the same age who developed their unique styles half a world apart, will join 25-year PBA Tour veteran Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., and 29-year-old Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., in the battle for the $50,000 first prize and a major title.

Palermaa, won his only PBA Tour title in the GEICO Shark Championship during the 2010 PBA World Series of Bowling. Palermaa, who defeated Stuart Williams, Dom Barrett and Jack Jurek to win the Don Carter Division berth, is trying for his first major title.

Belmonte hasn’t won a title since his first PBA Tour victory in the 2009 Bowling Foundation Long Island Classic. He also is looking for his first major title after rolling a 300 game on his way to winning the Mike Aulby Division over Brian Kretzer, Josh Blanchard and Mike Fagan.

Shafer is a four-time PBA Tour title winner who wants to end his record streak of 12 consecutive top five finishes in PBA majors without a title. Shafer eliminated Andres Gomez, Ildemaro Ruiz and Tom Smallwood in the Billy Hardwick Division.

Rash is the only finalist who has won a major (the 2007 United States Bowling Congress Masters), but he hasn’t won a title in eight television appearances since then. Rash dominated the 40 qualifying games leading into the World Championship elimination rounds, averaging 234 on five different PBA lane conditions. As the top qualifier in the finals field, he has selected the Scorpion lane oiling pattern, the same pattern he selected for the Johnny Petraglia Division when he eliminated Pete Weber, Ryan Ciminelli and Nathan Bohr.


News coming soon.