Thinking about twice leaving the split known as “bedposts” undoubtedly made the Professional Bowlers Association’s brightest star lose some sleep Sunday night.
Australian Jason Belmonte, seeking his record 11th career PBA major tournament crown, was derailed in the championship match of the PBA Players Championship at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in heartbreaking fashion – leaving pocket 7-10 splits in both the fourth and 10th frames – in a 232-212 loss to fellow two-hander Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas.
The finals were televised live on FS1 (Fox Sports).
So, instead of Belmonte breaking a tie with Pete Weber and Earl Anthony for the most major championships in PBA Tour history, it was the 22-year-old Simonsen who became the youngest player to win two PBA majors.
The top-seeded Belmonte never missed the 1-3 pocket during the match but, uncharacteristically, he was victimized by poor carry.
Simonsen, following Belmonte’s 7-10 split in the 10th frame, rolled a strike on his first ball in the 10th for his fifth consecutive strike to lock up the match and take home the $50,000 first prize.
The week before, it was Belmonte who captured his 10th major, also as the No. 1 seed, by defeating E.J. Tackett, 225-196, to earn $50,000 at the PBA Tournament of Champions.
Simonsen broke the “youngest ever” mark set by PBA Hall of Famer Billy Hardwick, who was 23 years and 259 days old when he won the 1965 T of C for his second major title.
PBA Players Championship stepladder finals:
Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, S.C, def. Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 255-245; Troup def. D.J. Archer, Spring, Texas, 194-193; Simonsen def. Troup, 259-202; Simonsen def. Belmonte, 232-212. Prize money: $50,000, 1st; $25,000, 2nd; $13,000, 3rd; $11,000, 4th; $10,000, 5th.
The finals of the PBA Indianapolis Open will be televised live on FS1 at 3 p.m. this Sunday.
ROCHESTER’S GUSTKE POCKETS $1,500 TOP PRIZE
Rob Gustke of Rochester, a 48-year-old right-hander, captured the $1,500 first prize at the 41st annual Mount Morris Pepsi Open on Feb. 10 at Mount Morris Lanes.
Gustke, a 220-plus average bowler, defeated Ken Ball of Avon, a PBA Regional senior tour player, by a score of 202-192 in the title match of the tournament, which was contested on a difficult “Sport” oil pattern.
Previously, Gustke downed high qualifier Brian Hall of Macedon, 189-171, and two-hander Mark Scuderi of Rochester, 169-138, to reach the finals.
Ball took home $750 for his efforts, while Scuderi and Kevin Donovan of Painted Post each earned $250.
Perry’s Brady Weber was the lone Genesee Region USBC bowler to cash, winning $120.
PLENTY OF EVENTS SCHEDULED OVER NEXT MONTH
Genesee Region bowling centers are hosting several tournaments in February and March.
Feb. 22-24, Le Roy Legion Lanes – The 17th annual Ron Riggi Memorial 4-person handicap tournament offers a $1,000 first prize, based on 40 entries. Squad times are 6:30 p.m. Friday, noon and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and noon and 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
The entry fee is $100 per team and one in six teams will cash. Handicap is based on 80 percent of the bowler’s average and 210, using last year’s highest average. If a bowler’s average is 10 pins or more higher this season, he or she will have to use this season’s average.
An optional singles tournament will available, with the entry fee set at $5.
To reserve a spot, contact Mark Brown at 716-474-7960.
March 2, Oak Orchard Bowl, Albion – The 4th annual NY Gamerz/Smash It Sports 3-person handicap no-tap event lists squads at 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m., and one in six teams will cash. The entry fee is $60 per team.
Handicap is based on 90 percent of 225. The fundraising event will feature prize drawings and 300 game jackpots.
To sign up, call or text Bill Hickman at 585-590-6717 or call the bowling center at 585-589-6900.
March 8-10, 15-17, Mount Morris Lanes – The 20th annual Bob Bertram Memorial 5-person handicap no-tap tournament once again is offering a $1,000 first prize – guaranteed – with an entry fee of $125 per team.
Squad times are 9 p.m. on Fridays, 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. A light buffer will be served on all full squads.
Handicap is based on 100 percent of 210, using the highest USBC average from 2017-18 season for a minimum of 21 games. If a bowler does not have a 2017-18 average, he or she will use the highest current average for at least 21 games. The 10-pin rule will apply.
The tournament also features an optional singles event with a $10 entry fee.
To enter, call the bowling center at 585-658-2540 or send an email to [email protected].
March 9, Mancuso Bowling Center, Batavia – T.F. Brown’s Restaurant and Budweiser once again will be sponsoring the King & Queen mixed doubles handicap tournament that offers a guaranteed top prize of $500. The entry fee is $50 per team.
Squad times are noon and 2 p.m. The top three teams from each squad along with six more teams (based on their totals) will advance to the head-to-head finals. Handicap is based on 80 percent of a team average of 420.
For more information or to enter, call Brown at 716-474-7960 or the bowling center at 585-343-1319.
March 9-10, Le Roy Legion Lanes – The 13th annual GRUSBC Youth Doubles tournament lists squads at 12:30 and 3 p.m. on March 9 and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. (during the GR Travel League).
Entry fee is $36 per team, with competition in three divisions based on team average. Handicap will be 90 percent of 200 for all divisions, using GRUSBC youth members’ highest current averages for this season.
Trophies will be awarded to the first three spots in each division and first place team bowlers will win $100 scholarships.
Entry forms can be downloaded from the GRUSBC website – www.bowlgr.com. To enter, contact Tom Fluker at 585-284-2637.
March 15-16, Mancuso Bowling Center – Some of the best scratch bowlers in Western New York will be in Batavia for the T.F. Brown’s Scratch Eliminator, which offers a $1,500 first prize (based on entries).
Squad times (four games) are 6:30 p.m. Friday and 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, with a last chance round and finals to follow. One in five from each squad will advance.
The top senior (50-and-over) and woman not making the cut will advance to the finals.
The entry fee is $65 and re-entry is allowed.
To enter, call the bowling center at 585-343-1319.
March 16, Medina Lanes – The 10th annual KIWA Memorial 3-person handicap no-tap tournament lists a $500 first prize (based on entries) and an entry fee of $75 per team.
Squad times are 1 and 3 p.m. Proceeds will go to benefit the Medina High School Scholarship Fund.
To enter, call the bowling center at 585-318-4474.
ROSE GARDEN TEAM MOVES INTO FIRST PLACE
Brendan Pimm’s 222 game and 612 series sparked Rose Garden II to a 17-7 victory over Oak Orchard Bowl II and into first place in the Genesee Region Youth Travel League.
The win raised Rose Garden II’s record to 105-63, a point better than Oak Orchard I, which topped Mount Morris, 19-5. Oak Orchard II is in third place, five points back.
High scores for the week:
Dennis Van Duser, Perry, 199 game, 574 series; Trent Willis, Mount Morris, 203 game, 569 series; Devon Zinter, Rose Garden I, 211 game, 514 series; Ben Lennox, Oak Orchard II, 195 game, 505 series; Samantha Hyde, Le Roy, 181 game, 498 series.
The league bowls again on March 3 at Mount Morris Lanes, and wraps up the regular season on March 10 at Le Roy Legion Lanes.
For complete standings and statistics, go to www.bowlgr.com and click on the Jr. Travel League tab at the top of the home page.
60-AND-OVER IS THIS WEEKEND, NYS MASTERS ON MARCH 2
Scratch bowlers have a couple of choices over the next two weeks – the Tommy Kress 60-and-Over Tour stop this Sunday and the New York State Masters Championship on Saturday, March 2.
AMF Gates Bowl is hosting the 60-and-over tournament, which is being sponsored by A Better Choice Pro Shop. First place is $1,000 for this “special” event and the entry fee is $70.
Check-in begins at 10:30 a.m., with the bowling to start at noon.
Some of the state’s best bowlers will be at Dixie Lanes in Elmira on March 2 for the 29th NYS Masters, which offers a $2,500 first prize and paid entry to the 2020 USBC Masters.
Two Genesee Region USBC members, Brian Green and James Townsend of Batavia, are among those signed up for the 12:30 p.m. squad, and more local bowlers are expected to compete.
For more information or to enter, call 585-343-3736 or send an email to [email protected].
REMEMBERING ROGER MUEHLIG – A TRUE PROFESSIONAL
I first met Roger Muehlig in November 1971, when he was assigned to write a story about the 300 game I rolled as a 16-year-old 11th grader in the Batavia High afterschool league at Mancuso Lanes.
Less than six years later, I found myself sitting at a desk near him as a fledgling sports/general news reporter for The Daily News, and we remained colleagues for the next 15 years.
Even after I left full-time employment there, I continued to see Roger frequently in my role as a free-lance reporter and columnist, and I am glad to have been able to spend a few minutes with him around Christmas time last year.
A soft-spoken gentleman, Roger passed away last Friday at the age of 73.
He spent 42 years as a staff (and senior) reporter at The Daily News, retiring in 2012, and served the company and the community as a true professional – inquisitive, dedicated, compassionate and accurate in his reporting.
He also was a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan, and we would talk about their futility, not having won a World Series since 1907 and 1908. When the Cubs finally won the World Series in 2016, my thoughts immediately went to Roger – his lifetime dream had become a reality.
My thoughts today are with his wife, Donna; children, Mitchell, Brittany and Drew, and family. May God keep you and strengthen you.