The Chameleon Championship, the third of four “animal pattern” events being conducted a central part of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IV at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas, produced an historic television finals field – including the first Middle East player to make a PBA TV final – and a truly international semifinal field.
Six countries were represented in the six-game semifinal round Monday night: the U.S., Australia, Canada, Denmark, England and Bahrain. Three of the players who emerged from the 16-player semifinal field to Sunday’s stepladder finals were no surprise. Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte powered his way into the No. 1 berth. Ageless Walter Ray Williams Jr., at age 53, qualified No. 2 for his 192nd career television appearance. Left-handed California attorney Scott Norton, who won his only PBA Tour title in the Chameleon Championship two years ago in WSOB II, will be No. 3.
But the surprise was Bahrain’s Fawaz Abdulla, 35, who rolled games of 249, 235, 278, 258, 234 and 239 in the semifinal round to advance from 11th to fourth, slipping past PBA stars Tommy Jones and Norm Duke in the final game while a contingent of Bahraini teammates celebrated every shot in support.
Abdulla, who bowled in WSOB III as a non-member, finished 18th in the 2011 Scorpion Championship with a 300 game, 44th in the Chameleon, 125th in the Viper and 162nd in the Shark Championship. Teammate Yousif Falah also cashed in 2011, finishing 27th in the Shark Championship. Both are members of the seven-man Bahrain national team which is coached by long-time international competitor Tim Mack of Indianapolis.