Monday, May 26, 2014

O'Neill Leads PBA Badger Open Field in OK

Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, PA, charged out of 11th place Wednesday night to capture the top qualifying berth for Saturday’s finals in the Professional Bowlers Association’s Badger Open at FireLake Bowling Center in a battle that saw the top five players separated by only 18 pins, and defending champion Jake Peters eliminated from the stepladder finals by another three pins.
O’Neill, a four-time PBA Tour champion, averaged 230.33 to finish the 12-game Badger Open qualifying rounds with 2,764 pins, winning the top spot in the stepladder finals by two pins over PBA Hall of Famer and 37-time champion Pete Weber of St. Ann, MO, PBA rookie Marshall Kent of Yakima, WA, who joined the PBA the week before Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort PBA Summer Swing started, qualified third with a 2.761 total – one pin behind Weber. Two-handed player Brian Valenta of Lockport, Ill., qualified for his first PBA television show in fourth place with 2,750 pins, and 13-time PBA Tour winner Mika Koivuniemi, a Finnish native now living in Hartland, MI, fired a 257 final game to nip Peters for the fifth spot in the finals.
“If you don’t like matches being close and games coming down to final frame, you’re in the wrong business,” O’Neill said. “That’s why we do what we do. If you lead by 100 pins, when it’s over, it’s over; it’s kind of anticlimactic. When it’s tight like this was and you lead, there’s no better feeling.”
O’Neill, who has admittedly been in a funk over the past couple of years, said he
discovered a flaw in his game only a couple of weeks ago, and that was the difference here.
“On my fourth step in my delivery, I was drifting to the right instead of going straight,” he said, “so my arm swing was going off to the right which means the ball could go either direction. When I straightened out my fourth step, the ball fell right into place. Now if I throw a bad shot, I know exaxtly what to do to fix it.”
Earlier Wednesday, with a big first round in the Badger Open, Tom Daugherty of Wesley Chapel, FL, led the field of 18 players who qualified for the Oklahoma Open based on combined six-game rounds in the Wolf, Bear and Badger Opens. Three rounds of match play in the Oklahoma Open will be contested Thursday at 10 a.m., 2 and 6:30 p.m. at FireLake with the top five advancing to the stepladder finals Sunday at noon at the Grand Events Center.
After a total of 36 games, the 18 Oklahoma Open match play finalists will be reduced to the top five for the Oklahoma Open finals Sunday at noon at the Grand Event Center. In leading the Oklahoma Open field, Daugherty averaged 227.33 across the three “animal” lane conditions for a 4,092 total. O'Neill, who also qualified third for the Bear Open finals, is second with 4,088 pins followed by Mike Fagan, Ft. Worth, Texas, at 4,069; Bear Open qualifying leader Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., at 4,054, and Koivuniemi with 4,031 pins.Thursday’s Oklahoma Open match play rounds will be covered live on PBA’s  online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit and click on the Xtra Frame link. Live scoring of all preliminary rounds also will be available at no cost on

FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., May 21
Final Qualifying Standings (after 12 games; top five advancee to stepladder finals Saturday at Grand Event Center)
1, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 2,764.
2, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 2,762.
3, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 2,761.
4, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 2,750.
5, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 2,746.
6, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 2,743, $2,000.
7, Stuart Williams, England, 2,730, $1,800.
8, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 2,705, $1,600.
9, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 2,703, $1,400.
10, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 2,666, $1,300.
11, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 2,647, $1,200.
12, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 2,638, $1,100.
13, Mike Fagan, Ft. Worth, Texas, 2,623, $1,000.
14, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 2,602, $900.
15, Lee Vanderhoef, Greenville, S.C., 2,601, $800.
16, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 2,600, $700.
17, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 2,555, $600.
18, Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 2,521, $500.
(Top 18 after 18 games advance to round-robin match play Thursday at 10 a.m., 2 and 6:30 p.m.; top five after 36 games advance to stepladder finals Sunday at Grand Event Center)
1, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 4,092.
2, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 4,088.
3, Mike Fagan, Ft. Worth, Texas, 4,069.
4, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 4,054.
5, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 4,031.
6, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 4,019.
7, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 4,013.
8, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,992.
9, Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., 3,987.
10 (tie), E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., and Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 3,977.
12 (tie), Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, and Dom Barrett, England, 3,967.
14, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,960.
15, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,959.
16, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,941, $100.
17, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,938.
18, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 3,931.

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