Monday, June 7, 2021


SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, was in complete control of her game this week at the 
Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Albany Open, and her masterful performance concluded with a return to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2017.

The United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer defeated two-time reigning PWBA Player of the Year Shannon O’Keefe of Shiloh, Illinois, in a thrilling title match at Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center, 228-217, to record her seventh PWBA Tour victory.

The championship round was broadcast live on, with Kulick earning $10,000 for the win. O’Keefe collected $5,000 for the runner-up finish.

Kulick’s last win on tour came at the 2017 PWBA Fountain Valley Open, and her victory Saturday was her second since the relaunch of the PWBA Tour in 2015.

The 44-year-old right-hander entered Saturday’s competition as the tournament leader and retained that spot through 12 more games to earn the top seed for the stepladder finals, averaging more than 240 for her 24 qualifying games.

O’Keefe never let her out of her sights, however, averaging more than 238 to finish qualifying in second place.

The 14-time tour champion continued to pressure Kulick as the title match got underway, rolling three consecutive strikes after a spare in the first frame to take the early advantage.

Kulick maintained her hold on the pocket on this week’s 36-foot oil pattern, but she didn’t record a double through the first five frames.

A small adjustment in her physical game helped her create a better angle through the pins, resulting in four consecutive strikes, starting in the sixth frame.

“I talked with my tour reps and wondered if I needed to make a ball change,” said Kulick, a 17-time Team USA member. “After talking about it, I told them I knew what I needed to do. I got my hand underneath the bowling ball and started to go around it a bit more, to create more angularity off the spot. I know I have the tools and the knowledge, but you have to trust what you’re able to do. I trusted myself, like I had all week long.”

Kulick entered the final frame with the opportunity to roll two more strikes to shut out O’Keefe, but a light hit on her first delivery resulted in a 7 pin. She converted the spare and struck on her fill ball to force O’Keefe to double for her second win of the season.

O’Keefe, who won the season-opening PWBA Bowlers Journal Classic, left a 3-10 split on the first shot of her 10th frame, allowing Kulick to raise the trophy.

Kulick had finished as the runner-up five times since her win in 2017, including earlier this season at the PWBA Lincoln Open.

Saturday’s run to the stepladder finals was her third championship-round appearance in five events this season, and her confidence is growing as she looks ahead at the rest of the year.

“I came out here for two reasons  to have fun and enjoy bowling again and to know I could win again,” Kulick said. “Age is just a number, and I still feel energetic, youthful and like I’m in great shape. With the way I’m throwing it right now, I’m building confidence, and I know the sky is the limit for the rest of the season. I’ve been bowling smart and trusting myself, and the fact that I’m making shows on multiple patterns means my versatility is still there, too.”

O’Keefe advanced to the title match by defeating her former student-athlete at McKendree University, Breanna Clemmer of Clover, South Carolina, 247-193.

O’Keefe is the head coach for the women’s bowling program at McKendree, and Clemmer attended the university from 2016-2020. O’Keefe and Clemmer helped bring the Bearcats titles at the 2017 NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship and Intercollegiate Team Championships.

Clemmer, a rookie on tour this season, made her second consecutive championship-round appearance after recording a third-place finish at last week’s PWBA BVL Open in Farmingdale, New York.

The 23-year-old right-hander advanced to the semifinals by defeating three-time PWBA Tour champion Stefanie Johnson of McKinney, Texas, in the opening game of the stepladder, 213-192. Clemmer closed with four strikes to shut out Johnson, who made her first championship-round appearance of 2021.

The 66-player field in South Glens Falls bowled 12 games Friday, before the first cut to the top 32 athletes. Advancers bowled an additional six-game block Saturday morning, with the top 12 competing in a final six-game round to determine the four bowlers for the stepladder, based on 24-game pinfall totals.

The PWBA Tour will head to Smyrna, Tennessee, next week for the PWBA Greater Nashville Open. The event will be held at the Smyrna Bowling Center and take place June 10-12. 

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Bowlero To Acquire 17 Bowl America Centers

NEW YORK, May 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Bowlero Corp, the worldwide leader in bowling entertainment, announced today it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Bowl America Incorporated (NYSE American: BWL-A), under which Bowlero Corp will acquire Bowl America.

Upon completion of the transaction, Bowlero Corp, the owner and operator of over 300 bowling center locations in North America, will acquire Bowl America's 17 bowling centers in Florida, Virginia and Maryland.

"Bowlero Corp is committed to delivering a world class bowling experience to the 28 million-plus guests we serve each year and we're thrilled to welcome Bowl America's 17 centers to our portfolio," said Tom Shannon, Chairman and CEO of Bowlero Corp. "This acquisition supports our ongoing strategic efforts to grow and revitalize all aspects of the bowling industry."

The acquisition is subject to stockholder approval and other customary closing conditions.

Sunday, May 2, 2021


LINCOLN, Neb.  A day before her 47th birthday, Liz Johnson of Niagara Falls, New York, earned a long-awaited gift as she put together an unforgettable performance to win her 25th Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour title at the 2021 PWBA Lincoln Open.

Johnson collected three victories to run the ladder in Saturday’s championship round at Sun Valley Lanes, averaging 261 in her three wins, which included a 300 game in the semifinal and a 238-213 victory over Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, in the title match.

The 10-time major champion earned $10,000 for the win, and a $10,000 bonus from Go Bowling for rolling a perfect game during the stepladder finals. provided wire-to-wire coverage of the 2021 PWBA Lincoln Open, including the stepladder finals.

“This is probably the best birthday present I’ve ever had,” said Johnson, a United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer. “I couldn’t ask for a better present, and this is one I’ll never forget.”

The title tilt featured Johnson holding the slight edge through the first seven frames, with a 7-10 split from Kulick in the eighth frame giving Johnson a 25-pin lead as the game neared its conclusion.

Needing eight pins in two shots to secure the win in the final frame, Johnson rolled a strike to claim her first title since the 2018 Nationwide PWBA Columbus Open.

The win moves Johnson into a tie for fourth place on the PWBA’s all-time titles list, joining Patty Costello and Tish Johnson. Lisa Wagner tops the list with 32 wins, with Aleta Sill and Leanne Hulsenberg following with 31 and 27 victories, respectively.

Johnson’s historic run Saturday, which also included the right-hander becoming the first bowler in PWBA history to roll multiple 300 games in championship-round appearances, was the result of trying to do something different in attacking the event’s 46-foot oil pattern after the scoring pace slowed down toward the end of qualifying.

There have been five perfect games rolled in championship rounds on the PWBA Tour, with the last being achieved at the 2019 Pepsi PWBA Louisville Open by Ukraine’s Dasha Kovalova. Kovalova’s 300 game was against Johnson in the title match.

“They were brutal earlier today, and after talking to my ball reps, we tried something out,” said Johnson, who rolled her first 300 in a championship-round appearance during the title match of the 2001 Paula Carter Classic. “I wanted to take a ball and put some surface on it to see how it looked from the outside part of the lane. It was the same ball I had used most of the week, but from different angles. I was fortunate to find the right combination.

“I felt really focused tonight. It was probably the most I’ve been in a long time, and everything kind of fell into place. My mindset was good, I felt great physically and was making the shots I needed. I was very excited to have another chance to shoot 300, and being able to do that and win tonight was absolutely amazing.”

Johnson’s 300 game in the semifinal was against Gazmine Mason of Cranston, Rhode Island, who was making her first championship-round appearance on the national tour after winning a pair of regional titles in 2019 and 2020. Mason rolled 232 in the match.

Saturday’s opening game featured Johnson besting Shannon Pluhowsky of Dayton, Ohio, 245-223.

Mason and Pluhowsky were part of a large contingent of former University of Nebraska standouts competing at the PWBA Lincoln Open this week.

Mason helped the Cornhuskers win the 2015 NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship, while Pluhowsky was part of three national-title-winning teams (2001 Intercollegiate Team Championships and 2004 and 2005 NCAA) and recently helped Nebraska claim the 2021 NCAA title as an assistant coach.

Johnson qualified as the No. 4 seed for the stepladder after rolling 216 in her final qualifying game to jump into the top four. Kulick, who finished third at last week’s PWBA Twin Cities Open and was looking for her seventh PWBA Tour title, earned the top seed by averaging more than 224 for 24 games, finishing with a 5,381 total.

The 65-player field bowled 12 games Friday, before the first cut to the top 32 athletes. Advancers bowled an additional six-game block Saturday morning, with the top 12 competing in a final six-game round to determine the four bowlers for the stepladder finals, based on 24-game pinfall totals.

The 2021 PWBA Tour season, which features 20 events, will head next to Yorktown Lanes in Parma Heights, Ohio, for the PWBA Greater Cleveland Open. The event will take place May 6-8.

For more information on the PWBA, visit

2021 PWBA Lincoln Open
At Sun Valley Lanes
Lincoln, Neb.

Saturday’s results

1, Liz Johnson, Niagara Falls, N.Y., 783 (three games), $10,000
2, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 213 (one game), $5,000
3, Gazmine Mason, Cranston, R.I., 232 (one game), $3,500
4, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 223 (one game), $2,500


Match No. 1 – Johnson def. Pluhowsky, 245-223
Semifinal – Johnson def. Mason, 300-232
Championship – Johnson def. Kulick, 238-213


     1, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 5,381. 2, Gazmine Mason, Cranston, R.I., 5,251. 3, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 5,236. 4, Liz Johnson, Niagara Falls, N.Y., 5,203.


     5, Stefanie Johnson, McKinney, Texas, 5,183, $1,900. 6, Julia Bond, Aurora, Ill., 5,158, $1,700.
     7, Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 5,149, $1,625. 8, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 5,131, $1,550. 9, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 5,128, $1,500. 10, Shannon O'Keefe, Shiloh, Ill., 5,080, $1,450. 11, Dasha Kovalova, Ukraine, 5,077, $1,425. 12, Verity Crawley, England, 4,994, $1,400.


     1, Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 4,089. 2, Gazmine Mason, Cranston, R.I., 4,042. 3, Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 4,040. 4, Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 3,976. 5(tie), Stefanie Johnson, McKinney, Texas, and Liz Johnson, Niagara Falls, N.Y., 3,938.
     7, Julia Bond, Aurora, Ill., 3,909. 8, Liz Kuhlkin, Schenectady, N.Y., 3,898. 9, Diana Zavjalova, Latvia, 3,881. 10, Dasha Kovalova, Ukraine, 3,862. 11, Shannon O'Keefe, Shiloh, Ill., 3,844. 12, Verity Crawley, England, 3,835.

     13, Breanna Clemmer, Clover, S.C., 3,802, $1,100. 14, Taylor Bailey, Joliet, Ill., 3,795, $1,100. 15, Birgit Noreiks, Germany, 3,778, $1,100. 16, Abby Ragsdale, Aurora, Ill., 3,772, $1,100. 17, Erin McCarthy, Elkhorn, Neb., 3,754, $1,100. 18, Maria Bulanova, Russia, 3,745, $1,100.
     19, Maria José Rodriguez, Colombia, 3,688, $1,100. 20, Kayla Bandy, Wichita, Kan., 3,676, $1,100. 21, Lindsay Boomershine, Perry, Utah, 3,674, $1,100. 22(tie), Valerie Bercier, Muskegon, Mich., and Elise Bolton, Merritt Island, Fla., 3,670, $1,100. 24, Taylor Bulthuis, Coral Springs, Fla., 3,651, $1,100.
     25, Josie Barnes, Hermitage, Tenn., 3,645, $1,100. 26, Jen Higgins, Lewis Center, Ohio, 3,643, $1,100. 27, Jasmine Snell (n), Papillion, Neb., 3,634, $1,100. 28, Tannya Roumimper, Indonesia, 3,630, $1,100. 29, Caitlyn Johnson, Beaumont, Texas, 3,615, $1,100. 30, Cassandra Leuthold, Lincoln, Neb., 3,609, $1,100.
     31, Kayla Pashina, Minnetonka, Minn., 3,596, $1,100. 32, Kara Mangiola, Spencerport, N.Y., 3,543, $1,100.

About the PWBA
The Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) originally was formed in 1960. The PWBA Tour has events throughout the country, offering high-level competition and top prize money for women bowlers. The PWBA is supported by the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA) and the United States Bowling Congress (USBC).

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

College Male and Female Bowler of the Year Finalists Announced

IBMA Announces
2021 Sweet Sixteen Finalists for the
Storm Collegiate Bowlers of the Year
The International Bowling Media Association is pleased to announce the sixteen finalists for the 2021 IBMA Collegiate Bowler of the Year, presented by Storm Bowling. The selection committee is comprised of IBMA members who are bowling media and former college coaches and athletes.
The nominees are as follows:
Joshua Imhoff, Oklahoma Christian University
Alec Keplinger, Wichita State University
Jeffery Mann, Marian University
Kevin McCune, Calumet College of St. Joseph
Romeo Patrick-Holmes, Notre Dame College
Michael Rachal, Lincoln Memorial University
Nicholas Sommer, Wichita State University
Nathan Stubler, St. Ambrose University
Ayra Nur Jehan Aminuddin, Mount Mercy University
Lindsay Brown, Martin Methodist College
Kristina Catoe, University of Pikeville
Victoria Giardina, Lawrence Technological University
Hope Gramly, McKendree University
Britni Hosterman, Bowling Green State University
Madison Janack, Wichita State University
Hannah Jaros, St. Ambrose University

The winners will be announced during an online live-streamed announcement to be made at a date to be announced.
The IBMA College Bowler of the Year Award is given each season to the male and female bowlers who excel on the lanes in USBC certified collegiate tournament play. In this pandemic-shortened season, players must have a cumulative 16 games to be considered for the award. Many professional and high-ranking amateur bowlers have received the award which was established in 1987 to honor the sport’s finest collegiate players and bring added media attention to college bowling.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


RENO, Nev. - Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio, has continued to put himself in position to become a champion on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, and he broke through in a major way Sunday at the 2021 U.S. Open.

The 29-year-old right-hander claimed the first title of his career and a $30,000 top prize with a dramatic 214-213 victory over Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, at the famed National Bowling Stadium.

The show aired live on FOX Sports' FS1 as part of the 2021 PBA Tour television schedule. The event is one of the five majors on the PBA Tour and was the final one of the 2021 season.

Via became the first No. 1 seed to win the prestigious title and coveted green jacket since 2015, and the title tilt came down to the final delivery of the long week.

Butturff had the opportunity to throw three strikes in his final frame to force a roll-off, but he fell short. He left a 2 pin after delivering two strikes, the second of which featured a messenger taking out the 7 pin.

"I fully expected to be bowling in a roll-off, especially after Jakob's first two shots, but the last one was a little off and didn't strike," said Via, who won a team gold medal with Butturff at the 2017 International Bowling Federation World Championships. "It was more shock at first when he didn't get it, then the realization that I won, and I'm a major champion. To do it at this event, and at the Stadium, the Mecca of bowling, is a dream come true."

The finalists were separated by one pin after seven frames and both working on spares in the eighth frame. Butturff followed with the first errant shot of his two games on the TV show, and a 3-7-9 split gave Via the opportunity to win.

After a fourth consecutive single-pin spare, Via could've put the game out of reach with nine, spare, strike in his final frame. Instead, he left the 2-8 combination on his first offering, spared it and struck on the fill ball to force Butturff to throw three strikes for a tie.

The loss marked the third runner-up finish for Butturff at the U.S. Open, with the first two coming in 2017 and 2018, where he was the top seed by more than 550 pins. He also lost the 2018 event by a single pin, falling 207-206 to England's Dom Barrett. Former Team USA member Rhino Page cruised to the win in 2017.

"If you keep finishing second at one of the most challenging and prestigious events, you're obviously doing something right," said Butturff, who also finished second in the PBA World Championship and Chameleon Championship this year, both part of the recent World Series of Bowling. "In these longer formats, it's about who has the patience and stamina, as well as versatility and the ability to both strike and spare. To keep getting to that level says something, and if I can keep giving myself opportunities to win it, hopefully I can eventually be the one winning by a pin."

The seven-time PBA Tour champion, including the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Masters, entered the stepladder as the second seed, hoping the different perspective, and the recent success of the No. 2 seeds at the U.S. Open, would offer a different fate. It certainly looked like that could be the case as he delivered nine strikes in his first match Sunday.

The 26-year-old left-hander was in complete control in the semifinal and rolled to a 257-203 win over 18-year-old Junior Team USA member Anthony Neuer of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

Neuer, whose father, Andy, is a PBA Tour champion, was looking to become the youngest bowler to win a major title on the PBA Tour.

Though he fell short of that goal, he did add his name to the record book by becoming the fourth bowler in history, and first since 1991, to pick up the 7-10 split on a PBA telecast.

Anthony Simonsen became the PBA Tour's youngest major champion when he won the USBC Masters in 2016. USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke set the overall record when he won his first title in 1983 at 18 years, 345 days old.

Neuer's path to the semifinal was unobstructed, as a pair of open frames from Cristian Azcona of Clermont, Florida, helped the young southpaw pick up his first TV win on the PBA Tour.

The four-time member of Junior Team USA, struck in six of his first eight frames to deny Azcona the ultimate 27th birthday present by a score of 236-200.

Azcona also was looking to become the first bowler from Puerto Rico to win a PBA Tour major. His win at the PBA Xtra Frame Wilmington Open in 2018 made him the first bowler from the island to claim a PBA Tour title of any kind.

The day's opening match was a high-scoring all-urethane battle between Azcona and three-time PBA Tour champion Jason Sterner of Rochester, New York.

Azcona started with four consecutive strikes to build a 13-pin lead, and he delivered three more strikes in his final frame to lock out the 37-year-old right-hander. The final score was 258-256.

Sterner, who finished fourth in last week's USBC Masters and was looking for his first major title, bowled a near-maximum 100 games between the two events, both at the National Bowling Stadium.

All five major winners from this season now will meet in the PBA Super Slam, which will air live on FOX on April 18.

Joining Via in that event will be Kyle Troup (PBA Players Championship), Francois Lavoie (PBA Tournament of Champions) and Tom Daugherty (Guaranteed Rate PBA World Championship) and Thomas Larsen (Masters).

The 2021 U.S. Open started with 108 competitors, all of whom bowled 24 games of qualifying across three oil patterns, before total pinfall determined the 36 bowlers who advanced to Friday morning's Cashers' Round on a fourth lane condition.

The final pattern, a 42-foot condition, was used throughout match play and was featured again on the TV show Sunday.

Following the Cashers' Round, 32-game pinfall totals determined the 24 players for round-robin match play, and their 56-game totals, including 30 bonus pins for each match they won, determined the five bowlers for Sunday's stepladder.

Via entered the Cashers' Round in 24th place and closed with games of 279, 300 and 240 to secure his spot in match play, qualifying 16th. In the rounds that followed, he moved up to 10th, then third, before a position-round win against Butturff earned him the top seed for the show.

The majority of the competitors this week earned direct entry into the event based on their on-lane performances throughout 2020, while 43 bowlers advanced to the 108-player field through last Sunday's eight-game pre-tournament qualifier.

For more information on the U.S. Open, visit

Thursday, April 1, 2021

2021 United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Masters Tournament Update

Two legends just retired from regular competition on the National PBA Tour, Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Pete Weber didn't bowl this event. I guess Norm Duke just wanted to remind everybody, he's BOWLING. Last game done for Norm today, he's +216 and leading. A and B block still to bowl.  

With the last block of 5 games happening for A and B Squads, the next hours will determine if C block bowlers that have completed their qualifying will benefit from players that are within the cut (around 28 under shown as -28), or bowlers outside the cut (more then 29 under) can create some magic.  

Bowlers within the cut might get too conservative, play too much to not lose, roll a qualifier killer score, even a 150 game, and drop out of the top 64. The players not yet within the cut line (currently –28), must make up for their under 200 games, with 200 plus games to expunge the red ink.  

A surprize just under the cut number. C block bowlers including Jason Belmonte, (Australia) and Jakob Buttruff (Tempe, AZ) tied at –30.  The World Number One, Belmonte waits for the field to shift around above and below him, hoping the cut drops a few pins to include him. Buttruff, as the last USBC Masters Champion is seeded into the top 64, so he is in.  

Other top players including: Osku Palermaa, (Finland) -33, AJ Chapman (Lewisville, TX) -46, Michael Tang (Pickerington, OH) -49, the Legends with double digit titles, Chris Barnes (Double Oak, TX), -51, and Tommy Jones (Simpsonville, SC) -56 even Chicago area member Gerald (Gerry) Marrs –62, right behind the Legends, will have an opportunity to move up in their last 5 games.  

Chicago area bowlers: Nick Kruml (Downer Grove), +129 in 7th, AJ Johnson  (Oswego) +116 in 11th, former Sandburg High School now Ambrose College bowler and amateur Cameron Crowe (Orland Park) +79 in 17th.  will most likely survive the round. 

A Pro that now lives in the area, Kris Prather (Romeoville) +84 is 15th and likely to move on also. Sean Rash (Montgomery) rolled his first block, but illness and an abundance of caution, to protect himself and the other competitors, withdrew with yet undetermined buy hopefully not COVID symptoms. 

A couple other Chicago area bowlers I recognized bubbling around 150th: Joe Lichner an amateur from Warrenville at 147th and –211 was a customer, as a high schooler, of my Revolutions-Wheaton store, inside the now defunct Wheaton Bowl. Matt Kuba (Tinley Park) is 151st and –216, I worked with the current pro early in his bowling career at Revolutions-Tinley Park, inside Centennial Lanes. 

Congratulations to all the bowlers testing themselves in one of the most challenging bowling events on the planet.