Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Palermaa First Finalist For PBA World Championships

Finland’s Osku Palermaa took a big step forward in his quest to win his second Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) title, advancing to the finals of the PBA World Championship by eliminating PBA Tour veteran Jack Jurek of Lackawanna, NY, and England’s Stuart Williams and Dom Barrett in the Don Carter Division finals that aired Sunday on ESPN

Palermaa, Europe’s premier two-handed bowling star, won the first of four PBA World Championship elimination rounds at South Point Hotel Exhibition Hall in Las Vegas, NV, with a 223-188 victory over Barrett in the final game of the Carter finals. The divisional finals consist of three one-game rounds, starting with four players, and eliminating the lowest-scoring player after each game with the surviving player advancing to the PBA World Championship finals on Jan. 15.

In the opening game, Barrett led the group with a 257 game, Williams followed with a 215, Palermaa posted a 187 and Jurek was the first man eliminated with a 169. Back-to-back unconverted splits in the second and third frames contributed to Jurek’s early exit.

Barrett again led the group in the second game with a 201, Palermaa was second with a 188 and Williams was eliminated with a 170 game. In game three, three splits which he failed to convert doomed Barrett’s bid to advance to the World Championship final round.

The Carter finals were conducted on the PBA’s Viper lane condition, selected by Williams as the highest qualifier in the field of four.

Palermaa, who won his first PBA Tour title in the GEICO Shark Championship during the 2010 PBA World Series of Bowling, will join the winners of the Billy Hardwick, Johnny Petraglia and Mike Aulby Division finals in the PBA World Championship finals on Jan. 15 on ESPN. The PBA World Championship offers a $50,000 first prize and the first major title of the 2011-12 PBA Tour season.

“It was difficult today,” Palermaa said. “We didn’t make the lane condition easy. The key was to try to bowl a clean game, because no one was going to strike a lot.”

Palermaa, one of 52 international players who represented 16 countries in the World Series of Bowling, said his international experience was a big help in Las Vegas.

“We bowl on everything in all different kinds of environments,” Palermaa said of his world-wide experience. “We have to be good on all kinds of conditions or we don’t get a paycheck.

“I’ve been battling a flu-like virus for almost two months,” he added. “I’m feeling better, but if I can bowl like this in the finals, maybe I’ll want to be sick again.”

The Billy Hardwick Division finalists will be the next World Championship group to bowl. Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, MI, who won the 2009 PBA World Championship for his only PBA Tour title, is the top qualifier in the Hardwick group and selected the Scorpion pattern as the lane condition for the second eliminator round. Other Hardwick Division players will be Venezuela’s Ildemaro Ruiz, Colombia’s Andres Gomez, and four-time PBA Tour titlist Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, NY. Ruiz, who is making his PBA television debut, and Gomez are both seeking their first PBA Tour titles.

The Hardwick Division finals air Sunday, Dec. 18, at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN. A special pre-game show will be webcast beginning Wednesday on pba.com’s Xtra Frame and a post-game Xtra Frame interview with the winner will immediately follow Sunday’s telecast.


Round One (lowest score eliminated): Dom Barrett, England, 257; Stuart Williams, England, 215; Osku Palermaa, Finland, 187; Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 169 ($4,000).

Round Two (lowest score eliminated): Barrett 201, Palermaa 188, Williams 170 ($4,500).

Championship (winner advances to PBA World Championship finals): Palermaa def. Barrett ($5,000), 223-188.

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