Friday, April 13, 2012

Fagan Leads PBA Tournament of Champions Into Round of 18

Mike Fagan of Dallas made another statement in his bid to become Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Player of the Year, averaging 240.22 in building a 119-pin lead over defending champion Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, MI, after 18 qualifying games in the PBA Tournament of Champions Thursday at Red Rock Lanes, Las Vegas, NV.

Fagan finished Thursday’s Round of 36 qualifying with a total of 4,324 pins. Koivuniemi had a 4,205 pinfall total.

The 18 players who survived Thursday’s qualifying will bowl another 18 games of head-to-head match play Friday to decide the four players who will compete for the $80,000 first prize in the ESPN stepladder finals Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

The Tournament of Champions is the final event of the PBA Tour’s 2011-12 season.

Fagan, who had won only two titles in nine previous seasons as a PBA Tour player, is seeking his third title of the 2011-12 season, including his second major championship after winning the United States Bowling Congress Masters in January. He also finished second in the U.S. Open, another major, losing that title to Pete Weber by one pin in February, and the 31-year-old Long Island, NY, native won the Brunswick Euro Challenge in March for his fourth career PBA title.

Australia’s Jason Belmonte and Norm Duke of Clermont, FL, are the only players who have won three titles during the 2011-12 season. Finland’s Osku Palermaa has won twice. Belmonte and Palermaa remained in title contention. Duke finished 25th and missed the cut to match play.

Koivuniemi, who snuck into the Round of 36 by a single pin in a four-player roll-off at the close of Wednesday’s Elite Field round, bowled with Fagan throughout Thursday’s qualifying, advancing from third place to second during Thursday’s evening round while cutting Fagan’s early lead in half. Rhino Page of Dade City, FL, finished qualifying in third place with 4,172 pins followed by Belmonte in fourth place with 4,148 pins and Sean Rash of Suburban Chicago (Montgomery, IL), in fifth with a 4,124 total.

Bowling fans can follow the final 18 games of match play today through the PBA’s exclusive coverage on Xtra Frame, the PBA’s online bowling channel; through live scoring on, and through the Professional Bowlers Association on Facebook and Twitter. Subscriptions to Xtra Frame are available on the home page.

Red Rock Lanes, Las Vegas, Thursday

ROUND OF 36 STANDINGS (after 18 games; top 18 advance to Round of 36 match play finals on Friday):
1, Mike Fagan, Dallas, 4,324.
2, Mika Koivuniemi, Finland, 4,205.
3, Rhino Page, Dade City, Fla., 4,172.
4, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 4,148.
5, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 4,124.
6, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 4,105.
7, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 4,093.
8, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 4,086.
9, Tom Daugherty, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 4,044.
10, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 4,034.
11, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 4,027.
12, Robert Smith, Los Angeles, 4,016.
13, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 4,003.
14, Stuart Williams, England, 3,975.
15, Bill O'Neill, Southampton, Pa., 3,965.
16 (tie), Dave Wodka, Henderson, Nev., and Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 3,957.
18, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,953.

Failed to advance:
19, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 3,940, $5,500.
20, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 3,914, $5,200.
21, Tony Reyes, San Bruno, Calif., 3,896, $5,000.
22, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,887, $4,900.
23, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 3,862, $4,800.
24, Mike DeVaney, Hemet, Calif., 3,854, $4,700.
25 (tie), Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., and Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 3,853, $4,550.
27, Dan MacLelland, Canada, 3,847, $4,400.
28, Eddie VanDaniker Jr., Essex, Md., 3,806, $4,300.
29 (tie), Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., and Mike Dias, Lafayette, Colo., 3,805, $4,150
31, Todd Book, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 3,801, $4,000.
32, Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 3,754, $3,900.
33, Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 3,730, $3,800.
34, Dom Barrett, England, 3,687, $3,700.
35, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 3,646, $3,650.
36, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 3,539, $3,600.

300 Games: Osku Palermaa, Stuart Williams.

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