COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sam Cooley, a 25-year-old Australian who made his Professional Bowlers Association debut in the PBA Fall Classic in Las Vegas in October, out-scored a little-known Canadian, a ranking international star and a trio of PBA Hall of Famers to take the first round lead in the Barbasol PBA Players Championship Tuesday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
Cooley, who has yet to qualify for a PBA stepladder finals, averaged 256.38 Tuesday behind games of 257, 300, 279, 209, 236, 266, 226 and 278 for an eight-game total of 2,051 pins to take a 47-pin lead over 35-time titlist Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J. and Canadian Graham Fach, who shared second place with 2,004 pins. England’s Dom Barrett, a four-time PBA Tour winner including the 2012 PBA World Championship, was fourth with 1,999 pins, just ahead of 37-time PBA Tour champion Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo. (1,983 pins); and 38-time winner Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla. (1,953 pins).
Cooley, a member of Australia’s national team, admitted he has been a little star-struck bowling with and against the PBA greats in his limited career, but “now I’m watching these guys a little, and it’s a matter of ‘wow, Pete’s bowling a good game…and now it’s my turn to bowl.’ I’m not dwelling on it.
“It’s good to be ahead of them, but tomorrow’s a new day. In my previous tournaments I’ve had really good starts and I tend to get carried away with things. I’m learning that each day is its own tournament. You have to take each day on its own. You can start good, catch a bad pair of lanes and it plays on my mind. I have to learn to focus on not worrying about scores, but making good shots all of the time.”
Among the early leaders, Weber is the only player who has previously won the PBA Players Championship (1992). With the tournament returning to major championship status this year, Weber, 53, has a chance to win an 11th career major and break his tie with Earl Anthony for the all-time PBA record.
Duke, 51, has a chance to add the only title he needs to complete the so-called “Super Slam” of PBA major titles. He has already won the U.S. Open, PBA Tournament of Champions, PBA World Championship and United States Bowling Congress Masters. A fifth different major in the PBA Players Championship would match a feat only fellow hall of famer Mike Aulby has accomplished.
But Weber, who hobbled into the bowling center after an acupuncture treatment for a lingering hip injury, and Duke, who has been battling a chronic pinched nerve issue in his neck, need to stay healthy.
“I trained really well coming into this swing (of three consecutive major championships),” Duke said. “I was strong, I was ready, but I tweaked my neck a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been trying to get myself healthy to make good shots. I figure if I can keep my health together, I like my chances. I still feel like I’m very good, but I have to stay healthy.”
The PBA Players Championship continues with second eight-game qualifying round for all players Wednesday at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET. The top 36 players after 16 games will then advance to an eight-game cashers round at 10 a.m. Thursday. Based on 24-game pinfall totals, the top 24 players will advance to eight-game round-robin match play rounds at 5 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday. All preliminary rounds will be covered live, exclusively on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video-streaming service. For subscription information, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.
After 48 games, the top five players will compete for the $40,000 first prize live on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Immediately following Sunday’s live Barbasol PBA Players Championship finals at 3 p.m. ET, ESPN will air the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by the PBA from Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. The WBT finals will feature three men (England’s Dom Barrett, Australia’s Jason Belmonte and Mike Fagan of Berkley, Calif.) and three women (Kelly Kulick of Union, N.J.; Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., and Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y.) in stepladder finals which will be contested using an experimental World Bowling scoring system.
BARBASOL PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday
First Round Standings (after 8 games)
1, Sam Cooley, Australia, 2,051. 2 (tie), Graham Fach, Ontario, Canada, and Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 2,004. 4, Dom Barrett, England, 1,999. 5, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 1,983. 6, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,953. 7, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 1,944. 8, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 1,939. 9, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,927. 10 (tie), Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., and Jason Sterner, Covington, Ga., 1,926. 12, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 1,920. 13, J.R. Raymond, Bay City, Mich., 1,905. 14, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 1,896. 15, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 1,893. 16, Mike Eaton Jr., Cincinnati, 1,892. 17, Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 1,884. 18, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 1,883. 19 (tie), Jason Belmonte, Australia; Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa; f-Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Ronnie Sparks Jr., Ecorse, Mich., 1,881. 23, John Szczerbinski, N. Tonawanda, N.Y., 1,877. 24, Brian Himmler, Cincinnati, 1,874. 25, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1,871. 26, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,867. 27, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 1,863. 28, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 1,856. 29, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,852. 30, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 1,850. 31, Miguel Lopez, Wichita, Kan., 1,847. 32, Anthony Simonsen, Princeton, Texas, 1,845. 33, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 1,844. 34, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 1,842. 35, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 1,841. 36, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 1,840. 37, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 1,835. 38 (tie), Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., and Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 1,829. 40, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 1,828. 41, Lucas Legnani, Argentina, 1,825. 42, Francois Lavoie, Wichita, Kan., 1,824. 43, Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 1,823. 44, Amleto Monacelli, Venezuela, 1,822. 45, Tim Foy Jr., Seaford, Del., 1,820. 46, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 1,819. 47, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 1,812. 48, Chad Roberts, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, 1,807. 49, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 1,804. 50 (tie), Patrick Allen, South Salem, N.Y., and Josh Conner, Columbus, Ohio, 1,799. 52, Scott Norton, Mission Viejo, Calif., 1,798. 53, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 1,796. 54, John Furey, Freehold, N.J., 1,795. 55, David Simard, Quebec, Canada, 1,793. 56, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan., 1,783. 57, Patrick Girard, Canada, 1,780. 58, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,777. 59, Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y., 1,776. 60, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 1,774. 61, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,771. 62, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 1,765. 63, D.J. Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 1,762. 64 (tie), Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., and David Haynes, Las Vegas, 1,754. 66, f-Shannon Pluhowsky, Dayton, Ohio, 1,751. 67, Eugene McCune, Munster, Ind., 1,750. 68, Jesse Buss, Wichita, Kan., 1,749. 69, Michael Haugen Jr., Phoenix, 1,745. 70, A.J. Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 1,744. 71, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 1,739. 72 (tie), Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C.; Manuel Otalora, Colombia, and Andrew Cain, Phoenix, 1,735. 75, Tom Carter, Columbus, Ohio, 1,728. 76, Jaime Gonzalez, Colombia, 1,724. 77 (tie), Johnathan Bower, Middletown, Pa., and Gregory Thompson Jr., Dublin, Calif., 1,720. 79, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 1,712. 80, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 1,705. 81, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,700. 82, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 1,699. 83, Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 1,694. 84, B.J. Moore III, Apex, N.C., 1,693. 85, Anthony LaCaze, Melrose Park, Ill., 1,691. 86, f-Liz Kuhlkin, Rotterdam, N.Y., 1,683. 87, f-Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 1,682. 88 (tie), Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., and Sean Johnson, Moundsville, W.V., 1,675. 90, Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas, 1,672. 91 (tie), Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., and Devin Bidwell, Wichita, Kan., 1,668. 93, Wayne Webb, Columbus, Ohio, 1,663. 94, Brett Cunningham, Clay, N.Y., 1,661. 95, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla., 1,660. 96, Steven Arehart, Chesapeake, Va., 1,658. 97, Jakob Butturff, Chandler, Ariz., 1,656. 98, Carleton Chambers, Detroit, 1,652. 99, Brandon Dye, Columbus, 1,650. 100, Stuart Williams, England, 1,649. 101, Terrance Bright, Atlanta, 1,645. 102, Andrew Graff, Las Vegas, 1,639. 103, Tony Johnson, Canton, Ohio, 1,638. 104, Kyle Bigelow, Troy, Ohio, 1,626. 105 (tie), f-Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., and Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,616. 107, f-Rocio Restrepo, Colombia, 1,614. 108, Anthony Kennard, Wapakoneta, Ohio, 1,608. 109, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,597. 110, John Petraglia, Jackson, N.J., 1,587. 111, Frankie Mazzella, Staten Island, N.Y., 1,565. 112, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 1,551. 113, Joshua Weiner, Hilliard, Ohio, 1,544. 114, Trey Ford III, Bartlesville, Okla., 1,535. 115, Chris Colella, Templeton, Mass., 1,525. 116, Brad Miller, Maryland Hts, Mo., 1,512. 117, Mark Nance Sr., Grove City, Ohio, 1,495. 118, Frank Bellavia Jr., Niagara Falls, N.Y., 1,467. 119, James Owens, Vernon, N.Y., 1,413. 120, Larry Helton, Bolingbrook, Ill., 1,396.
300 Games: Stuart Williams, Anthony Pepe, Sam Cooley, Andres Gomez