Wins the season’s final two majors to clinch both honors


New York, N.Y.—PBA50 Tour rookie Tom Hess closed the 2021 season with victories in the Senior U.S. Open and USBC Senior Masters—defeating Chris Barnes in the title match of both—to claim the PBA50 Bowler of the Year and PBA50 Rookie of the Year Awards.

“It’s not very often you set a lofty goal like that and go get it done,” said Hess, who set personal pre-season goals to win both awards. “There was a lot of joy and a little relief too. It was nice justification that I’m good enough to compete out here and come through with so much on the line.”

Hess competed in 13 events during the 2021 PBA50 season and finished in the top 10 seven times. He made it to the stepladder finals in five of those events, winning the two season-ending major championships to prevail in a close contest for the awards, both of which are based on competition points.

Going into the season’s final event, the USBC Senior Masters, three players—Hess, Barnes and Brad Angelo—were still in contention for the Rookie of the Year Award. Those three, along with then-leader Pete Weber, were also vying for the Player of the Year Award.

Hess qualified fourth for the USBC Masters stepladder finals and defeated Donnie Hogue to earn a match with Weber, who qualified third. Hess got past Weber and No. 2 seed Doug Kent, setting up another major championship match with Barnes and guaranteeing the winner would receive both Bowler of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.

Because Barnes was undefeated through the double-elimination match-play bracket, Hess had to win twice to claim the title. He did so, winning 278-226 and 237-203. Hess is the third player in PBA50 history to win the Senior U.S. Open and USBC Senior Masters in the same season, joining Tom Baker (2006) and Weber (2016).

“It’s unreal,” said Hess. “I tried to be as prepared as possible and work as hard as I could all year, but even the best in the world don’t expect to have a season like that. Especially the last two months. To have the season end the way it did was just magical.”

Hess is the first player since 2014, and third ever, to win both PBA50 Bowler of the Year and Rookie of the Year Awards in the same season, joining Norm Duke (2014) and Tom Baker (2005).

Previous PBA50 Bowlers of the Year

2020 – no winner (season canceled)
2019 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2018 – Michael Haugen Jr.
2017 – Brian LeClair
2016 – Pete Weber
2015 – Pete Weber
2014 – Norm Duke
2013 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2012 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2011 – Ron Mohr
2010 – Wayne Webb
2009 – Ron Mohr
2008 – Tom Baker
2007 – Tom Baker
2006 – Tom Baker
2005 – Tom Baker
2004 – Bob Glass
2003 – Bob Chamberlain
2002 – Mark Roth
2001 – Bob Glass
2000 – Bob Glass
1999 – Dale Eagle
1998 – Pete Couture
1997 – Gary Dickinson
1996 – John Handegard
1995 – John Handegard
1994 – Gary Dickinson
1993 – Gary Dickinson
1992 – Gene Stus
1991 – John Handegard
1990 – John Hricsina
1989 – Jimmy Certain

Previous PBA50 Rookies of the Year

2020 – no winner (season canceled)
2019 – Eugene McCune
2018 – Rolando Sebelén
2017 – Michael Haugen Jr.
2016 – Eddie Graham
2015 – Mike Scroggins
2014 – Norm Duke
2013 – Pete Weber
2012 – Amleto Monacelli
2011 – Ricky Beck
2010 – Walter Ray Williams Jr.
2009 – Brian Voss
2008 – Wayne Webb
2007 – Sam Zurich
2006 – Bob Kelly
2005 – Tom Baker
2004 – David Ozio
2003 – Don Sylvia
2002 – Vince Mazzanti Jr.
2001 – Mark Roth
2000 – Guppy Troup
1999 – Mike Pullin
1998 – Johnny Petraglia
1997 – George Pappas
1996 – Dale Eagle
1995 – Pete Couture
1994 – Larry Laub

About the PBA

The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated to the sport of bowling and its professional competition, with thousands of members and millions of fans throughout the world. The PBA plays host to bowling’s biggest tournaments from the PBA Tour, PBA Regional Tour, and PBA50 Tour. In 2020, the PBA launched PBA Jr., a club for elite youth bowlers under the age of 17 and the PBA Pinsiders, a membership for fans of the sport. For more information, please visit

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