Schenck graduates from an exemplary youth and amateur career to earn the PBA’s top rookie honor

After leading all rookies on the 2023 PBA Tour in points, earnings and average, Phoenix’s Cortez Schenck has been named the 2023 Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year.

Schenck received 55.3% of the votes from PBA members and the media. Andrew Hall finished second with 16.1% of votes, followed by Dallas Leong, Ramsey Basurto and Nate Stubler.

“I’m super honored and happy to win the award. That was the goal going into the season,” Schenck said. “I have high respect for a lot of the rookies that were out there this year. There were a lot of really good bowlers that I’ve bowled against throughout the years. I know it was not easy for me, so I can imagine it was a mental grind for a lot of us.”

Schenck, 24, started the season slow as he struggled to crack the main field from the pre-tournament qualifiers. He said he got inside his own head as he struggled to meet lofty internal and external expectations.

“I just wasn't trusting myself,” Schenck said. “I was pressing really hard just because I had higher expectations than what was happening. I couldn’t give myself an opportunity to showcase anything or show myself what I can do.”

As a youth player, Schenck won the 2013 U15 Junior Gold Championships and a record 99 Junior Bowlers Tour (JBT) titles across the southwestern U.S.

Schenck won nine gold medals across six years as a member Junior Team USA (2016-2021). He also made Team USA in 2018 after winning that year’s U.S. Amateur title, defeating 2021 PBA Rookie of the Year Matt Russo in the final match.

During the USBC Masters at the end of March, Schenck said his girlfriend and two other friends visited from back home in Arizona. Their visit changed the trajectory of his rookie season.

“It brought me back to reality and loosened me up,” Schenck said. “It reminded me that there were only a few tournaments left and to just do the best that I could. It felt like it couldn’t get much worse and I had nothing to lose.”

Over his final four tournaments, Schenck notched three top-25 finishes, including a season-high finish of 10th in the Roth/Holman PBA Doubles Championship presented by Bally's Dover Casino Resort with Michael Fitzgerald.


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Growing up, Schenck said the main player he admired was Mike Fagan.

“The high swing, high rev rate — Fagan was the guy you wanted to throw it like if you were one-handed,” Schenck said.

In recent years, Schenck said Anthony Simonsen, Jason Belmonte and particularly Darren Tang are three players he’s learned from.

“Darren’s given me some advice over the last couple of years and he's been super supportive of me,” Schenck said. “I’m always really comfortable talking to him. I think we see the lanes pretty similarly, so sometimes I try to model my game after what he's doing because he is a good player as well.”

Schenck made his first career PBA telecast in Jan. 2022, falling to Jason Belmonte.

Schenck intended on bowling the 2022 PBA Tour season. He made the West Region Finals of the PBA Players Championship, which was the first tournament of the season.

After his father Stephen passed away in February, Schenck stepped away from the lanes for several months to grieve and help run his father’s business. He later bowled the 2022 USBC Masters, but because he bowled in just two events he retained rookie eligibility for 2023.

“My dad meant everything to me,” Schenck said. “He was with me every step of the way for anything bowling-related. He went to all my tournaments and was my biggest supporter for sure.”

When Schenck returned to PBA competition in the West Region in June, he reminded the bowling world of his immense talent. He won his first two PBA Regional Tour events of the season, then finished runner-up in the next two.

Ultimately, he earned the West Region’s Rookie of the Year award for 2022. After taking his talents to the national tour, Schenck said his dad would be super proud and happy.

“Winning Rookie of the Year was definitely one of those goals he had for me,” Schenck said “I think right now he'd be telling me, ‘Great job, I’m proud of you. But still, you could do a lot better.’

“I’m looking forward to hopefully bouncing off my rookie season and improving next year.”

Recent Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year Winners

Santtu Tahvanainen, 2022
Matt Russo, 2021
not awarded in 2020 due to the pandemic-interrupted season (2020 rookies retained eligibility through 2021)
Mykel Holliman, 2019
Kamron Doyle, 2018
Matt Sanders, 2017
François Lavoie, 2016
Jesper Svensson, 2015
Marshall Kent, 2014
EJ Tackett, 2013

Complete list of Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year award winners

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