PBA Regional Recap: Tackett, Williams Jr. Prevail Yet Again on Regional Tour
Oh, where to begin? Walter Ray Williams Jr. now possesses 64 career PBA regional titles after gathering his second title this year and extending his all-time lead. EJ Tackett resumed his torrid pace on the season, recently picking up his fourth win of the year and 14th of his career. Then, a handful of bowlers clinched a spot into the RPI with their performances over the weekend via points or from the automatic qualifiers.
Read on to find out who else won some hardware this weekend and how they got it done in this week’s Regional Recap.
PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open
It’s Showtime! (Pretty sure I’ve used that opening line before.)
Scott Rains led the eight-game qualifying round at +237, while Jim Cowell snuck in at +104, but both fell on an even playing field entering the eight-man bracket. Rains defeated Cowell in the first round to set up a semifinal match with Brian Menini, and Menini won that match 2-0 to secure a spot in the finals.
In the bottom half of the bracket, Brian Kretzer and Gary Alstott met in the semifinals, where Kretzer won 2-0. In the final, now known as the Battle of Brians, Kretzer won 204-179 and 201-181 to pick up title No. 34, good for T-15th on the all-time leaderboard.
PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open Final Standings
- Brian Kretzer, 2,500 points, $1,800
- Brian Menini, 1,500, $1,100
- Scott Rains, 1,150, $750
- Gary Alstott, 950, $625
PBA50 Rocky Mount PLYGEM Windows Open
Just one man shot over 200 all eight games in Rocky Mount, Va., and that man was Mr. Walter Ray Williams Jr.. At +197, Deadeye claimed the one-seed and a double-bye for his efforts and used it to his advantage. His first match came against Darryl Bower, the South Region points leader, in which he won in a close three-game series, 636-626.
Next, he took on James Campbell, whom he defeated 203-182 in a one-game semifinal, to set up a match against Dan Knowlton. Knowlton put together a 242, but it was not enough to stop Williams Jr., poised for victory. En route to his 64th career regional title, Walter Ray put up a 279. Overall, including all levels of PBA, PBA50 and PBA60 competition, this marks title no. 128.
PBA50 Rocky Mount PLYGEM Windows Open Final Standings
- Walter Ray Williams Jr. 2,500 points, $2,500
- Dan Knowlton, 1,500, $1,250
- James Campbell, 1,150, $970
- Jeffrey Campbell, 950, $970
PBA50 DOXA Development Southwest Open
In a field of 53 bowlers, Chuck Hibbitts II led the field at +375 for eight games of qualifying in Waxahachie, Texas. Fast forward to match play: Rick Benard jumped to first, Glenn Smith moved to second, and Chris Barnes climbed to third with just the position round remaining. Smith would need a 19-pin victory over Benard to take the title, while Barnes could sneak past them both with a monster game.
Barnes lost to Jeff Atkins 219-208, which eliminated him from contention. But in the one-two match, Glenn Smith charged to defeat Benard, 215-177, enough to take home the win, the fifth of his career, and move up to fifth in the Southwest Region standings.
PBA50 DOXA Development Southwest Open Final Standings
- Glenn Smith, 2,500 points, $2,400
- Rick Benard, 1,500, $1,500
- Chris Barnes, 1,150, $1,000
- Jeff Atkins, 950, $800
PBA Women's Naccarato Open
Now out to Tacoma, Wash., for a triple-header, including two events to ship a few lucky bowlers to Las Vegas. But beginning with the women’s event at Paradise Lanes, Leea Haworth initiated things with a 265 in Game 2 to lead her to the top qualifying spot at +94 for the seven games. She won her first match over Catherine Rawsthorne but lost to Kristin Quah in the semifinals.
Meanwhile, Valentina Cruz defeated Avery Domaguin in the other semifinal match. In the final match, Quah opened early but found an eight-bagger to shoot a 238 and pick up her third regional title and second in Tacoma.
PBA Women's Naccarato Open Final Standings
- Kristin Quah, $1,200
- Valentina Cruz, $900
- Avery Domaguin, $650
- Leea Haworth, $650
PBA NW Jim Kent Memorial
Moving onto the PBA division, plenty of bowlers showed up to take their shot at qualifying for the RPI, but all were there to honor the late Jim Kent, Marshall Kent’s father and the namesake of the weekend’s tournament.
Plenty of PBA Tour stars topped the standings through qualifying and the advancer round. Marshall Kent earned the one-seed and took down Jordan Jung in a thrilling best-of-three match. He then faced his four-year teammate from Robert Morris University, Cameron Weier. After dropping Game 1, Weier won the second and third games to move on to the finals. Weier would face EJ Tackett, who had just taken down fellow PBA Tour champions Jake Peters and AJ Johnson.
The one-game final wowed the crowd as both bowlers began with eight of the first nine strikes, yet Weier held a one-pin lead. However, Tackett stepped up in the 10th frame and went strike-strike-nine to shoot a 278, forcing Weier to do the same. Weier stepped up and nailed the first strike, but his second ball sailed just a bit outside to leave a 10-pin as he settled for 269.
Weier, Jung, and Craig Tuholski all clinched a spot into the PBA Regional Players Invitational for their performances in Tacoma.
PBA NW Jim Kent Memorial Final Standings
- EJ Tackett, 2,500 points, $2,400
- Cameron Weier, 1,500, $1,700
- Marshall Kent, 1,150, $1,150
- AJ Johnson, 950, $1,150
PBA50 NW Gary Mage Classic
The PBA50 division saw 37 bowlers go for a stroll on the Wolf oil pattern. Robert Reed Sr. was hungrier than the wolf, going +214 for seven games and then +288 after 11 to claim the one-seed in the bracket.
Reed defeated the eight-seed Steven DeSordi 2-0, but fell to Michael Kennedy in the semifinals, 2-1. In the other semifinal, Scott Halvarson defeated Shawn Horenberger 2-0 to enter the finals versus Kennedy. There, Halvarson held a slight lead all game, but a 2-8-10 in the 10th gave Kennedy a shot for the win. However, Kennedy missed left on his first shot, and Halvarson collected his first regional win since 2017, each as a non-member.
With their strong performances, Kennedy and Reed earned their spots to the RPI in January.
PBA50 NW Gary Mage Classic Final Standings
- Scott Halvarson, $1,600
- Michael Kennedy, 1,500 points, $1,200
- Robert Reed Sr., 1,150, $900
- Shawn Horenberger, 950, $900
PBA50 Ripic's Carousel Lanes RPI Open
Now out to the East Region, plenty of “New Yawkers” made the cut to match play, all on their way to clinch a berth to the RPI. Patrick Brick led the eight-game qualifying round at +101. Entering match play, the 11 players behind Brick attempted to catch him. Three were successful, and Ray Edwards did more than that.
Edwards went 9-2 in match play to accumulate a 112-pin lead with just the position round remaining. He continued that tear in the position round, winning 258-162, to earn his 25th career regional title and $1,500.
PBA50 Ripic's Carousel Lanes RPI Open Final Standings
- Ray Edwards, 2,500 points, $1,500
- Rick Graham, 1,500, $1,025
- David Show, 1,150, $900
- Patrick Brick, $800
PBA50 Greater Freeport Midwest RPI Open, presented by Jumpin' Joe's
For the final RPI qualifier of the weekend, super senior Tom Adcock made the three-hour drive north from his hometown to Freeport, Ill., and qualified first at +176 for eight games. Adcock added over 200 pins to his lead through the advancer round and match play to earn the one-seed for the mini-stepladder.
Eugene McCune and Scott Rains earned the two and three-seeds, and battled in the opening match. It looked like Rains would take the win after an early three-bagger and an open from McCune, but the script flipped midway through. Rains split while McCune put together a five-bagger to win 207-179.
Adcock strode into the ring and built a five-pin lead through seven frames. But after a strike in the eighth frame, Adcock left a nine-pin in the ninth and a swisher 7-pin in the 10th and missed it. McCune stepped up and marked in his 10th to earn his 30th regional title and second this month.
Due to their performance in the event, Steve Jaros, Bo Goergen and Brian Krezter will represent the PBA50 Midwest Region in the RPI.
PBA50 Greater Freeport Midwest RPI Open, presented by Jumpin' Joe's Final Standings
- Eugene McCune, 2,500 points, $2,000
- Tom Adcock, 1,500, $1,400
- Scott Rains, 1,150, $1,100
- Tony Oliva, $1,000
PBA50 Cherokee Lanes Canton Open
Now down to the South Region in Canton, Ga., where for the second time in this article, Walter Ray Williams Jr. led qualifying. In the bracket, Williams Jr. earned his double-bye and took down David Lovin, but Dan Knowlton got his revenge for Rocky Mount. Knowlton, this time, beat Williams Jr. 258-197. Michael Ritz also took a trip to the finals after taking down Victor Florie Jr. 197-179.
In the championship match, Ritz missed a single pin in the second frame and split in the fourth fall behind as Knowlton kept striking. Ritz made it close with a six-bagger, but in the end Knowlton took home the win 236-222. A few months after winning his first PBA50 national title, Knowlton earned his first regional title.
PBA50 Cherokee Lanes Canton Open Final Standings
- Dan Knowlton, 2,500 points, $2,500
- Michael Ritz, 1,500, $1,250
- Walter Ray Williams Jr.. 1,150, $810
- Victor Florie Jr., 950, $810
PBA60 Wolfe Den Super Senior Open
Twenty-six bowlers competed in the Wolfe Den Super Senior Open, and 12-time champion Sammy Ventura started with the lead as the only bowler without a sub-200 game. As the one-seed, Ventura swept his first match in the best-of-five series, but fell to Mitch Sacks in the semifinals.
Sacks faced John DiSantis in the final match, and after the pair split the opening games, it came down to a winner-take-all game. DiSantis came out on top 213-172 for his third regional title and first in five years.
PBA60 Wolfe Den Super Senior Open Final Standings
- John DiSantis, $1,500
- Mitch Sacks, $900
- Sammy Ventura, $700
- Bret Cromwell, $700
PBA50 Casino Morongo Challenge
Hopefully, the bowlers were both lucky on the lanes and at the slots at the Casino Morongo Challenge in California. Michael Hartter began with the lead at +207 for seven games. Bryan Alpert stormed into the lead midway through the day, but allowed Hartter and Michael Haugen Jr. to remain in the fray. The three were separated by just 33 pins with the position round remaining.
All three players started strong, but all misstepped as Hartter missed a 7-pin in the eighth frame, Haugen missed a 10-pin in the ninth, and Alpert split in the 10th. When all was said and done, Hartter took the win by nine pins, shooting a 267 in his final match to take home his first PBA title.
PBA50 Casino Morongo Challenge Final Standings
- Michael Hartter, 2,500 points, $1,700
- Michael Haugen Jr. 1,500, $1,300
- Bryan Alpert, 1,150, $1,000
- Gary Morgan, 950, $875
PBA Championship Lanes Central/Midwest Open
In Anderson, Ind., a future host center on the 2024 PBA Tour, 12 of the 49 entrants averaged over 200 to make for a clean cut into the single-elimination bracket. Zeke Bayt, the top seed, defeated Michael Davidson in the quarterfinals to set up a match with Graham Fach, in which he lost 245-198.
Meanwhile, Michael Schlabach just shot a 300 to knock off Patrick Dombrowski and then defeated Evan Genz, 200-187. The Bear pattern didn’t deter Schlabach as he won his fourth career regional title and $2,000 with a 220-194 win over Fach.
PBA Championship Lanes Central/Midwest Open Final Standings
- Michael Schlabach, 2,500 points, $2,000
- Graham Fach, 1,500, $1,250
- Evan Genz, 1,150, $1,000
- Zeke Bayt, 950, $1,000
View the season-long points standings in each region here.