PBA Regional Recap: 2023 RPI Spots Filling Up Fast
Six more players, coming from the PBA’s Central Region and the PBA50’s South Region, have seized spots in the 2023 Regional Players Invitational.
A wide variety of bowlers continue to fill the roster, including last season’s PBA50 RPI runner-up in Darryl Bower. Among those who had previously clinched their RPI berth are bowlers looking to cap off their phenomenal regional regular season, like Anthony Neuer, and players looking to make a name for themselves.
So far, 21 bowlers have clinched a spot via automatic bids. Twenty more will clinch a spot through their region’s RPI qualifier over the coming weeks, while the top point-earners at the conclusion of the 2023 regular season will fill out the PBA and PBA50 fields.
Read on to learn more about the latest 10 regional champions in this week’s Regional Recap.
PBA50 Jeff Schrum Memorial RPI South Open
Starting in Gastonia, N.C., Dennis Killough took the one-seed into the single-elimination bracket, but fell in his first matchup to Terry Wiley. James Winterfeld, Bill Vannoy, and Darryl Bower, who shot a 300 in bracket play, joined Wiley in the semifinals for one-game matches. In the Winterfeld-Wiley match, Winterfeld began with back-to-back opens, but a five-bagger in the middle of the game propelled him to a 226-189 win.
Bower and Vannoy were locked in a tight second match. Bower put together a 20-pin fill to force Vannoy to strike out for a tie, but Vannoy got nine on his fill to fall by a pin.
Winterfeld kicked things off with a triple in the final match, while Bower opened twice in his first five frames. Bower put together a late triple of his own, but it was too little, too late. With a 223-191 win, Winterfeld picked up his first career title and a berth to the RPI. Second-place Bower and third-place Vannoy will join him in Vegas as well.
PBA50 Jeff Schrum Memorial RPI South Open Final Standings
- James Winterfeld, 2,500 points, $3,000
- Darryl Bower, 1,500, $1,500
- Bill Vannoy, 1,150, $1,200
- Terry Wiley, 950, $1,200
PBA Family Ford of Bluffton/Yergy's BBQ/EZ Bowl Central Open
The PBA Central Region is next up in the RPI talks, and Michael Schlabach started the conversation with a qualifying lead at +211 for eight games. But with an advancer round remaining and plenty of familiar names in the field, movement shook up the standings again. EJ Tackett stormed up to grab the one-seed in the three-man stepladder, while Marshall Kent took the two, and Zac Tackett took the three-seed by just four pins.
The matchup between Kent and Zac Tackett wasn’t particularly close as Kent shot a 213 to Zac Tackett’s 172. In the final match between pals EJ and Marshall, Marshall had the upper hand, delivering a 248 over EJ's 190. Marshall took home the title and $2,500, defeating both Tackett brothers in their family's own center.
Due to RPI qualification rules, Schlabach, Sam DeWitt, and Dean Vargo earned spots at South Point in January.
PBA Family Ford of Bluffton/Yergy's BBQ/EZ Bowl Central Open Final Standings
- Marshall Kent, 2,500 points, $2,500
- EJ Tackett, 1,500, $1,300
- Zac Tackett, 1,150, $1,100
- Michael Schlabach, 900, $875
PBA Ft Sill Southwest Open
A mere two weeks after his fourth career regional title, Kris Koeltzow began with the lead in Fort Sill, Okla., through eight qualifying games. Fast forward to the final game of the final advancer round, and the top group was all bunched up. AJ Chapman eventually took the one-seed, Deo Benard in the two, Dylan Macon at three, and Koeltzow dropped to four.
Ten frames weren’t enough in the opening match as Koeltzow and Macon sent it to a one-ball roll-off after a tie at 223. Macon struck on his first attempt, which was enough to move on after Koeltzow got nine. Macon failed to continue the run in match two, falling to Benard 213-202, and Benard continued on from there. Chapman ran into a rough pair, delivering just a 155 to the 219 of Benard. Benard picked up his sixth title, now two more than his dad’s non-member career total. (Sorry, Rick.)
PBA Ft Sill Southwest Open Final Standings
- Deo Benard, 2,500 points, $2,800
- AJ Chapman, 1,500, $1,900
- Dylan Macon, 1,150, $1,400
- Kris Koeltzow, 950, $1,150
PBA NW Invitational Presented by Bowlero
Jake Peters led after six games in Lynnwood, Wash., just outside of Seattle. Peters eventually landed in the two-seed after Cameron Weier jumped ahead of him after 11 more games. Payden Stumpf and Chris Tuholski landed at the third and fourth seeds.
Stumpf took down Tuholski in the opening match of the stepladder, 207-185, then stomped Jake Peters in the second, 267-128. The championship match between Stumpf and Weier was a rematch from the Spokane event in July. Stumpf posted a 202, forcing Weier to step up and strike in the 10th frame. Weier delivered, notching his fifth career regional title and first since 2017.
PBA NW Invitational Presented by Bowlero Final Standings
- Cameron Weier, $1,800
- Payden Stumpf, $1,200
- Jake Peters, $900
- Chris Tuholski, $800
PBA50 NW Invitational presented by Bowlero
Now for the PBA50 division inside the same Bowlero Lynnwood, Shawn Horenberger started with the lead, albeit a narrow one, and eventually fell to the three-seed for the stepladder. Clyde DeLoach out of Oregon took the top seed, Blaine Weninger followed as the two, and Michael Kennedy claimed the four.
Kennedy took down the qualifying leader 206-162 in the first match and used that same mojo to defeat Weninger, 208-157. DeLoach stepped up next, doing what he could to tame some of the Kennedy magic, but he fell just short. A 7-pin stood strong on his first shot in the 10th as Kennedy collected his second title of the season and third overall, winning 185-182.
PBA50 NW Invitational presented by Bowlero Final Standings
- Michael Kennedy, $1,500
- Clyde DeLoach, $1,100
- Blaine Weninger, $950
- Shawn Horenberger, $750
PBA50 Hot Springs Village SW Open
Moving onto the following weekend at Liberty Lanes in the Southwest Region, Mike Bailey went +298 for eight games of qualifying to claim the one-seed, but fell in the quarterfinals of the 12-player bracket. Rick Benard pulled out the upset over Bailey to set up a match with Glenn Smith, who he also knocked off in the semifinals.
In the other semifinal, C.K. Moore stormed through the bracket, knocking off Keith Lesko 3-0 and Tony Franklin 2-0. In the finals, Moore did the same to Benard with wins of 219-211 and 279-263. This marks Moore’s first regional title since 1997, ending a 26-year drought.
PBA50 Hot Springs Village SW Open Final Standings
- C.K. Moore, 2,500 points, $2,400
- Rick Benard, 1,500, $1,500
- Tony Franklin, 1,150, $1,000
- Glenn Smith, 950, $1,000
PBA Lafayette Lanes Fayetteville Open
In a multi-round tourney down in Fayetteville, N.C., Will Little started with the lead at +341, but with plenty of games and advancer rounds to go, tons of bowlers were poised to make a charge. In fact, Zachary Tackett and Will Vidulich stood above the rest, bolting past Little, who ended up with a fourth-place finish. Matt Taylor ended up in third, which pitted Tackett and Vidulich against each other in a one-game final.
Although Vidulich fought hard, putting together a three-bagger in frames 4-6, a single-pin miss in the seventh ended his hopes. Tackett had begun his match with the front-eight before finally leaving a couple of single pins. At that point, he had the match sealed anyway, picking up his third regional title of his sizzling-hot 2023.
PBA Lafayette Lanes Fayetteville Open Final Standings
- Zachary Tackett, 2,500 points, $3,000
- Will Vidulich, 1,500, $1,500
- Matt Taylor, 1,150, $1,000
- William Little, 950, $1,000
PBA West Battle at Black Oak
Ah yes, the Battle at Black Oak — one of America’s most memorable battles. Florida resident Tom Daugherty made the trip out to California for the double-points event and made it worthwhile, leading qualifying at +223 for eight games. During match play, Daugherty fought off plenty of PBA Tour stalwarts en route to sneaking in the one-seed for the mini stepladder, while Darren Tang and Dallas Leong took the two and three seeds.
Leong posted a 256 in the first game of the stepladder, forcing Tang to get a double and nine. Tang doubled, but he left the 3-6-10 on his fill to allow Leong to move on to face Daugherty. This one was not as close as Leong lost his luster, falling to Daugherty in their own Battle at Black Oak, 246-199. Daugherty now has 22 career regional titles and two this season.
PBA West Battle at Black Oak Final Standings
- Tom Daugherty, 5,000 points, $2,300
- Dallas Leong, 3,000, $1,700
- Darren Tang, 2,300, $1,300
- PJ Haggerty, 1,900, $1,000
PBA50 Battle at Black Oak
About 300 miles from his listed hometown, Scott Critchfield showed up at Black Oak lanes, ready to squash a scorpion — the oil pattern, that is. After leading at +152, he stayed on the train tracks through match play and the position round to claim the one-seed at +430, while Skip Pavone and Dennis Horan Jr. would battle in the first stepladder match.
The two lefties struggled in the first battle, but Pavone defeated Horan 196-168. Critchfield then stepped in, looking for his first title, while Pavone sought title number two. The final match wasn’t close — Pavone took down Critchfield 239-142 for his second title, honoring his father who recently passed away
PBA50 Battle at Black Oak Final Standings
- Skip Pavone, 5,000 points, $2,300
- Scott Critchfield, 3,000, $1,700
- Dennis Horan Jr., 2,300, $1,300
- Robby Porter, 1,900, $1,000
PBA JAX-60 Central Open
The final event of the fortnight took place at the familiar center of JAX-60 in Jackson, Mich. Graham Fach almost hit the 2,000-pin mark for his eight-game block, easily picking up the top seed in the single-elimination bracket. Fach won his first match and then defeated Dean Vargo in the semifinal match, 236-235. But Fach had his work cut out for him, as the two-seed Justin Knowles had just defeated Nathan Michalowski and Cory Hersha to meet him in the finals.
Knowles had the upper left hand in the battle of the two southpaws, shooting a 236 to Fach’s 210. Knowles now has four career regional titles and two this year.
PBA JAX-60 Central Open Final Standings
- Justin Knowles, 2,500 points, $2,000
- Graham Fach, 1,500, $1,250
- Dean Vargo, 1,150, $1,000
- Cory Hersha, 950, $1,000
View the season-long points standings in each region here.