PBA Regional Recap: Neuer and Bailey Win Titles, Clinch RPI Berths
In addition to qualifying for the Regional Players Invitational via points, athletes also can advance from each region’s qualifier. Last weekend, the PBA East and PBA50 Southwest Region each awarded three bowlers a spot to South Point Bowling Plaza in January.
Meanwhile, a couple of PBA Tour regulars earned another regional title and some bowlers even earned their first career title. Read on to see who you’ll be watching this upcoming January.
PBA50 Drake Mechanical Classic
Beginning in the Northwest with the Drake Mechanical Open at Westy’s Garden Lanes in Garden City, Idaho, the seniors began the morning out on the lanes, maneuvering through the 45-foot Dick Weber pattern. Steven DeSordi led qualifying at +169, but after a booming 268, Alfredo Lopez overtook the lead to claim the one-seed. In the quarterfinals and semifinals, Lopez used all three games but got the job done and advanced to the finals to take on Steve Kloempken. Kloempken turned on cruise control for the first two rounds but hit a puddle and skidded in the finals, shooting 169 to Lopez’s 221. Lopez, a non-member, picked up his first title and $1,500.
PBA50 Drake Mechanical Classic Final Standings
- Alfredo Lopez, $1,500
- Steve Kloempken, $1,100
- Steven DeSordi, 1,150 points, $875
- Warren Eales, 950, $875
PBA Drake Mechanical Open
Same pattern, same center, same weekend, different age range. Craig Tuholski led in qualifying, but Tim Cagle II put up 1,278 for his five games in the advancer round to pick up the one-seed for bracket play. Just like the PBA50 division, the chalk held throughout the three rounds. Cagle dropped the first game to Duncan Whitaker but won the next two and then took a ride on the S.S. Smooth Sailing. Cagle, the ‘most-unique delivery’ award recipient (an unofficial award given out by me, yet agreed upon by everyone) took down Nick Borgaro in the semifinals and Clay Rees in the finals. Cagle notched his third title in as many seasons.
PBA Drake Mechanical Open Final Standings
- Tim Cagle II, 2,500 points, $2,300
- Clay Rees, 1,500, $1,600
- Craig Tuholski, 1,150, $1,050
- Nick Borgaro, 950, $1,050
PBA Women's Drake Mechanical
For the third of three tournaments hosted in Garden City, Crystal Bitrick delivered a 1,726 in qualifying, good enough for the one-seed. Lizzy Rees, Marcia Kloempken, and Jill Creamer also went plus to grab a spot in the bracket. But unlike the previous two tournaments, the one-seed bowed out in the semifinal round to Creamer. Kloempken just defeated Rees in the semifinal for a spot in the finals to take on Creamer. In the one-game final, the three-seeded Kloempken defeated Creamer 222-182 for the $1,100 victory and her first win on the regional tour.
PBA Women's Drake Mechanical Final Standings
- Marcia Kloempken, $1,100
- Jill Creamer, $800
- Lizzy Rees, $600
- Crystal Bitrick, $600
PBA Boss Snow Plows/O'Brien Auto/Radical Central Open
The bowlers were on “Auto”-pilot while “plowing” down the pins with the “radical” scores in Fishers, Ind. (Get it?) Andrew Halvorson shot a 1,962 for eight games, averaging 245 to earn the lead, and EJ Tackett went +228 to sneak out the final spot inside the cut line. Everyone knows what happens when you give the best of the best a chance — they take advantage of it. Tackett began bracket play with a 300 game against Jalen Mosley, then defeated Zeke Bayt and Patrick Dombrowski in three games apiece. The two-seed Brandon Flora made it to the finals, but a 265 and 258 moved the 21-time PBA Tour titleist past Flora for his 13th regional title.
PBA Boss Snow Plows/O'Brien Auto/Radical Central Open Final Standings
- EJ Tackett, 2,500 points, $2,500
- Brandon Flora 1,500, $1,300
- Graham Fach, 1,150, $1,050
- Patrick Dombrowski, 950, $1,050
PBA Bowlmor Lanes Route 66 Midwest Open
Wheaties might want to sponsor the PBA because Spencer Robarge and David Krol had a few extra scoops before their qualifying rounds. Both athletes fired off a 300 in their first game of the day and followed it up with another; Krol shot his second in Game 3 and Krol in Game 4. The next day, Krol stormed ahead with the lead, publishing one of the most impressive blocks on any tour this season: He shot 2,165 for eight games, including not one, but two 300 games to average over 270 for the block. Krol earned his $2,000 and third title this season by over 300 pins when all was said and done.
PBA Bowlmor Lanes Route 66 Midwest Open Final Standings
- David Krol, 2,500 points, $2,000
- Spencer Robarge, $1,400
- Zach Wilkins, 1,150, $1,100
- Brandon Runk, 950, $900
PBA50 Jonesboro Southwest Super Open
Looking at the standings for the PBA50 Jonesboro Southwest Super Open, you’d think you were taking a look at an extension of the PBA50 National Tour season. With names like John Janawicz, Dino Castillo, Tom Adcock, Walter Ray Williams Jr., and many others littering the leaderboard, there’s no question the winner earned the title. Janawicz immediately labeled himself as the man to beat, accumulating a 143-pin lead to begin the action and continued that run through the advancer rounds, where he collected the one-seed.
Following Janawicz, seeds two through five were Chris Barnes, Mike Bailey, Tom Adcock, and Pete Weber. In the opening match, Weber got off to an early lead, and Adcock never caught up as Weber moved on 244-223. Mike Bailey, the lone lefty in the field, stepped up next but never got familiar with the pair and lost to PDW, 223-146. In the Hall of Fame match between Barnes and Weber, a big string helped propel Barnes to a 269-217 win and a date with his friend, Janawicz. But Janawicz took the role of the top seed nicely and put a 278 on the board, which Chris couldn’t match with his 203. The PBA50 Rookie of the Year took home $10,000 and his third regional title of the season.
PBA50 Jonesboro Southwest Super Open Final Standings
- John Janawicz, 2,500 points, $10,000
- Chris Barnes, 1,500, $5,500
- Pete Weber, 1,150, $3,500
- Mike Bailey, 950, $2,500
- Tom Adcock, 850, $2,000
PBA50/PBA60 Doubles/Park Centre Lanes Central Open
Onto the next weekend, Don Herrington and Larry Verble combined to go +379 for 16 games and take the lead heading into match play on Sunday. The 39-foot Mike Aulby pattern didn’t deter them the following day either. The duo hovered around the top spot all day during match play while fighting off teams like Dale Csuhta and Brian Kretzer, as well as Pennsylvania natives Troy Lint and Darryl Bower. But the Herrington/Verble team just held on to earn themselves $1,600 a piece and their first and seventh regional titles, respectively.
PBA50/PBA60 Doubles/Park Centre Lanes Central Open Final Standings
- Larry Verble and Don Herrington, 2,500 points, $3,200
- Brian Kretzer and Dale Csuhta, 1,500, $2,200
- Troy Lint and Darryl Bower, 1,150, $2,000
- Eddie Graham and Jeff Zaffino, 950, $1,800
PBA50 JoPo Grips MW Senior Doubles
Now moving just a few miles west, the Midwest region hosted two tournaments in the same weekend, with both a singles and doubles format. Team Tom absolutely smoked the field in qualifying, going +540, with the next highest team being Brian Menini and Brandon Libel at +272. Those two teams claimed the top two seeds in the stepladder, while Cory Rockteschel and Bryan Schmidt faced off against Jeff Johnson and Scott Merritt in the first match. Rockteschel/Schmidt won the first match, 232-190, but lost the semifinal to Libel/Menini, 203-152, to set up a 1-2 final bout. It was a tight match, but Libel and Menini pulled off the upset over Hess and Adcock, 209-197.
PBA50 JoPo Grips MW Senior Doubles Final Standings
- Brandon Libel/Brian Menini, 2,500 points, $3,800
- Tom Hess/Tom Adcock, 1,500, $2,200
- Cory Rockteschel/Bryan Schmidt, 1,150, $1,500
- Jeff Johnson/Scott Merritt, 950, $1,200
PBA50 JoPo Grips Midwest Open
Many of the same stayed overnight to bowl in the singles event the following day, and Tom Hess found himself at the top of the leaderboard after qualifying once again. Hess went +191 for his six games and followed it up with a 946 for four games in the advancer round to claim the one-seed. Cory Rockteschel took the two, while Scott Merritt and Tom Adcock battled in the opening match. The first two matches weren’t close as Adcock breezed by Merritt 247-178 and 212-154 over Rockteschel, but the final round was much tighter. Doubles partners just 24 hours earlier now turned opponents, Hess snuck by for a 229-224 win for his second title of the season.
PBA50 JoPo Grips Midwest Open Final Standings
- Tom Hess, 2,500 points, $1,800
- Tom Adcock, 1,500, $1,100
- Cory Rockteschel, 1,150, $750
- Scott Merritt, 950, $625
PBA60 Paradise Lanes Spartanburg Open
Continuing on with the senior events, this time a PBA60 event, Kevin Newbury of Chapel Hill, N.C., started strong and earned a double-bye for his +257 efforts. He won his first match in the quarterfinals but lost in the semifinals to Todd Haney, 249-209, after an open in the eighth frame drained Newbury’s hopes. In the bottom half of the bracket, a man by the name of Walter Ray Williams Jr. emerged and made a run to the finals after defeating Jay Davis Jr. 236-209, after grabbing an early lead and never giving it up. In the finals, it was Todd Haney’s day to shine as he strung together the front-10 to shoot a 289 to Williams’ 237 for his first regional title.
PBA60 Paradise Lanes Spartanburg Open Final Standings
- Todd Haney, $3,000
- Walter Ray Williams Jr., $2,000
- Kevin Newbury, $1,040
- Jay Davis Jr. $1,040
PBA Kingpins Family Fun Center RPI Open
Finally, the first RPI events of the year took place, giving bowlers the chance to automatically qualify for the Regional Players Invitational at the start of 2024. Anthony Neuer started strong, averaging 240 in qualifying, just a few pins ahead of Adam Chase. Through the advancer rounds, the standings continued to shake up, but the one constant through it all remained Neuer, who claimed the one-seed by over 200 pins. Tim Foy Jr. got through as the two, while Eric Cornog and Andrew Hall faced off in the opening match.
Cornog took down the young Hall in match one, 237-206, and doubled down by defeating Foy 249-210 in the semifinal. But in the final, Neuer beat Cornog 257-215 for regional title No. 5 and his third of the year. The top three finishers are all eligible for the RPI, so Cornog, Foy Jr., and Neuer will pack their bags for Vegas this January.
PBA Kingpins Family Fun Center RPI Open Final Standings
- Anthony Neuer, 2,500 points, $2,600
- Eric Cornog, 1,500, $1,400
- Tim Foy Jr., 1,150, $1,200
- Andrew Hall, 950, $1,000
PBA50 Waxahachie Southwest RPI Qualifier
The final of 12 events of the last fortnight came in Waxahachie, Texas, at Hilltop Lanes. Sixty-four bowlers entered the bowling alley hoping to grab an automatic spot, but just three walked out successfully. Chris Warren began with a bang, going +396 with a 300 game in the mix, and eventually secured the two-seed in the stepladder after Mike Bailey passed Warren with solid blocks in the second and third advancer rounds.
A pair of Texans in Mark Williams and Rick Benard, whose son Deo won earlier this month, opened the stepladder, where Benard won 251-213. Benard moved on to take on another Texan in Warren and took him down 254-214. Looking to become the second Benard to win in the month of September, Beard fought hard but ultimately fell to the one-seeded Bailey, 225-183. Bailey hit double-digits in his title count, winning in the city where he won his first title back in 2010. Bailey, Benard, and Warren all clinched a spot at South Point in a few months.
PBA50 Waxahachie Southwest RPI Qualifier Final Standings
- Mike Bailey, 2,500 points, $2,500
- Rick Benard, 1,500, $1,600
- Chris Warren, 1,150, $1,200
- Mark Williams, 950, $900
The leaders in each PBA and PBA50 Region at the end of the season will also qualify for the RPI. Check out the current standings in each region here.