2018 PBA50 Tour Season Kicks Off in Sunshine State With Florida Open and PBA50 National Championship
by Jerry Schneider | Monday, April 16, 9:17 AM
Reigning PBA50 Player of the Year Brian LeClair heads a list of PBA’s top players ages 50 and over who will open the 2018 PBA50 Tour season in the Sunshine State on April 22 with the PBA50 Florida Open and the PBA50 National Championship.
The PBA50 Florida Open, formerly the Pasco County Florida Open, will be conducted April 22-23 at Lane Glo Bowl in New Port Richey followed by the season’s first major championship, the PBA50 National Championship presented by Spanish Springs Lanes and Radical April 24-28, in The Villages, Fla.
Both events will be streamed live in their entirety on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame. For Xtra Frame subscription and schedule information visit www.xtraframe.tv.
LeClair enters the 2018 season with some trepidation because of an aggravated ACL injury to his left knee. He sustained the injury while bowling in a local tournament in early March and has been able to bowl only a few games over the last several weeks.
“I started bowling last week for the first time in more than a month,” said the 53-year-old LeClair. “I probably won’t know how well it will hold up until I start competing. I’m not so much worried about the pain because I can bowl through some of that – it’s the stability that I’m worried about.”
Ironically, it’s the second consecutive year that LeClair has had to deal with an injury shortly before the start of the season. Last year it was a recurring back injury.
“Last year I had an issue with my back but was able to get it worked out before the season started,” he said. “Now, I have this issue with the knee, which is very disappointing because I’ve been looking forward to the start of this season since the day after last season ended.”
LeClair got his player of the year season off to a fast start with a 191-187 win over Norm Duke to win the 2017 Pasco County Florida Open. It was the first of two wins that made him the only player to win more than one title in 2017. His second win came in the Johnny Petraglia BVL Open.
He spent nearly two decades competing regularly on the PBA Tour without a win but his lengthy career was finally rewarded when he won PBA50 Player of the Year honors thanks to his two titles and a runner-up finish in the Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open.
“I’m anxious to get back out there if all goes well and prove that last season wasn’t a fluke,” LeClair added. “As I said before, it was the most satisfying accomplishment in my career because I was able to achieve it bowling on a tour that included some of bowling’s all-time greats.”
Among those greats scheduled to compete in the opening events of the season will be a host of Hall of Famers including Walter Ray Williams Jr., Pete Weber, Parker Bohn III, Amleto Monacelli, Johnny Petraglia, Mark Williams, Bryan Goebel and two-time PBA50 Player of the Year Ron Mohr, who was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 2018.
While not a major in 2017, top qualifier Lennie Boresch Jr. of Kenosha, Wis., led The Villages event wire-to-wire and beat Bob Learn Jr., 264-213, in the title match for his second Sun Bowl In The Villages win and third career PBA50 Tour title.
Competition begins with Florida Open qualifying on Sunday, April 22 at 8 a.m. ET with one 10-game qualifying round followed by cashers and match play rounds beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, April 23. After match play the top five players will advance to the stepladder finals scheduled for 7 p.m. Practice for the event is scheduled for 9 a.m. – noon on Saturday, April 21.
The PBA50 National Championship will get underway with the first of three six-game qualifying rounds on Wednesday, April 25, beginning at 9 a.m. followed by second and third rounds on April 26 and 27. The top 32 players will then advance to the first eight-game match play round at 9 a.m. on April 28 before a cut to the top 16 players for the second match play round at 2 p.m. which will determine the top five for the stepladder finals at 7 p.m. The practice session is scheduled for April 24 from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
For PBA50 Florida Open admission and pro-am information contact Lane Glo Bowl at (727) 376-1164. For PBA50 National Championship admission and pro-am information contact Spanish Springs Lanes at (352) 750-9440.
PBA50 FLORIDA OPEN SCHEDULE
Lane Glo Bowl, New Port Richey, Fla.
(All times Eastern)
Saturday, April 21
9 a.m. – noon- Practice Session
Sunday, April 22
8 a.m. - A Squad qualifying (10 games)
1:30 p.m. - B Squad qualifying (10 games)
Monday, April 23
8:30 a.m. – Cashers Round (5 games)
Noon – Match Play Round 1 Qualifying (5 games)
3:15 p.m. – Match Play Round 2 (6 games)
Top five advance to stepladder finals
7 p.m. – Stepladder finals
PBA50 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Presented by Spanish Springs Lanes and Radical
Spanish Springs Lanes, The Villages, Fla.
Tuesday, April 24
A Squad Practice Session: 9-10 a.m.
B Squad Practice Session: 10:15-11:15 a.m.
C Squad Practice Session: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Pro-Am squads: 2, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 25
9 a.m. - A Squad qualifying (6 games)
1 p.m. - B Squad qualifying (6 games)
5 p.m. - C Squad qualifying (6 games)
Thursday, April 26
9 a.m. - B Squad qualifying (6 games)
1 p.m. - C Squad qualifying (6 games)
5 p.m. - A Squad qualifying (6 games)
Friday, April 27
9 a.m. - C Squad qualifying (6 games)
1 p.m. - A Squad qualifying (6 games)
5 p.m. - B Squad qualifying (6 games)
Top 32 advance to Match Play Round 1
Saturday, April 28
9 a.m. - Match Play Round 1 (8 games)
Top 16 bowlers advance to Match Play Round 2
2 p.m. - Match Play Round 2 (8 games)
Top five bowlers advance to stepladder finals
7 p.m. – Stepladder finals