GEICO WSOB IX Notebook II: Events-Within-the-Events Add Intrigue to World Series
by Bill Vint | Thursday, November 09, 7:09 PM
While bowling fans are focusing attention on the Chameleon 39, Shark 45, Cheetah 33 and Scorpion 42 animal pattern events which compose the qualifying stages for the PBA World Championship early next week, there are other events-within-the-events taking place in Reno that merit attention.
The GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Resorts Reno Properties, is the final qualifying event for players hoping to earn invitations to the DHC PBA Japan Invitational in Tokyo early in 2018. Heading into WSOB IX, the 11 players leading the PBA earnings list based upon events open to all players (the qualifying standard for Japan) were Jason Belmonte ($114,332), Marshall Kent ($67,805), Rhino Page ($58,650), Anthony Simonsen ($43,434), Jesper Svensson ($42,996), Yannathon Larpapharat ($41,455), EJ Tackett ($39,838), Sean Rash ($35,387), Dom Barrett ($34,010), Chris Barnes ($33,925) and Martin Larsen ($26,930).
With significant prize money at stake in the WSOB IX, considerable movement in the earnings list is expected in determining the automatic invitations to bowl in the prestigious Japan event.
Also in play are berths on the USA vs. The World teams that will bowl in a special team match at 6 p.m. PST on Friday, Nov. 17. The match will be live streamed on ESPN3 and will air on ESPN on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 1 p.m. EST. The teams will include the top five players from the United States, based upon their 40-game combined animal pattern qualifying totals, vs. the top five international players. The USA vs. The World team match will be the first official telecast of the new 2017-18 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season.
Another side event to watch are the World Bowling Tour points battles to determine the top three men and top three women who will compete in the WBT Men’s and Women’s Finals, presented by the PBA, on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 3:30 p.m. (live on ESPN3, delayed telecast on ESPN on Sunday, Jan. 7, at 1 p.m. EST).
The three women finalists have locked up berths, although the order of appearance is still up in the air pending where they finish in the WSOB. The women are Latvia’s Diana Zavjalova, Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., and Shalin Zulkifli of Malaysia. Several men are still in contention for the top three spots, but that field should be narrowed at the end of the PBA World Championship cashers’ round on Tuesday.
Finally – and by no means the least in order of importance – is the competition to earn PBA Player and Rookie of the Year credentials. Both races had leading contenders heading into Reno, but the WSOB will have a major impact when it comes to voting at the close of the year.
RED SOX STAR MOOKIE BETTS EARNS RESPECT AFTER OPENING ROUND
It’s unlikely Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts is about to abandon his day job for a bowling career, but in his second World Series of Bowling appearance, he continued to earn the respect of his fellow competitors and a small army of bowling industry advisors who are watching the action in Reno.
A day after he was awarded his second straight Gold Glove as the American League’s top defensive right fielder, Betts bowled his first 10 qualifying games in the PBA Chameleon Championship presented by Reno Tahoe, roaring out of the gate with a 278 game before falling victim to the transition of lane conditions in Wednesday’s first five-game round. He completed his first squad with games of 185, 189, 184 and 172 for a 1,008 total – keeping his head above a 200 average, which is the hallmark in advanced-level bowling.
In the evening five-game round, Betts had games of 209, 235, 213, 192 and 169 to finish with a 2,026 total for his 10 Chameleon games – a 202.67 average.
“I had a couple of good games, so positives are always good,” Betts said. “I did better the second time. I didn’t have a good plan for that first round. All of the good players here can form a plan pretty quickly when they have to, but for me it’s a matter of trying to formulate a plan a little earlier and stick with it.
“The 278 was a nice start and it wasn’t really a surprise,” he added. “I know I can do it, but I have to roll with the transitions in the lane patterns. I have the ability; I just need the mindset.”
LANETALK GETS A READ ON FIRST FULL ROUND OF COMPETITION
LaneTalk, PBA’s statistical analysis partner, is tracking detailed data for all sorts of performance aspects of WSOB IX, and is sharing a great deal of information each day of the World Series on its Facebook page. Among the tidbits gleaned from Wednesday’s Chameleon Championships were these factoids:
— The field of 195 players knocked down a total of 412,799 pins – a 212.24 average.
— The high score in the Chameleon round was 300 (by three players); the low game was 107.
— The entire field’s strike percentage was 55.66. First shots resulted in splits 8.24% of the time and non-strike shots resulted in single-pin spares 23.21% of the time.
— The field had an 88.16% “clean frame” average, converting “makeable” spares 86.12% of the time.
Some of Chameleon qualifying leader Tom Smallwood’s stats vs. the field included:
— An average of 243.9, more than 30 pins better than the field at large;
— His strike percentage was 68.42%, also a significant edge over the field;
— Smallwood had a 98% “clean frame” average and he converted 100% of his “makeable” spares.
NEXT UP ON XTRA FRAME: ANIMAL PATTERN PREVIEW, WRAP-UP SHOWS ON TAP
As the 2017-18 Go Bowling! PBA Tour continues in Reno, Xtra Frame’s extensive coverage of the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Resorts Reno Properties will include preview and wrap-up shows before-and-after each of the animal pattern events. Here’s the projected schedule heading into the weekend. All times are Pacific:
Saturday – PBA Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game five-game qualifying squads, 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Sunday – Pepsi PBA Scorpion Championship presented by GoBowling.com five-game qualifying squads, 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. (Scorpion wrap-up show also will unveil the players who will advance to PBA World Championship cashers’ round competition on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 13-14, at 1 and 5 p.m.)
Xtra Frame subscriptions are available in a variety of packages: three-day ($3.99), 30-day ($7.99) and Xtra Frame Season Ticket (a full-year’s coverage at an average cost of $1.25 per week) subscriptions are available by visiting “xtraframe.tv” and clicking on the “subscribe now” link. As a reminder, new monthly or Season Ticket subscribers also are automatically entered into monthly sweepstakes where they have chances to win a new high-performance bowling ball from Brunswick, DV8 or MOTIV.