PBA Spare Shots: Ever Wonder Why Winning a PBA Title is Such a Precious Accomplishment?

by Bill Vint  |  Thursday, September 28, 9:25 AM

PBA Spare Shots: Ever Wonder Why Winning a PBA Title is Such a Precious Accomplishment?

As the Professional Bowlers Association prepares for its 60th anniversary season in 2018, it would be interesting to know exactly how many bowlers have held PBA membership since its formation in 1958. But keeping track of information like that in the pre-computer era of the ‘50s was rather difficult, so accurate membership data from the early years isn’t available.

An educated guess is more than 10,000 bowlers have been PBA members at one time or another. But what the PBA did track was many of its more important statistics, like who won a title…or two…or 47, which gives perspective to that 10,000-plus estimate.

A quick trip through some of the PBA title stats reveals some interesting trivia, such as:

● As of September 1, 345 different players had won at least one PBA Tour title.

● Exactly 51 players have won 10 or more titles.

● Of the 345 individuals who have won PBA Tour titles, 124 (35.9%) have won one title.

● 54 players (15.6%) are in the group of two-time title winners who invariably said the second title proved the first one wasn’t just luck.

● We didn’t ask them, but the 36 players who have won three PBA Tour titles would likely agree with the two-time winners.

● So that begs the question, how precious do you think PBA titles are to the 132 players who have won four or more titles?

● A lot of bowling experts thought Earl Anthony’s record of 41 PBA Tour titles (later upgraded to 43 when his two USBC Masters titles were recognized) was untouchable. So do you think Walter Ray Williams Jr.’s record 47 titles will ever be broken?

● 100% of all PBA title winners will tell you that you can’t win a title simply “by luck,” regardless of how many players were in the field or how many games you had to bowl.

● Beyond the PBA Tour, thousands of PBA members also have participated in the PBA Regional program since the inaugural National Resident Pro Championship in 1969. Over the years 573 different players have won at least one PBA Regional title…and as of September 25, the PBA has awarded a grand total of 6,318 titles in regional competition. Scientifically speaking, that’s a lot of regional titles.

PBA history is filled with enlightening “firsts” and unusual feats. For example, did you know Roy Lown of Baltimore was not only the first left-hander to win a PBA Tour title (his only Tour title), but he won it in the first televised PBA Tour finals, the 1961 PBA National Invitational in Paramus, N.J. It wasn’t national television, but it WAS televised.

And that’s how legends and legacies begin – with stats and figures and notes about unique accomplishments.

As the PBA prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary, it remains true that every PBA Tour title has been precious, the ultimate prize in a bowler’s life, and every title has a story behind it. In 2018, the PBA is going to re-live a lot of those precious memories through a special “60 Most Memorable Moments in PBA History” review. Watch for it.


The GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Reno Properties, will have the most international representation in the program’s history when it gets underway Nov. 7 at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno.

The first event under the Go Bowling! PBA Tour umbrella sponsorship package will have at least 27 countries in the sold-out field, thanks to first-time entries from France and Mongolia. South Korea also is a new addition to the field, which now includes players from Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Puerto Rico, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand and Venezuela as well as the United States. The previous record for international representation in the WSOB was 23 countries in 2016.


Bowling in only his second professional tournament, 24-year-old rookie Graham Fach of Guelph, Ontario, defeated PBA veteran Ryan Ciminelli to win the 2016 Barbasol PBA Players Championship at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus, Ohio. Fach discusses becoming the first Canadian to win a PBA Tour title in the newest edition of PBA Player’s Perspective, a special feature on PBA’s Xtra Frame.

Two more Player’s Perspective features are set to debut on Xtra Frame in the month of October. On October 6, Sean Rash will share his thoughts on his win over Jason Belmonte in the 2016 PBA Detroit Open. Then, on October 14, Francois Lavoie will take viewers through his 300 game in the 2016 U.S. Open. Xtra Frame subscription packages are offered for seven days, a full month or a 12-month Xtra Frame Season Ticket. Visit xtraframe.com for details on how to enroll.


PBA Southwest Region Hall of Famer Nathan Bohr from Austin, Texas, won six of his eight matches to overtake qualifying leader Anthony Lavery-Spahr of Pasadena, Texas, and claim his 23rd PBA Regional title in the inaugural PBA Liberal Kansas Southwest Open Sunday at Ayre Lanes.

Bohr not only earned $4,000, but also stretched his personal record for winning at least one PBA Regional title to 11 consecutive years.

Bohr trailed Lavery-Spahr until the sixth game of the eight-game modified round-robin match play finals when he defeated Brad Miller of Maryland Heights, Mo., 269-216, while Lavery-Spahr suffered a disastrous 256-146 loss to Canada’s Francois Lavoie. Taking a 42-pin lead going into position round against Lavery-Spahr, Bohr won the decisive match, 254-200, to claim the title, while collegiate bowler Cortez Schenck from Phoenix defeated Mark Scroggins of Canyon, Texas, 203-160, to move into second place. Bohr finished the event with a 21-game total of 5,018 pins, including match play bonus pins, for a 93-pin margin of victory over Schenck.

PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Fla., defeated Lee Brosius of Ashburn, Va., 240-138, 239-245, 246-244, in the best-of-three-game title match to win his 104th PBA title in the PBA50 PlyGems Windows Rocky Mount South Open at Rocky Mount Bowling Center in Rocky Mount, Va., Sunday.

Williams, the PBA’s all-time leading champion, won a $1,800 prize. His composite PBA titles total includes PBA Tour, PBA Regional, PBA50 Tour and PBA50 Regional victories.

In the best-of-three semifinal round, Williams defeated top qualifier Chuck Walker of Blaine, Tenn., 226-222, 255-267, 258-216 while Brosius rallied to edged Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio, 200-207, 244-176, 199-182.

Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio defeated Matt Ogle of Louisville, Ky. by 62 pins Sunday to win the PBA Florence Bowling Center Central Open in Florence, Ky.

Loschetter finished with a 7-3 match play record and a total of 4,200 pins for 18 games, including match play bonus pins, to win the $2,000 first prize and his 15th career regional title.

John Conroy of Mahopac, N.Y. and partner Alex Cavagnaro of Massapequa, N.Y., defeated Ray Edwards of Middle Island, N.Y. and Matt O’Grady of Rahway, N.J., 447-432, 402-471, 436-427, in the best-of-three-game title match to win the PBA/PBA50 Millsboro Lanes Doubles title Sunday at Millsboro Lanes in Millsboro, Del.

Cavagnaro, bowling anchor, needed a double in the final frame for the title. After struggling earlier on the right lane, he made a ball change in the eighth frame which allowed him to throw the clinching double in the 10th. The title was the second for each bowler, who also earned $2,000 each.

In the best-of-three semifinal round, Conroy and Cavagnaro defeated Tony Reynaud of Harwinton, Conn. and Anthony Pepe of Elmhurst, N.Y., 2-0, while Edwards and O’Grady defeated the father/son team of Steve Pavlinko Sr. and Jr. of Sewell, N.J., 2-0.

Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, defeated amateur Rick Miller of Lincoln, Neb., by 93 pins over a span of 13 games to win the PBA Mockingbird Lanes Midwest Open in Omaha, Neb., Sunday.

In picking up his 10th career title, Hess won five of his six matches and posted a 3,044 pinfall total to top Miller’s 2,951 total to earn $1,800.

Scott Merritt of Iowa City, Iowa, defeated Jim Knoblauch of Waukesha, Wis., 2,990-2,981, to win the companion PBA50 Mockingbird Lanes Midwest Open. Merritt, a PBA50 rookie, earned his second title of the year plus the $1,500 first prize.

Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Ariz., posted a 5-5 match play record and knocked down 4,749 pins Sunday to win his 12th career regional title and second in a row in the PBA Northwest/West TSI Inc. Open at Paradise Lanes in Tacoma, Wash.

Butturff, who earned $2,000, defeated David Haynes of Las Vegas, by 73 pins for the title. Haynes had a 7-2-1 match play record and 4,676 total pins for his 18 games including match play bonus pins.

In the companion PBA50 Open, Hugh Miller of Mercer Island, Wash., went 7-1 and knocked down 3,861 total pins for 16 games to top Kevin Croucher of Grants Pass, Ore., by 44 pins for his eighth PBA50 West Region title. Croucher had a 5-3 match play record and a total of 3,817 pins.

Steve Arehart won his second PBA title near his hometown on Sunday, Sept. 17, defeating PBA Tour titlist Dick Allen of Columbia, S.C., 246-140, to win the $2,300 first prize in the second annual PBA Century Lanes Hampton South Open in Hampton, Va.

Arehart, from nearby Chesapeake, was the top qualifier for the stepladder finals in leading the event from wire to wire. In the first stepladder match Allen defeated Chris Arcaro of Carolina Beach, N.C. 210-205. Allen then eliminated Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C., 230-185, in the semifinal match.

● The PBA Regional schedule for the Sept. 29-Oct. 1 weekend includes the PBA50 Mel Westrich Memorial Central/Midwest Open at Delphos Recreation in Delphos, Ohio; the PBA50 Spartanburg South Open at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., and the Killeen Southwest Open at Hallmark Lanes in Killeen, Texas.

● For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area…and remember, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba. com (easily accessible for Apple device users using the new PBA app).


PBA star Chris Barnes and his PWBA champion wife Lynda will host their 13th annual Barnes Thanksgiving Classic youth scholarship tournament Nov. 24-26 at Plano Super Bowl in Plano, Texas. There will be scratch and handicap divisions, and a 13 & Under Division. For more information, visit the Barnes Thanksgiving Classic Facebook page.