PBA Spare Shots: Premier PBA “Rookie of the Year” Candidates to Compete in GEICO PBA WSOB IX

by Bill Vint  |  Wednesday, November 01, 1:53 PM

PBA Spare Shots: Premier PBA “Rookie of the Year” Candidates to Compete in GEICO PBA WSOB IX

The next generation of PBA stars will be in the spotlight at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno beginning Nov. 7 when one of the strongest PBA Rookie of the Year classes ever will test their skills in the annual multi-event GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Reno Properties.

WSOB IX, kicking off the 2017-18 Go Bowling! PBA Tour series, will be the final opportunity for the 2017 ROY contenders to make a statement while it also will be the first step toward 2018 Rookie of the Year consideration for a few others who will be bowling in PBA competition as members for the first time.

The World Series will award titles in four animal pattern stages (Chameleon 39, Shark 45, Cheetah 33 and Scorpion 42) as well as the PBA World Championship. Players who are leading the charge toward 2017 Rookie of the Year honors include Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich.; Cristian Azcona, a Puerto Rico native now living in Lake Wales, Fla.; AJ Chapman, Manchester, Iowa; Nick Kruml, Downers Grove, Ill.; Matt Sanders, Evansville, Ind.; Kyle Sherman, O’Fallon, Mo.; Zach Wilkins, Barrie, Ontario, Canada, and Zulmazran Zulkifli, Malaysia.

Among the 2017 candidates, Sanders is the only one to win a PBA Tour title thus far, winning the Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial in Memphis, Tenn., in late June.

Making their debuts in Reno as PBA members will be two rising stars familiar to all fans of youth bowling, Kamron Doyle, who grew up in suburban Nashville, and Michael Tang of San Francisco. Because the World Series is considered as one event under Rookie of the Year eligibility rules, Doyle and Tang will be trying to get a head start on the 2018 Rookie of the Year race.

Doyle, now 19 and living in Warrensburg, Mo., began attracting attention at age 11 when he became the then-youngest bowler to record an 800 series. At age 12 in 2010, he became the youngest to cash in a PBA Regional (for scholarship money), and in 2012 at age 14, he became the youngest to cash in a PBA Tour event when he finished 61st in the U.S. Open as an eighth-grader. After four terms on Junior Team USA, two on adult Team USA (including winning the men’s 2015 Team USA Trials), and an abbreviated collegiate career, Doyle has decided to pursue his PBA dreams.

Also vying for 2018 Rookie of the Year honors will be Michael Tang, Doyle’s two-time Junior Team USA teammate and a former San Jose State collegiate star, who will join older brother Darren as a PBA member in Reno. The Tang brothers got their first national exposure as finalists in the USBC Masters where Michael won three matches (including a 248-212 decision over his older brother) before losing to Australia’s Jason Belmonte in the title match, 279-212.

Combine the talented rookies coming in 2018 with the star-studded rookie field in 2017 with 20-something stars who have already made names for themselves (i.e., reigning PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett, 2016 Rookie of the Year Francois Lavoie, Anthony Simonsen, Marshall Kent and Sweden’s Jesper Svensson), and you’ll see why PBA fans are awaiting a fascinating WSOB IX, and an exciting Go Bowling! PBA Tour season in the new year.


As part of the new Go Bowling! PBA Tour umbrella sponsorship package that officially gets underway with the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, centers that are members of the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America can sign up for a complimentary Xtra Frame subscription, making PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel available to their customers at no cost.

It’s easy: all a BPAA-member center has to do is contact PBA’s Dave Schroeder (email: dave.schroeder@pba.com) and after confirming membership, Schroeder will provide the participating center with its promotional code and activation instructions in time for dozens of hours of coverage of WSOB IX events.

Individuals also can sign up for Xtra Frame’s full-season or 30-day packages that will include coverage of all preliminary rounds of GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX events, presented by Eldorado Reno Properties, Nov. 7-16. New subscribers also are automatically entered into PBA’s monthly bowling ball sweepstakes which awards new MOTIV, Brunswick and DV8 bowling balls to randomly-selected subscribers. To start your Xtra Frame subscription, visit xtraframe.tv.


Newly-elected PBA hall of famer Ron Mohr of Las Vegas and amateur partner Scott Halvarson teamed up to win Sunday’s South Point Member/Non-Member Doubles title Sunday at South Point Bowling Plaza after amateur Justin Ziegler of Henderson, Nev., won the South Point West Challenge portion of the West Region doubleheader on Friday.

In Sunday’s title match, Halverson, from Bonney Lake, Wash., and Mohr defeated non-member Russ Oviatt of Tempe, Ariz. and Jim Pratt of Avondale, Ariz., 428-411, to claim the $4,000 first prize. In the process, the 61-year-old Mohr earned his first “standard” PBA Regional title to accompany the 17 PBA50 titles he’s won in regional competition.

Halvarson and Mohr advanced to the title match by eliminating Craig Spencer of Tempe and Greg Thompson Jr. of San Jose, Calif., 523-401, while Oviatt and Pratt ousted Steve Smith of San Diego and Frank Barefoot Jr. of Las Vegas. 401-370, in the other semifinal match.

In Friday’s Challenge event for players who haven’t won a PBA title, Ziegler defeated fellow non-member Cerell Cardines of Las Vegas, 278-181, to earn the $2,000 first prize. In the semifinal round, Ziegler defeated Lowell Huber of Westminster, Calif., 248-188, while Cardines eliminated Toby Sambueno of Henderson, Nev., 245-236, to set up the championship match.

Because they aren’t PBA members, neither Halvarson nor Ziegler get credit for a PBA title.

● With the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX, presented by Eldorado Reno Properties, gathering most of the attention in November, there are still several opportunities on tap for regional players, beginning with a busy Nov. 3-5 schedule leading into WSOB IX. Events include the PBA50 Victory Lanes Midwest/Central Open presented by Mattress Firm in Kankakee, Ill.; the PBA and PWBA-PBA Fayetteville South Open at Lafayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C., the PBA50 Dick’s Pro Shop Northwest/West Open presented by Boulder Falls Inn at Linn Lanes in Lebanon, Ore., and the one-day Greater Anderson Central/Midwest Open Sunday at Dave Small’s Championship Lanes in Anderson, Ind.

● The only PBA Regional event on Nov. 10-12 weekend is the PBA50 Gastonia South Open presented by Brunswick at George Pappas’ Liberty Lanes in Gastonia, N.C.

● One event is on the PBA Regional calendar for the Nov. 17-19 weekend: the La-Z-Boy Central Challenge for non-titlists at Monroe Sports Center in Monroe, Mich.

● Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23) is an American holiday, but it’s also the day the PBA Japan Region will conduct its Phoenix Rays PBA Japan Bear Open at Sagami First Lanes in Sagamihara, Japan. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the PBA Southwest Region will conduct its Beaumont Southwest Open at Crossroads Bowling Center in Beaumont, 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).


● Did you know that since the inaugural PBA World Series of Bowling in 2009, 41 different countries have been represented in the field at one time or another. In 2017, a record 27 countries will compete for titles, including first-time entries from France and The Netherlands.

● Stephen Walker of Batavia, Ill., is the lucky winner of a new high-performance ball from DV8; Robert Bledsoe of Merritt Island, Fla., receives a new high-performance MOTIV ball, and Ruben Zavala of Helotes, Texas, wins a new Brunswick ball as October sweepstakes prizes for subscribing to Xtra Frame. The monthly sweepstakes is sponsored by the respective PBA Product Registered partners. Monthly winners are selected from among new Xtra Frame subscribers, who are automatically entered when they enroll as a monthly or Xtra Frame Season Ticket (full year) subscriber.

● Claude Perreault is the October winner of a $200 HotelPlanner.com certificate, redeemable for future lodging expenses, compliments of PBA’s official travel partner. The monthly sweepstakes is open to anyone who books a hotel through the HotelPlanner.com link on pba.com. Those who book through HotelPlanner.com are automatically entered.