Sean Rash Rolls Two Near-Perfect Games, Climbs Ladder to Win 15th Title in PBA Oklahoma Open
by Bill Vint | Sunday, January 26, 1:33 PM
SHAWNEE, Okla. – No. 5 qualifier Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois, won four consecutive matches, defeating top qualifier Ryan Ciminelli of Lancaster, South Carolina, in the finale, 289-234, to win the PBA Oklahoma Open Sunday at FireLake Bowling Center for his 15th career title.
The finals of the second tournament of the 2020 Go Bowling Pro Tour season aired live on FS1.
Rash, who made educated adjustments and executed flawlessly through four matches, started the championship match by converting a 10 pin and then threw 10 consecutive strikes for back-to-back near-perfect games. The 37-year-old righthander flirted with the gutter on the shorter oiling pattern on the right lane and played a near-flawless inside line on the left throughout the finals.
“A couple of times on that right lane, I said things to myself that I couldn’t repeat on television,” Rash said, “but I was able to execute and carry the strikes. You can’t worry about the ball going in the gutter. You live and die with it. Trust the process and let things happen. I’m going to keep living on the edge.
“Physically I feel great. I saw the lanes perfectly all week. I kept my angles in front of me. It was a hell of a show,” he continued. “It’s another step in the milestone.
“I love Shawnee,” he added of his history of successful appearances at FireLake. “Chris Skillings (FireLake’s Director of Bowling Operations) asked me to move to Shawnee, but that isn’t going to happen.”
Rash, who was joined by wife Sara in the closing ceremonies, also revealed the couple is expecting their third child in July.
“We were trying to figure out a good time to announce it,” Rash said. “This seemed like as good a time as any.”
The championship round, like the rest of the tournament, was contested on a demanding dual pattern scoring environment with the PBA’s shortest and second-longest oiling patterns applied to opposing lanes: the 45-foot PBA Dragon pattern on the left lane and the 32-foot Wolf on the right.
In the opening match of Sunday’s finals, Patrick Hanrahan of Wichita, Kansas, a two-handed lefthander who was making his PBA television debut, left the 2-4-6-10 split in the third frame and failed to convert. He then missed a 6 pin in the fourth frame, helping Rash to an early 33-pin lead that he never relinquished in posting a 226-202 victory.
In match two, Rash left the 3-4-6-7 in his opening frame and missed. Sweden’s Jesper Svensson, also a two-handed lefthander, took advantage, starting with three strikes for an early 32-pin lead. After back-to-back single-pin spares and a four-strike rally by Rash, Svensson threw three more strikes before leaving the 2-4-6-7 and failing to convert in the ninth frame. That opening allowed Rash to lock up the match with three strikes and a nine-count, 235-220.
The semifinal match began as a spare-shooting contest before Rash struck first in the third frame. He then ran off a string of 10 strikes for an easy 279-189 victory. No. 2 qualifier Brad Miller of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, didn’t get his first strikes until the fifth and sixth frames, and by the seventh frame, Miller’s hope for his first title was out of reach.
The Oklahoma Open was a Tier 2 event in the PBA’s competition points structure, with 5,000 points awarded to the winner and diminishing points to the rest of the field. Points earned in all Go Bowling PBA Tour events through the PBA World Series of Bowling XI in April will determine the 24 players who will earn berths in the PBA Playoffs in April and May.
The next stop on the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour is the PBA Jonesboro Open at Hijinx in Jonesboro, Arkansas, beginning with a pre-tournament qualifier on Tuesday. The Jonesboro finals will air live on FS1 Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EST. All preliminary rounds will be livestreamed by FloBowling.com beginning Wednesday.
PBA OKLAHOMA OPEN
(A 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 2 event)
FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla.
1, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., $30,000.
2, Ryan Ciminelli, Lancaster, S.C., $15,000.
3, Brad Miller, Lee’s Summit, Mo., $9,000.
4, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, $7,000.
5, Patrick Hanrahan, Wichita, Kan., $5,000.
Match One: Rash def. Hanrahan, 226-202.
Match Two: Rash def. Svensson, 235-220.
Semifinal Match: Rash def. Miller, 279-189.
Championship: Rash def. Ciminelli, 289-234.