Harry Golden PBA Rookie of the Year Award
|2002||* Tommy Jones|
|1995||Billy Myers Jr.|
|1994||Tony Ament Jr.|
Sanders, a 23-year-old left-hander and former two-time All-American with Marion University-Indiana, was the overwhelming choice over one of the strongest fields of rookies in recent PBA history.
He was the only rookie to win a PBA Tour title (in the Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial Open presented by Chris Hardwick at Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes in Memphis, Tenn., in June). Sanders qualified ninth for the match play elimination finals of the “throwback” plastic ball tournament, eventually defeating PBA50 Player of the Year Brian LeClair, 243-237, for the title.
He concluded his first season with a fifth-place finish in the PBA World Championship, losing a 10-7 sudden-death roll-off to Kyle Troup after they tied at 248-248 in the opening match of the World Championship finals.
“It’s an honor just to be in the conversation with the bowlers who compete on tour,” Sanders said. “I go into each tournament believing I can win. Sometimes, maybe I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best I can be. I feel that when I’m at my best I can compete with anyone. I just need to relax and do what I do best and hopefully the rest will take care of itself.”
Among PBA rookies in 2017, he was the average (215.84) and earnings ($30,965) leader.
*The 2002 awards where based on the 2001-02 season, marking a transition from calendar-year to seasonal.