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Chris Via wins 2021 U.S. Open

Ed Townsend - Columnist
Posted 4/15/21

Chris Via has continued to put himself in position to become a champion on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, and he broke through in a major way last Sunday at the 2021 U.S. Open.

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Chris Via wins 2021 U.S. Open


Chris Via has continued to put himself in position to become a champion on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, and he broke through in a major way last Sunday at the 2021 U.S. Open.

The 29-year-old right-hander claimed the first title of his career and a $30,000 top prize with a dramatic 214-213 victory over Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, at the famed National Bowling Stadium.

The event is one of the five majors on the PBA Tour and was the final one of the 2021 season.

Via became the first No. 1 seed to win the prestigious title and coveted green jacket since 2015, and the title tilt came down to the final delivery of the long week.

Butturff had the opportunity to throw three strikes in his final frame to force a roll-off, but he fell short. He left a 2 pin after delivering two strikes, the second of which featured a messenger taking out the 7 pin.

The finalists were separated by one pin after seven frames and both working on spares in the eighth frame. Butturff followed with the first errant shot of his two games on the TV show, and a 3-7-9 split gave Via the opportunity to win.

After a fourth consecutive single-pin spare, Via could've put the game out of reach with nine, spare, strike in his final frame. Instead, he left the 2-8 combination on his first offering, spared it and struck on the fill ball to force Butturff to throw three strikes for a tie.

The loss marked the third runner-up finish for Butturff at the U.S. Open, with the first two coming in 2017 and 2018, where he was the top seed by more than 550 pins. He also lost the 2018 event by a single pin, falling 207-206 to England's Dom Barrett. Former Team USA member Rhino Page cruised to the win in 2017.

“If you keep finishing second at one of the most challenging and prestigious events, you're obviously doing something right,” said Butturff, who also finished second in the PBA World Championship and Chameleon Championship this year, both part of the recent World Series of Bowling. the one winning by a pin.”

The seven-time PBA Tour champion, including the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Masters, entered the stepladder as the second seed, hoping the different perspective, and the recent success of the No. 2 seeds at the U.S. Open, would offer a different fate. It certainly looked like that could be the case as he delivered nine strikes in his first match Sunday.

The 26-year-old left-hander was in complete control in the semifinal and rolled to a 257-203 win over 18-year-old Junior Team USA member Anthony Neuer of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

Neuer, whose father, Andy, is a PBA Tour champion, was looking to become the youngest bowler to win a major title on the PBA Tour.

Though he fell short of that goal, he did add his name to the record book by becoming the fourth bowler in history, and first since 1991, to pick up the 7-10 split on a PBA telecast.

Anthony Simonsen became the PBA Tour's youngest major champion when he won the USBC Masters in 2016. USBC and PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke set the overall record when he won his first title in 1983 at 18 years, 345 days old.

Neuer's path to the semifinal was unobstructed, as a pair of open frames from Cristian Azcona of Clermont, Florida, helped the young southpaw pick up his first TV win on the PBA Tour.

The four-time member of Junior Team USA, struck in six of his first eight frames to deny Azcona the ultimate 27th birthday present by a score of 236-200.

Azcona also was looking to become the first bowler from Puerto Rico to win a PBA Tour major. His win at the PBA Xtra Frame Wilmington Open in 2018 made him the first bowler from the island to claim a PBA Tour title of any kind.

The day's opening match was a high-scoring all-urethane battle between Azcona and three-time PBA Tour champion Jason Sterner of Rochester, New York.

Azcona started with four consecutive strikes to build a 13-pin lead, and he delivered three more strikes in his final frame to lock out the 37-year-old right-hander. The final score was 258-256.

Sterner, who finished fourth in last week's USBC Masters and was looking for his first major title, bowled a near-maximum 100 games between the two events, both at the National Bowling Stadium.

All five major winners from this season now will meet in the PBA Super Slam, which will air live on FOX on April 18.

The 2021 U.S. Open started with 108 competitors, all of whom bowled 24 games of qualifying across three oil patterns, before total pinfall determined the 36 bowlers who advanced to Friday morning's Cashers' Round on a fourth lane condition.

The final pattern, a 42-foot condition, was used throughout match play and was featured again on the TV show Sunday.

Following the Cashers' Round, 32-game pinfall totals determined the 24 players for round-robin match play, and their 56-game totals, including 30 bonus pins for each match they won, determined the five bowlers for Sunday's stepladder.

Via entered the Cashers' Round in 24th place and closed with games of 279, 300 and 240 to secure his spot in match play, qualifying 16th. In the rounds that followed, he moved up to 10th, then third, before a position-round win against Butturff earned him the top seed for the show.

Each round of qualifying and match play at the 2021 U.S. Open was broadcast live at BowlTV.com and simulcast on FloBowling.com.

Ed's Outlook

2021 PBA50 Tour Season

Kicks Off This Weekend

After a year-long hiatus from competition, the PBA50 Tour triumphantly returns to the lanes this weekend in Fort Myers, FL. with the PBA50 Lightning Strikes Open, presented by Hammer. The event marks the first national PBA50 stop since August 2019. The 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first event of the 2021 PBA50 season will feature three days of competition - qualifying and match play all streamed live on FloBowling.com, April 11-13.

One hundred and forty five senior bowlers are set to compete for the first title of the season, with many notable players making their PBA50 debut. Among the new competitors are PBA Hall of Famers Chris Barnes and Jason Couch along with PBA Tour champions Brad Angelo, Tom Hess and Mitch Beasley.

Also, in the field are PBA Hall of Famers Walter Ray Williams Jr. and Pete Weber who both recently announced their retirements from the PBA National Tour at the PBA World Series of Bowling XII in March.

The PBA50 Tour then moves to Clearwater, FL for the PBA50 Johnny Petraglia BVL Open, presented by The Law Offices of Lucas & Magazine and Brunswick, April 18-21.

Following Clearwater, the PBA50 returns to The Villages for the Florida Blue Medicare PBA50 National Championship, presented by Spanish Springs Lanes April 25-29, then to Aberdeen, N.C. for the PBA50 Granville Financial Open May 2-May 5, and to Centreville, Va. for the PBA50 Bud Moore Classic May 8-11.

The 2021 Super Senior Classic and USBC Senior Masters, a highlight of the 2021 PBA50 season, will be held consecutively in the fall as part of the West Coast swing at Sam's Town Bowling Center in Las Vegas.

The Super Senior Classic will be contested first, taking place Sept. 9-13 followed by the Senior Masters Sept. 13-19.

Shifts in timing also include the 2021 Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open, which will be held Aug. 29-Sept. 3 at the Suncoast Bowling Center in Las Vegas and the PBA50 Northern California Classic in Brentwood, Calif., from Sept. 5-8.

The complete PBA50 Tour schedule is available at www.pba.com/pba-tour/pba50-tour. More dates will be announced and added.

Bowling Tip

By Mike Luongo

Repeating a good bowling shot requires bowlers to release the ball the same way shot after shot.

This week we will talk about the release and offer information that will help bowlers of all levels.

A properly executed release is possibly one of the most understood parts of a bowling shot. Most bowlers want to muscle the ball through the release zone, and they do this by accelerating or decelerating on the downswing.

The proper release for all bowlers is executed by letting gravity bring the ball from the top of the swing through the release zone with no interference from your arm or shoulder muscles.

If the ball fits properly, the gravity will take it off your hand at the right time providing your body is in the proper position. Any rotation on the ball should come from your hand only....not your arm.

Using the proper technique will allow you to get as much rotation on the ball as desired.

When your bowling ball does not fit properly this is where it will require excessive grip pressure to hold on to which will make the release harder to execute.

Gravity can be your best friend or worst enemy depending on how you use it.

Mike Luongo is a Certified IBPSIA Pro Shop Operator, Master Instructor, USBC Silver Level Coach and an Advisor-Special Events Assistant with the Storm and Roto Grip Bowling Ball Company. Have a question, email him at mikel@stormbowling.com

700 Scoreboard

A little on the light side for keglers getting into the 700 scoreboard this past week. In the Friday Mixed league at Kiamesha Lanes Pedro Agapito III scored a 737 off single games of 298, 216, 223 and Pete Green in the Hancock Fox Bowling Center Wednesday Independent league scored a 707 off single games of 235, 257, 215. A former Librty bowler now living and bowling in the Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA, Greg Skiff, 33, son of Joan Redington of White Sulphur Springs and the late Tom Skiff bowled a 739 off single games of 239, 203, 297 using a Black Widow bowling ball that previously was used by his late dad, Tom Skiff. Gregg bowls in two leagues at Limerick Bowl and maintains a 210 average in both leagues.



Monday Men's

Kevin Stackhouse 238, 672, Paul Minton 245, 660, Bill VanAken 247, 632, Dan VanAken 222, 621, Bob Feeney Sr. 226, 636, Charlie Tuttle 245, 656, Pedro Agapito III a 233, 656, Frank Scuderi 235, 622, William Schubert 243, 647, Rich Bradford 237, 661, Michael Caiazzo 227, 615, Tom Belgiovene 217, 625, David Graham 213, 601, Jonathan Wilhelm 246, 644, Jaryl Scott 245, 683.

Tuesday Mixed Firefighter

William Schubert 235, 621, Steve Belgiovene 218, 618, Trasey Barres 157, Jonathan Wilhelm 249, 691, Kyle Giordano 248, 669, Shane Cunningham 235, 629, John Hoffmann 232, Allison Decker 174, William VanAken 214, 627, David Graham 217, 601, Bobby Patel 258, 623, Rachel Feller 154, Anne Kaplan 168, Kevin Stackhouse 224, 636, Charlie Tuttle 243, 616, Kathy Bradley 174, Karen Martin 187, Connie Beach 161, Philip Norris 209, 605, William Schubert 235, 621.

Friday Mixed

Shane Cunningham 237, 672, Vic Decker 222, Charlie Meier 258, 694, Serafin Rodriguez III a 237, 670, Jason Rogers 217, 616, Kevin Stackhouse 235, 698, Lauren Blume 179, 513, Nicole Feller 192, Anne Kaplan 153, Michele Macedonio 169, Wendy Swan 186, Kathy Weiss 162.


Wednesday Independent

Andrew Bullis 215, 629, Shane Dirig 232, Mike Dufton 258, 654, Chad Gardepa 234, 625, Ben Green 215, 605, Rob Johnson 237, 654, Dan Keesler 212, 605, Mitch Persbacker 202, 605, Brian Tiffany 222, 632, Scott Wahl 236, 657, Zuke Wormuth 241, 635, Scott Wormuth 234.

Thursday Night 3

Dale Conklin 280, 697, Ray Cornwell 225, 630, Shane Dirig 259, 697, Rick Mills 245, 624, Natasha Tuttle 187, Dan Wormuth 245, 642.

Friday Couples

Andy Bullis 211, 607, Shawn Card 223, 627, Annie Ding 184, Shane Ding 245, Janet Ellis 194, 185, 185, 564, Scott Ellis 204, 602, Linda Ferris 200, 516, Mindy McElroy 202, Brianna Meres 216, 211, 606, Carmella Seely 189, 515, Kathy Smith 207, 519, Jeff Soules 243, Dan Wormuth 225, 631, Jay Wormuth 220, 624, Jeremy Wormuth 229.

Port Jervis Bowl

Thursday Women's

Jeanne Steuhl 205, 211, 165, 581, Rachel Rivera 157, 166, 214, 537, Carol Flynn 137, 160, 235, 532, Darlene Amarilla 175, 147, 169, 491, Sherri Laird 134, 152, 169, 455, Stephanie Freeman 193.

Ed Townsend is Public Relations Consultant to the sport of bowling and golf and brings over 60 years of sports journalism experience in writing and compiling the information for this column. Due to no local bowling news and the fact that golf is fast approaching we will turn our focus to golf next week and ask anyone with local golf course news or golf league and tournament information to let me know at 845-439-8177, email at bght75@gmail.com or fax at 845-205-4474. Read our local blog for all kinds of news at http://bght.blogspot.com


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