Hammer Bowling's Bill O'Neill is tearing through the competition on the Professional Bowling Association Tour.
In his first year with the hardest hitting brand in bowling, O'Neill, 27, continues to make a name for himself as a professional bowler.
The PBA's 2005-06 Rookie of the Year is on the hunt for his first PBA win, qualifying for the Chameleon Championship semi-finals Aug. 20, after eliminating Walter Ray Williams Jr., 4-3.
Not only did O'Neill, of Levittown, Pa., take out the hall of fame bowler and all-time Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour win leader, he also threw a perfect game - his second of the day - against Williams during the fifth game in the Round of 8. O'Neill was throwing a Hammer Razyr Black/Red in each of his perfect games, the first of which came against Steve Jaros in the Round of 16.
"It means so much to win against players like Walker Ray and Steve in a situation like this," O'Neill said.
"Bill really bowled well tonight, but more importantly our strategy in those matches was key to Bill's success. Match-play strategy is key to winning, and it proved out in these matches. By breaking the pair down properly in each match, Bill was able to open up the lane for himself and cause his opponents to struggle at key moments," said Jeff Ussery, Hammer Brand Manager.
The best of seven series with Walter Ray went down to the wire, ending in a close seventh game 213-210.
"After you throw a 300 it can be draining," he said. "I really tried to force myself to stay in the moment."
O'Neill routed Michael Machuga, of Erie, Pa., 4-1 in the Round of 28 to advance to the Round of 16 in which he defeated Steve Jaros, of Yorkville, Ill., 4-3.
In early August, O'Neill edged by Rhino Page to a fifth place finish in the Motor City Open.
A 190-171 win in a one-game roll-off sealed O'Neill's spot in the stepladder finals of the PBA's inaugural World Series of Bowling, which is set for Sept. 5 at Thunderbowl. O'Neill is the only non-titlist in the top five.
"I've never been part of anything like that," O'Neill said, "especially considering I was more than 100 pins away from the show with four games to go. I bowled 740 for three games just to give myself a chance. And then to make this show is something special. It's going to be four legends and me."
Nicknamed "The Real Deal," O'Neill has a long list of accolades for his bowling career, including being a four-time member of the first team Collegiate All-American at Saginaw Valley University, in University Center, Mich. He was named Collegiate Bowler of the Year in 2001, 2003 and 2004 by the Bowling Writers Association of America as well as Most Valuable Player in 2002-03 and 2003-04 by the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association.
The PBA Chameleon Championship semifinal and championship rounds are Sept. 6 at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich. The event will air at 1 p.m. ET Nov. 22 on ESPN. The stepladder finals of the Motor City Open, held on Sept. 5 at Thunderbowl, will air at 1 p.m. EDT, Nov. 1 on ESPN.