Seven tournaments into his inaugural season with Hammer bowling, Bill O'Neill has added some impressive stats to his resume.
On Sept. 6, O'Neill defeated Ronnie Russell, of Camby, Ind,, 205-192, in the Chameleon Championship for his first Professional Bowlers Association title and $25,000. His Championship match win came after defeating PBA Hall of Famer Amleto Monacelli in the semi-final match.
“It's just an incredible feeling to finally win this first title,” said O'Neill. “Now I feel like I'm ready to make an even stronger run through the middle of the PBA season.”
With his first title in the bag with Hammer, the Southampton, Pa. resident now has his sights set on one of the PBA's crown jewels ” the PBA World Championship final in Wichita, KS in December.
The 2005 PBA Rookie of the Year qualified for the World Championships on Sept. 4, after first shutting out 2008-2009 PBA title winner Walter Ray Williams Jr., 4-0, in the Round of 16; O'Neill then went on to defeat Steve Rogers, of Bourbonnais, Ill., 4-2, in the Round of 8.
The final frame of the best-of-seven semi-final match was met with relief, O'Neill said.
“I was up 3-0 in a best of seven and started to give it away,” he said. “I couldn't seem to put Steve Rogers away, so I was real happy just to get the match over with.”
O'Neill said he wasn't surprised he was able to secure his championship bid ” mostly due to his being armed with an arsenal of Hammer products.
“I have bowled pretty well in majors in my career ...,” he said. “I have used everything in the Hammer line from the Jigsaw to the Razyr. We bowled on seven different lane patterns on three different lane surfaces, so I saw just about every kind of ball reaction. I'm very thankful that Hammer has such a wide variety of products that got me through this month.”
Sept. 6 capped the inaugural PBA World Series of Bowling, to which Sunday's Chameleon Championship was a lead-in. The World Championship finals will be aired live on ESPN on Dec. 13 at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kan.
O'Neill thinks that the more than three month delay between the semi-finals and the final will be an asset rather than a hindrance.
“I think the time we have before the show will help me,” he said. “I am going to be pretty fresh going into that show; this is going to be the biggest show of my career so I am going to need to have my mind and body as intact as possible.”
O'Neill credits Hammer Brand Manager Jeff Ussery and the product line for his resounding success this year.
“Jeff Ussery and everyone at Hammer have helped me on so much since I have signed. I have no doubt that Hammer has to be the major factor in my success,” he said.
Ussery said that O'Neill has been a great representative of the brand this year.
“Bill is an incredibly talented bowler who truly has a gift,” Ussery said. “We are proud to have him representing us. Bill and the Hammer brand have been a very successful complement to one another and we aim for that to continue.”