South Region Kicks Off New PBA Regional Invitational Tournament Series
SEATTLE (July 31, 2013) – Break Point Alley in Tavares, Fla., will host the first in a series of new Professional Bowlers Association Regional Players Invitational tournaments this weekend, launching a series of six events that will be covered live on PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, Xtra Frame, and will reward winners with berths in a new ESPN-televised event during the PBA World Series of Bowling V in early November.
The new tournament series, which will be conducted in the PBA’s East, South, Central, Midwest, Southwest and joint West-Northwest Regions, will provide dozens of top regional players with international media exposure via Xtra Frame; include attractive prize funds in excess of $25,000 each with $6,000 to the winner and a 1:2 payout ratio, and provide the winner of each with a paid entry into the World Series. In addition, the winner of the RPI Finals telecast on ESPN will earn a berth in the 2014 PBA Tournament of Champions.
The RPI schedule includes the South RPI at Break Point Alley, Tavares, Fla., Aug. 2-4; the Midwest RPI at Super Bowl in Peru, Ill., Aug. 31-Sept. 2; the Southwest RPI at FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Sept. 6-8; the Central RPI at Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich., Sept. 13-15; the East RPI at Maple City Bowl, Hornell, N.Y., Sept. 20-22, and the West/Northwest RPI at the National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev., Oct. 18-20.
Connor Pickford of Charlotte, N.C., a 23-year-old two-time South Region champion during the points period, is the South’s leading points qualifier.
Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, led the Midwest Region in points. Hess, 44, is the 2011 USBC Masters champion.
Former Wichita State University star Nathan Bohr, a 16-time PBA Regional title winner, won three of those titles during the past season to top the Southwest points list.
PBA Tour rookie E.J. Tackett, 21, of Huntington, Ind., topped the Central points list. A one-time Central Region winner, Tackett made his PBA television debut during the GEICO PBA Summer Swing in Milwaukee followed by a sixth-place finish in the U.S. Open.
Four-time PBA Tour titlist Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., is the East Region’s points leader, thanks in part to two East Region victories that boosted his career total to 21 PBA Regional titles.
The joint West/Northwest points leader is 49-year-old Northwest Region veteran Chris Warren of Grants Pass, Ore., who won a pair of titles over the past season while 28-year-old PJ Haggerty of Roseville, Calif., led the West Region, thanks in part to winning a pair of titles.
In order to qualify for their respective RPIs, PBA members were required to qualify among the top 48 in competition points within their own regions during a season-long points race. The top 15 in points as of July 15 receive a free entry into their respective RPIs. Players who finish 16-32 in points are invited, but must pay a $220 entry fee. The next 16 spots will go to players on the points list who have participated in a minimum of 50 percent of the region’s tournaments during the year. If any spots remain open, invitations will be extended based upon players’ rankings on their home region’s points list.
Special rules apply to the joint West-Northwest RPI. West Region’s top 10 and the Northwest’s top five will earn the free entries. West Region leaders 11-23 and Northwest Region points leaders 6-9 are eligible for the $220 entry positions. The balance of the field will be offered to the next 12 West Region and next four Northwest Region players who meet the participation rule.
Each RPI will consist of a Friday pro-am and two six-game qualifying rounds on Saturday. The top 16 qualifiers will advance to three rounds of best-of-five-game elimination matches and two rounds of one-game eliminations on Sunday. Saturday’s top four qualifiers will earn two bye rounds and qualifiers five through eight will earn one bye round.
“This is one of the most exciting initiatives for the PBA Regional program ever and shows the PBA’s commitment to developing great players on the regional level,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “It makes the races for the RPI spots in each region even more compelling and the resulting Xtra Frame and TV exposure for the regional program will shed more light on one of the most important foundations of the PBA.”
Bowling fans can watch the exclusive live coverage of each RPI event on Xtra Frame on Saturday and Sunday. A full-year subscription is $64.99 and will include not only the RPI events, but hundreds of hours of coverage from the WSOB-V from Las Vegas, qualifying and match play rounds for many of the PBA’s 2014 tournaments and much more. To sign up, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame logo.
“We are excited to bring this RPI series to Xtra Frame,” Clark added. “Subscribers will see start-to-finish action featuring the best players from every region for six weeks. It’s a great value and I know PBA fans will enjoy watching things unfold.”
During the World Series at South Point Hotel, Casino and Bowling Center in November, the six RPI champions will compete in a one-hour RPI Finals event that will air on ESPN. All six players will bowl in the opening one-game match with the three highest scoring players advancing to the title match. The winner of final match will earn the 2014 PBA Tournament of Champions berth (if already qualified, he will advance to the top of the TOC eligibility list).
PBA SOUTH REGION TOP 15 RPI QUALIFIERS
Break Point Alley, Tavares, Fla., Aug. 2-4
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