By Bill Vint
CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Top qualifier Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, finished with four strikes to turn back a rally by AJ Chapman of Manchester, Iowa, and win the Go Bowling! Professional Bowlers Association Tour’s Harry O’Neale Chesapeake Open Sunday at AMF Western Branch.
O’Neill, who earned his 11th career PBA Tour title and second of the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season, jumped into an early lead with five strikes to start the title match while Chapman left a 3-6-7-10 split and failed to convert in his third frame. Chapman, the No. 2 qualifier, rallied behind a string of four strikes to close his deficit to three pins, but O’Neill struck out to end Chapman’s bid for his first PBA Tour title.
“Everything this week, with the urethane equipment I was using, was about staying slow,” O’Neill said. “Just to win an event when you’re not playing your ‘A’ game means a lot.
“I’ve worked on my game a lot this year, mainly on ball speed,” he continued. “I throw it too hard when I’m doing bad, but I’m bowling a lot smarter and I think the end of the game showed that.”
In the midst of arguably the best season in his 14-year career, the 37-year-old O’Neill has had third, fourth and fifth place finishes in addition to winning the PBA Hall of Fame Classic to start the year and later finishing second in the inaugural PBA Playoffs.
Greg Young Jr. of Viera, Florida, a 23-year-old rookie who had not finished higher than 30th in any previous PBA Tour appearance, eliminated 10-time PBA Tour champion Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, 216-192, in the first match of the four-player stepladder finals. But Young ran into immediate trouble in the semifinal match against Chapman, leaving splits that resulted in three unconverted spares in the first five frames as Chapman coasted to a 233-160 victory.
The Harry O’Neale Chesapeake Open, named in honor of the long-time PBA South Region manager who was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 2016, was the third of 10 events that are part of the FloBowling PBA Summer Tour. The FloBowling PBA Summer Tour resumes Tuesday at Ten Pin Alley Family Fun Center in Wilmington, North Carolina, with an eight-game qualifying round in the PBA Wilmington Open.
The Wilmington Open will be livestreamed in its entirety Tuesday and Wednesday on FloBowling, followed by the PBA Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic from Mid-County Bowling and Entertainment in Middletown, Delaware, Saturday and Sunday. For subscription information, visit FloBowling.com.