Monday, October 15, 2018

Paradise City Joins the LPGA Family as an Official Partner
 
Top entertainment destination will have a presence during LPGA Tour event broadcasts
 
 
INCHEON, Republic of Korea, Oct. 15, 2018 – The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) announced today that Paradise City, a top resort and entertainment destination in Northeast Asia, has been named an Official Entertainment Destination and will have a presence throughout the season during television broadcasts of LPGA Tour events.
 
Paradise City’s unique Korean-style resorts combine hospitality with entertainment, offering an exciting experience for guests. As an Official Partner, the multi-complex resort will next season help the LPGA highlight “Entertaining Moments of the Week” during tournament broadcasts.
 
This partnership was launched earlier this month during the UL International Crown team competition where Paradise City served as the official hotel of the event and hosted the Gala Dinner on the Tuesday night of tournament week. Paradise City was also the official hotel for last week’s LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship and hosted another Gala Dinner on the eve of the tournament.
 
"The LPGA is proud to welcome Paradise City to our family," said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. "We look forward to our stays where we are treated to first-class hospitality and entertainment. We plan to make many return visits to Paradise City and are excited to show our fans the 'entertaining moment of the week'."
Park Pyung-Yong, CEO of Paradise Segasammy, said: "Paradise City now endeavors to contribute to the prosperity of the global golf industry as well as enhance its reputation as the first integrated resort in Northeast Asia through ceaseless sports marketing activities."
Boosted by this partnership, Paradise City will envisage itself as not only a landmark of the ‘Korean Golf Wave’ but also as the mecca of sports marketing in Northeast Asia.
Korean fan favorite Sung Hyun Park, a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour, said: "The beds are really comfortable at Paradise City and I’ve been sleeping really well these past two weeks. That’s the most important thing. The food is great and personally, it’s one of the top hotels I’ve ever stayed in."
ANA Inspiration champion Pernilla Lindberg, who also spent two consecutive weeks at Paradise City Hotel & Resort for the UL International Crown and the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, added: "It's the nicest hotel that we get to stay in all year, so I'm very comfortable getting to spend two straight weeks there! You never get bored with your food options there and then so many other activities to do as well. I haven't really been part of the night scene but the nightclub, Chroma, there looks really cool. I know it just opened. And just the sheer size of the casino there is quite impressive too."
Jin Young Ko, who won her first LPGA Tour title at the 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, said: "As defending champion of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, I stayed in a Suite Room at the Paradise Hotel and I have to say it is very spacious with many rooms and the beds are amazingly comfortable so I am sleeping very well. It is just a really comfortable place to stay. Also inside the hotel, there are spaces where quality exhibitions are held, and there are many entertainment options, including a bowling alley, a VR (Virtual Reality) room and a pool room. There is also a cafe that serves delicious food, in fact the food overall is very tasty. So I am enjoying my stay on various fronts."
Here is a link to the 'Paradise Entertaining Moment of the Week' from the 2018 UL International Crown Gala Dinner, held in the Grand Ballroom at Paradise City Hotel & Resort on Oct. 3: https://bit.ly/2A5BFlO.
About Paradise City
PARADISE CITY is Northeast Asia’s first integrated resort. It showcases accumulated expertise of 50 years of managing hotels, casinos, and spas at Paradise, the leader in tourism and leisure in Korea. The entire compound spans 330,000m2, approximately 46 times that of a football (soccer) pitch. Opened in April 2017, the first phase facilities span 200,000m2 to include the 5-star contemporary luxury hotel Paradise Hotel & Resort, the largest casino for foreigners in Korea, Paradise Casino, and a Convention Center optimized for international MICE events thanks to its outstanding accessibility.
 
Opened in September 2018, the second phase facilities span 110,000m2 to include various cultural and entertainment establishments. Facilities include: ▲ART PARADISO (Luxury boutique hotel), ▲CIMER (K-Style Destination spa), ▲CHROMA (The largest club in Northeast Asia), ▲PARADISE ART SPACE (Art exhibition space), ▲PLAZA (Event-oriented shopping arcade), ▲STUDIO PARADISE (Innovative multi-purpose studio), and ▲WONDERBOX (Family entertainment indoor theme park, opening in the first half of 2019). As these facilities provide bespoke amusement to customers of all ages, they provide the setting as a true one-stop integrated resort for experiencing the K-Wave (Hallyu) culture.
 
About the LPGA
The LPGA is the world’s leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950 and headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla., the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 2,300 members representing more than 30 countries. With a vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women’s golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while the Symetra Tour, the official development and qualifying tour of the LPGA, consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. Additionally, LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management.
 
The LPGA demonstrates its dedication to the development of the game through The LPGA Foundation. Since 1991, this charitable organization has been committed to empowering and supporting girls and women through developmental and humanitarian golf initiatives, such as LPGA*USGA Girls Golf.
 
Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via www.LPGA.com. Join the social conversation at www.facebook.com/lpga, www.twitter.com/lpga and www.youtube.com/lpgavideo, and on Instagram at @lpga_tour.
 

PRE-TOURNAMENT NEWS AND NOTES: LPGA QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT SECOND STAGE

VENICE, Fla.   They look alike, sound the same and have done just about everything together, but luckily sisters Morgane Metraux (Lausanne, Switzerland) and Kim Metraux (Lausanne, Switzerland) have different swing techniques so one can tell them apart. 

Morgane is right-hand dominant, while Kim plays left-handed. They grew up on the links at Lausanne Golf Club, picking up the game when Kim was 12 and Morgane was 10. From their native land, to attending Florida State University at the same time and both graduating this past May, the two have developed into exceptional talents. 

“When we started golf, it was a family thing to do on holidays, a hobby,” said Morgane. “We got recruited by different schools, but realized there was a chance we could go somewhere together. We ended up liking the same place and that’s what helped make our decision.”

As siblings, they have a natural competitive nature. As professional athletes, those instincts are taken up a notch. There’s no doubt their relationship brings out the best in one another, which leads to the obvious question. Who is better?

“We always get that,” Kim said laughingly. “We have always said it depends on the week, sometimes she is playing better and sometimes I am. It’s just nice to have someone to get challenged by and practice with. We are really close, so it has made things easier being so far from home and sharing memories.”

This week, the Metraux sisters will tee it up in Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament and see how they fare against an international field of 193 players from 42 different countries and 30 states.

Even with so much in common, the two took alternate paths to this point. Morgane advanced straight to Plantation Golf & Country Club based on her Symetra Tour status, while Kim finished tied for 33rd at 1-over par in Stage I to continue the pursuit of her dream to play on the LPGA Tour.

“I believed I could make it through and come here, so it was nice to see that happen and not have to find different plans for next year,” said Kim, who opens her first round tomorrow at 12:20 p.m. ET off No. 10 on the Panther Course. “It is reassuring, but now I am excited to see what happens this week and in the future. I feel like I have become more calm on the course, learned to accept what shots I hit and do the best out of that situation.”

Following a missed cut in her Symetra Tour debut at the Four Winds Invitational, Morgane didn’t play the weekend only one other time over the final 12 events in her rookie campaign. As for Kim, she competed on the Ladies European Tour (LET) Access Series this year and recorded four top-20 finishes in six starts. 

With their paths taking separate ways for a short time, the Metraux sisters are finally back together. Reunited, they look to push each other down the same path with the same goal of reaching the highest level in women’s professional golf.

“For me it is a little different than it is for her because she still has [at least] Symetra Tour status to get,” said Morgane, who begins play in the first round at 12:42 p.m. ET off No. 10 on the Bobcat Course. “I have my status already, so this is just to go further. It’s a little different, but maybe we will both play better and move on together.”

AS INDIA’S GOLF COMMUNITY GROWS, NICOLLET HELPING PAVE THE WAY
In today’s digital world, Sharmila Nicollet (Bangalore, India) is easily the most recognizable Indian female golfer with greater than 478,000 Twitter followers and over 125,000 fans on Instagram.

Although golf succumbs to cricket and soccer as far as popularity in a nation of more than 1.3 billion people, it is growing at a steady rate thanks to players like Nicollet. 

“All of this recreated, or has changed the perspective of golf in India and everyone wants to make it now,” said Nicollet. “It is getting better every year using the whole hype of golf in India. I just hope to see every one of us in a group out there speaking our own language.”

While no Indian woman has ever won a LPGA Tour event, the landscape of the sport in the country has been altered by the success of a couple individuals. At No. 97 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Aditi Ashok is the highest-ranked female professional since Simi Mehra, who played on Tour for several years beginning in 1997. She attained a career-high ranking of No. 17 in 1998. 

Meanwhile, three natives to India are in the field this week for Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament. In addition to Nicollet, Nikita Arjun (Bangalore, India) and Neha Tripathi (Gurgaon, India) continue to chase their dreams. Tripathi will have some experience on her side at Plantation Golf & Country Club as Mehra is her caddy for the week.

“It’s nice to have some familiarity, fellow Indians out here,” Nicollet said. “Me and Nina are staying together. Everyone is in their own groups, so it’s great to have someone from back home and the three of us supporting each other. This is my first time and I think the challenge is the wind. You have to trust decisions and judgment with clubs, that is going to be key this week.”

Nicollet was the highest Indian finisher at Stage I, as she shot 2-over par to end in a tie for 46th and advance comfortably within the cut line. Immediately after her time in SoCal, she went straight to Orlando to begin preparation for Stage II.

Between the gym and training sessions with coach Gary Girlich, the first Indian golfer to qualify for the China Ladies PGA Tour feels as ready as she could be. 

“I started working with him in August last year and my game has got so much better because he is a great mentor and coach,” said Nicollet. “You can’t go wrong with the facilities in the U.S. and my dream is to be on the LPGA. I have worked on a lot of different aspects of my game and came to Venice a week before to get used to the conditions.”

Tomorrow, Nicollet will put it all to the test when she heads out from No. 10 on the Bobcat Course at 1:37 p.m. ET in pursuit of a spot in the Q-Series field.

“I comfortably made it through Stage I, which means my game is pretty good,” Nicollet said. “It is good confidence going into this and I just need to play average golf, nothing fancy. There is no rocket science around it, have to trust the process and playing my game should be good enough.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

LPGA KEB HANA BANK CHAMPIONSHIP
SKY72 Golf & Resort, Ocean Course | Incheon, Republic of Korea | Oct. 8 – 14, 2018
 
Tuesday Pre-Tournament Notes
Oct. 9, 2018
 
Quick Links:
LPGA PLAYS IN WORLD’S BEST GOLFING NATION
Team Republic of Korea claimed victory on home soil and the country earned the title of ‘best golfing nation in the world’ due to their stellar performance at last week’s UL International Crown.
Two members of that triumphant team, Sung Hyun Park and In Gee Chun, will be back in action this week and they will be joined by 18 others from the 32-player field last week who are returning to compete at the 2018 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, marking the first official week of the LPGA Tour’s fall swing of events in Asia.
Past champions in the field this week include Amy Yang (2013), Lexi Thompson (2015), Carlota Ciganda (2016) and defending champion Jin Young Ko.
 
JOY, AND RELIEF, FOR SUNG HYUN AFTER TEAM KOREA'S VICTORY IN THE UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Sung Hyun Park heads into this week's LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship with feelings of both joy and relief after she and her teammates gave golf fans in the Republic of Korea a Sunday to savor with an impressive victory two days ago in the 2018 UL International Crown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea.
Team Korea held off the challenge of England and the United States to triumph by four points with an overall total of 15 as Korea banished memories of close calls at the first two editions of the UL International Crown - third place in 2014 and second in 2016.
"As we were preparing for the International Crown, I did feel a lot of pressure, but the fans were out there supporting us, so I think that was what drove team Korea to victory," fan favorite Park said while preparing for Thursday's opening round on the Ocean Course at SKY72 Golf & Resort. "And now that it's all over, I feel a great sense of relief, and looking back on last week, I think we had a lot of fun. As for the event this week, it's my sponsor's tournament and I'm really feeling good. I feel like I'm in good form, so hopefully I will do good this week."
Asked how Team Korea had celebrated their long anticipated first victory at the UL International Crown, Park replied with a soft smile: "We did not have time to celebrate together as a team. I actually went to bed pretty early (on Sunday)."
Park will now switch her focus back to individual stroke-play this week as she seeks her fourth LPGA Tour victory of the year on a layout where she has twice finished runner-up in the past three years. Yet despite her success on the Ocean Course, she feels she has never taken full advantage of the par-five holes.
"With this course, I always thought that the par-fives were shorter, but if you look at my past performance, I haven't done very well on the par-fives here," said the long-hitting Park. "That's something I really want to work on, so this year I'm going to change my strategy a bit and hopefully go for more birdies and eagles on the par-five holes."
 
ADMIRATION MORE THAN RIVALRY BETWEEN PARK AND JUTANUGARN
No. 1 Sung Hyun Park and no. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn found themselves going head-to-head on the final day of the UL International Crown in the concluding singles matches. After chipping in for eagle in the sudden-death playoff to secure the fifth-place spot for Team Thailand, Jutanugarn won that high-profile encounter 2 up but she had to deal with a great deal of pressure and massive home support for Park, courtesy of the Korean’s sea of Namdalla (“I am Different”) fans.
“I feel like [Park] inspires me a lot. She hits the driver so good. When I see her hit driver, I feel like I wanted to hit like her. She hits really straight and really long. I feel like I don't see any weaknesses from her game at all,” Jutanugarn said of her competitor’s form.
Park has held the no. 1 spot for seven consecutive weeks, closely followed by Jutanugarn, who is held in high regard by the Korean. Yet apart from their mouth-watering UL International Crown match-up, Park has never given their ‘rivalry’ much thought.
“I couldn't really see any weakness from Ariya,” said Park. “She's a known long hitter, so I knew that I could expect that from her, but her short game (at the UL International Crown) was phenomenal, so just playing with her, I learned a lot. I think that's why we had a lot of fun out there.”
Jutanugarn and Park lead the LPGA Tour’s standings for the most wins this season with three apiece, and they have each won a major title this year, Jutanugarn claiming the U.S. Women’s Open presented by the USGA and Park landing the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
 
BROOKE HENDERSON EXCITED TO GET SWINGING
CP Women’s Open champion Brooke Henderson is no stranger to earning a national victory in front of huge home crowd support and she is excited to be in South Korea this week after watching Team Republic of Korea win the 2018 UL International Crown. Henderson is the fourth player this season to win in her home country.
“That was pretty exciting to watch,” said Henderson about the UL International Crown. “Winning on home soil for me in Canada, it was amazing, something that I thought about since I was a little girl, and to finally be able to do it was really incredible. I'm just really excited to be back here in Korea. I had a really good finish last year.”
Touching down in South Korea where women’s golf has a substantial following, the 20-year-old Canadian champion commended the success and high level of competitiveness which the South Korean golfers bring to the global Tour.
“There's definitely been a huge influence of Korean golfers in the women's game,” said Henderson. “I think just overall the whole Tour has had to get better to be able to compete. The Tour has to grow with them, and it just happens to be that there's tons of Korean players that are very good and very talented that the rest of the world has to keep up with.”
 
NOTABLE FIRST-ROUND GROUPINGS
Defending champion Jin Young Ko will tee off the first tee at 10:29 a.m. with Lexi Thompson and Carlota Ciganda.
Rolex first-time winner Nasa Hataoka will tee off in the morning at 10:18 a.m. on the first tee with other 2018 season winners Minjee Lee and Sei Young Kim.
World no. 1 Sung Hyun Park and no. 8 Brooke Henderson will be joined by no. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn off the first tee at 10:40 a.m.
 
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LPGA KEB HANA BANK CHAMPIONSHIP
  • This is the 17th edition of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship event
  • The tournament was first held in 2002, hosted by The Club at Nine Bridges on Jeju Island where LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member Se Ri Pak won the inaugural title
  • For the first 12 editions, the event was played over 54 holes before being increased to 72 holes in 2014 when Q Baek triumphed in a playoff with Brittany Lincicome and In Gee Chun, sealing victory with a birdie on the first extra hole
  • The Club at Nine Bridges was the tournament venue from 2002-2005, then Mauna Ocean Golf & Resort played host in 2006 and 2007 before the Ocean Course at SKY72 Golf & Resort took over in 2008
LPGA KEB HANA BANK CHAMPIONSHIP IS LAP 27 IN RACE TO THE CME GLOBE
This week’s LPGA KEB HANA BANK CHAMPIONSHIP marks the 27th lap of the 2018 Race to the CME Globe. Ariya Jutanugarn continues to sit atop the standings with 3,512 points, followed by Minjee Lee with 2,538 points. Brooke Henderson sits third with 2,514 points, followed by Sung Hyun Park (2,088 points) and So Yeon Ryu (2,043 points).
Throughout the season’s official events, LPGA Members will battle for position, with the top 12 players after the Blue Bay LPGA heading into the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship with the opportunity to take home a $1 million bonus, the biggest prize in women’s golf.
All tournaments have the same point values except for the five major championships, which carry 25 percent more value. For all events with a cut, points are awarded to members who make the cut, while for events without a cut, points are awarded to members who finish in the top 40 and ties.
Points will be reset for the CME Group Tour Championship following the Blue Bay LPGA, with the top 72 LPGA Members, as well as any non-Member winners and alternates, seeded into the championship field. For the top five players, it’s easy – win the CME Group Tour Championship and take home $1 million. However, the top 12 in the points race all have a mathematical chance to take the title of Race to the CME Globe Champion and win the coveted check.  
In 2017, Lexi Thompson became the first American winner of the Race to the CME Globe and the accompanying $1 million prize. She joined Lydia Ko (2014, 2015) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2016) as the only players to hoist the crystal trophy.
 
Tournament: #KEBHanaBank, #LPGAKEBHanaBankChampionship
LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)
 
TV TIMES (all times Eastern)
Thursday, October 11: 1:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Friday, October 12: 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 13: 12-3 p.m.
Sunday, October 14: 12-3 p.m.

PBA TOUR RETURNS TO TULSA

Go Bowling! PBA Tour Returns to Tulsa Area
for Multi-Event FloBowling PBA Fall Swing Oct. 15-20
        Three PBA Tour titles up for grabs to be contested on PBA’s Wolf 33 and Bear 39 lane conditions
 
OWASSO, Okla. (Oct. 8, 2018) – The Go Bowling! PBA Tour will return to the Tulsa area for the first time in 13 years when The Lanes at Coffee Creek in Owasso, Okla., hosts the 2018 revival of the FloBowling PBA Fall Swing Oct. 15-20.
 
The multi-event tournament package, which will be conducted on two different PBA lane conditions, will be covered live exclusively on PBA’s online streaming service Xtra Frame on FloBowling.
 
The Fall Swing will feature three PBA Tour events – Wolf Open, Bear Open and Tulsa Open – each awarding a PBA Tour title. The Fall Swing will precede the U.S. Open – the final major championship of the season – which takes place Oct. 24-31 at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kan.
 
The Wolf Open will be conducted on PBA’s Wolf 33-foot pattern, the Bear Open on the Bear 39-foot pattern. The 18 players who advance to the Tulsa Open match play rounds will have the added challenge of competing on a mixed condition that uses the Bear condition on the left lane and Wolf condition on the right lane. The mixed Bear/Wolf oiling system also will be used for the Tulsa Open stepladder finals on Saturday, Oct. 20.
 
As the 2018 season heads down the homestretch, the Fall Swing will play a pivotal role in determining the PBA Player and Rookie of the Year award winners. Leading contenders for Player of the Year heading into the Fall Swing are four two-time PBA Tour winners this season including four-time and reigning Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia; 2016 Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Ind.;, 2018 USBC Masters champion Andrew Anderson of Holly, Mich., and Jakob Butturff of Chandler, Ariz.
 
The defending champions from the last Fall Swing held in 2016 at Thunderbowl Lanes in suburban Detroit are Tackett (Bear Open), Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Fla. (Wolf Open) and Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill. (Detroit Open).
 
The last time the PBA Tour visited the Tulsa area was in October 2005 when 18-time PBA Tour winner Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., won the Tulsa Championship at The Lanes at Coffee Creek, defeating Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, 289-248, in the title match. Both players are also entered in the Fall Swing which will feature a field of approximately 120 players representing 10 countries.
 
Of local interest will be Oklahoma players including 18-year-old two-hander Trey Ford III of Bartlesville and former touring player Mike Edwards of Tulsa. Ford made PBA history earlier this year by becoming the youngest player to win a PBA regional tournament at the age of 17.  He has competed in several other PBA national events with a best finish of 11th in the PBA Grand Hotel & Resort Open in July of 2017. Edwards owns one PBA Tour title which came in the IOF Foresters Bowling For Miracles Open in 1994.
 
Following an official practice day on Oct. 14, the FloBowling PBA Fall Swing will get underway with two Wolf Open six-game qualifying rounds on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 15-16. After 12 games, the top five will advance to the Wolf Open stepladder finals Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. CT.
 
Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 17-18, all players will bowl two more six-game qualifying rounds in the Bear Open with the top five bowling for the Bear Open title Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
 
Based on the combined 24-game qualifying totals from the Wolf and Bear events, the top 18 players will advance to Tulsa Open match play, which will consist of two six-game round robin match play rounds on Friday, Oct. 19 and the final six-game round on Saturday, Oct. 20. Based on combined total pinfall for 42 games, including match play bonus pins, the top five scorers will compete for the Tulsa Open title Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
 
Spectator admission is $10 each day including the stepladder finals on Oct. 20. Grassroots bowlers can bowl with the pros during a special practice session on Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. which will provide the opportunity to get instruction from some of the best bowlers in the world. For additional admission and Practice with the Pros entry information contact The Lanes at Coffee Creek by calling (918) 274-0400.
 
FLOBOWLING PBA FALL SWING SCHEDULE
The Lanes at Coffee Creek, Owasso, Okla. (all times are Central)
All rounds covered live on Xtra Frame on FloBowling
 
Sunday, Oct. 14
10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. – Official practice sessions
6 p.m. – Practice With the Pros
 
Monday, Oct. 15
9 a.m. – A Squad, Wolf Open, 6 qualifying games
3 p.m. – B Squad, Wolf Open, 6 qualifying games
 
Tuesday, Oct. 16
9 a.m. – B Squad, Wolf Open, 6 qualifying games
3 p.m. – A Squad, Wolf Open, 6 qualifying games
    Top five advance to stepladders finals
7:30 p.m. – Stepladder finals, live on Xtra Frame on FloBowling
 
Wednesday, Oct. 17
9 a.m. – A Squad, Bear Open, 6 qualifying games
3 p.m. – B Squad, Bear Open, 6 qualifying games
 
Thursday, Oct. 18
9 a.m. – B Squad, Bear Open, 6 qualifying games
3 p.m. – A Squad, Bear Open, 6 qualifying games
    Top five advance to stepladders finals; top 18 after 24 combined qualifying games advance to Tulsa Open finals
7:30 p.m. – Stepladder finals, live on Xtra Frame on FloBowling
 
Friday, Oct. 19
9 a.m. – Top 18, 6 games, round robin match play
3 p.m. – Top 18, 6 games, round robin match play
Bear 39 lane condition will be used on left lane and Wolf 33 used on right lane
 
Saturday, Oct. 20
9 a.m. – Top 18, 6 games, round robin match play
    Top five after 42 games advance to stepladder finals
12:30 p.m. – Stepladder finals live on Xtra Frame on FloBowling
Bear 39 lane condition will be used on left lane and Wolf 33 used on right lane for final match play round and stepladder finals
 

Monday, October 8, 2018

LIU WINS TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP


LIU WINS TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP, TOP-10 FINALIZED

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — For a third time this season Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China) found her way into the winner’s circle, only on this occasion with a 19-under par overall performance to capture the 11th annual Symetra Tour Championship at LPGA International.

Entering the final round, Liu was tied with Pavarisa Yoktuan (Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand) at 18-under par overall. The two battled all afternoon, neither yielding an inch until a bogey on the par-3 17th by Yoktuan sealed the deal for Liu.

The victory makes it back-to-back wins for the second-year professional, as she captured the IOA Golf Classic title on Sept. 30. Her third piece of hardware this season came from the Island Resort Championship in late June. 

“Last week and this week my putting has been really good and it means a lot to me to win three times,” said Liu, who finished No. 4 on Tour this year with 230 sub-par holes. “It is a really big step forward from season one to season two. It shows me that I have improved a lot and everything that I have worked for is worth it.”

In addition, Liu climbed to No. 1 in the Volvik Race for the Card thanks to the $33,750 winner’s check. That spot earns her Player of the Year honors and is the icing on the cake for a monumental season.

“It means a lot to me because after 21 tournaments, being able to be the No. 1 on course, it feels really good and gives me momentum to move forward for next year on the LPGA,” Liu said. “For next year it helps knowing that I can do it here, so now make sure I can do it there.”

Meanwhile, an even par 72 today left Yoktuan one shot short of forcing a playoff in shooting for her first Symetra Tour victory. Three birdies helped Yoktuan tame the windy conditions, but three matching bogeys proved to be her downfall.

Nonetheless, she secures a LPGA Tour card for 2019 with a solo second finish in the Sunshine State. 

“I wish I could have done better than this, but today was really hard, the greens were tough and it was very windy,” said Yoktuan, who ended the year No. 3 on Tour in scoring average at 70.208. “I did my best and Ruixin played so good, making a lot of putts. Even tough I finished runner-up I get my card. That’s the best part, so I’m really glad I can go next year.”

VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD STANDINGS
Following the 21st and final tournament of the 2018 Symetra Tour season, the Volvik Race for the Card top-10 is finalized and 10 players have earned a full LPGA Tour card for 2019. 

The victory and $33,750 winner’s check launched Ruixin Liu into the No. 1 position with $124,839 earned. She was one of three players in the top-10 that competed in all 21 events, joined by Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland) and Charlotte Thomas (Guildford, England).

Below is a look at the 10 individuals that secured full LPGA membership for next season with their finish in the top-10. 
  1. Ruixin Liu - $124,839
  2. Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) - $97,822
  3. Pavarisa Yoktuan - $80,313
  4. Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois) - $76,612
  5. Linnea Ström (Hovas, Sweden) - $70,685
  6. Stephanie Meadow - $70,617
  7. Kendall Dye (Edmond, Oklahoma) - $63,579
  8. Charlotte Thomas - $60,952
  9. Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) - $60,386
  10. Dana Finkelstein (Chandler, Arizona) - $60,168

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

ALLEN & MIKA ELECTED TO HALL OF FAME

PBA Champions Patrick Allen, Mika Koivuniemi Elected to Hall of Fame
Veteran bowling journalist Bob Johnson, Indianapolis tournament host Jim Doty also to be honored
 
CHICAGO (Oct. 1, 2018) – Professional Bowlers Association champions Patrick Allen of South Salem, N.Y., and Mika Koivuniemi of Finland have been elected to the PBA Hall of Fame along with veteran bowling journalist Bob Johnson of Las Vegas and long-time Indianapolis tournament host Jim Doty, PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark announced today.
 
The 2019 PBA Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be held on Saturday, Jan. 5, at the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas, as part of the PBA Hall of Fame Classic tournament that will be contested at the International Research and Training Center Jan. 2-6. The finals of the first tournament on the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season will be televised live on FS1 on Sunday, Jan. 6, at 11 a.m. EST.
 
Allen, a 13-time PBA Tour title winner, and Koivuniemi, one of the most successful international players in PBA history, were elected by an elite panel of veteran bowling writers, industry leaders and PBA Hall of Famers in the Superior Performance category.
 
Allen won PBA’s 2004-05 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year after becoming the second player in PBA history to finish among the top five in all four PBA majors during the same season – finishing second in the USBC Masters and U.S. Open, fifth in the PBA Tournament of Champions and winning the PBA World Championship.
 
“I don’t know exactly how I feel yet,” Allen said. “People are always saying you’re a lock (for hall of fame election), but you don’t know until it happens. I’m just happy I finally got there. I’m going to embrace it, and now I’ll have to figure out a speech.
 
“It was a helluva ride,” the 48-year-old left-hander said. “It just went faster than I would have liked. You blink your eyes and wonder, where did it go? But the time comes for every professional athlete, and the results show that. Your mind says you can do it, but your body won’t respond. You have to know when to say when.”
 
Koivuniemi, who now resides in the United Arab Emirates where he is coaching the UAE national bowling team, is a 14-time PBA Tour champion who earned his nickname – Major Mika – after winning two majors before he won his first “standard” PBA Tour title. In his first PBA television appearance, Koivuniemi defeated PBA star Pete Weber by a pin to win the 2000 USBC Masters. A year later he won the U.S. Open, and he claimed the crown jewel of his PBA career in 2011, when he won the $250,000 first prize in the $1 million PBA Tournament of Champions.
 
“I’m having a really good day,” the 51-year-old Koivuniemi said. “It was a really great call (from Tom Clark).
 
“I was 32 when I joined the PBA, but I had my experience around the world before I joined. But back then bowling on tour was something you needed to learn about. To bowl every week and to realize how good the players really were was different. Even when you had a good week, making the top 24 or a (TV) show was really hard. I knew I had to get better.
 
“It’s amazing how fast time goes,” he added. “I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since I bowled on tour for the last time. But being in the hall of fame now is a great, great honor.”
 
Johnson, who began his journey into bowling  journalism at age 15, is the only person in the bowling family to serve as editor of four national bowling magazines, winning 75 national writing awards for his news, feature and editorial compositions, many of which directly involved the PBA. Currently Senior Editor of Bowlers Journal International and editor of the BJI Cyber Report, he is a recipient of both the International Bowling Media Association’s Luby Hall of Fame Award and the Mid-America Bowling Writers Golden Quill Award.
 
“I have been blessed to be able to cover bowling competition at the highest level, to see the best players bowl in the most pressure-packaged situations, and to be able to talk to them and write about them is a privilege I’ve never taken lightly,” Johnson said. “To be honored for the work I’ve done is really something I don’t have the words to describe. If I was talking about someone else, I could describe, but myself? Well, that’s difficult.”
 
Doty, who has served as general manager of Indianapolis’ Royal Pin Leisure Centers chain since 1996, has served as host for every major championship tournament conducted by the PBA at least once over the past two-plus decades. The 1971 Indiana University graduate joined the Royal Pin group in 1978, working under Royal Pin founder and 2018 PBA Hall of Fame inductee Don Mitchell as marketing manager until his promotion to general manager.
 
“It’s a nice way to start your week,” said Doty of his congratulatory call from Clark. “It was a surprise. I wasn’t thinking about it, actually. I don’t think you do what you do with the hopes of someday being put into the hall of fame, but it’s always nice to be recognized for what you do.
 
“It’s not only me; it’s having a great staff of people who make these things happen,” Doty added. “It’s a continuing process. At Woodland Bowl, we have endeared ourselves to the PBA over the years. The bowling industry is changing, but traditions need to be retained and honored, and that’s what we try to do.”
 
Additional career details for the four inductees are included below.
 
The 2019 PBA Hall of Fame ceremonies will be live streamed by PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling. Tickets for the event will be available online in the future (https://www.pba.com/Tickets).
 
PATRICK ALLEN CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Patrick Allen, affectionately known as “P.A.” among his peers, had 40 top-five finishes in the 300 PBA Tour events he entered, cashing in 214 of them and averaging at a 218.9 pace for more than 6,300 games. He finished in the top 10 in PBA earnings six times, and won the 2005 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Award after earning $350,740 – the second highest total in PBA history (behind only Walter Ray Williams Jr.’s $419,700 for the 2002-03 season.
 
Allen won his first PBA Tour title in the 2001 Greater Detroit Open, and has two majors in the 2005 PBA World Championship and the 2009 PBA Tournament of Champions. The 2004-05 season was especially memorable because he became the second PBA player ever to place in the top five in all four majors in a single season (second in the USBC Masters, 2nd in the U.S. Open, first in the PBA World Championship and fifth in the PBA Tournament of Champions.
 
As a full-time competitor, the New York native also won 30 PBA Regional titles including posting victories in the PBA’s East, South, Central, Southwest and West Regions. He has earned $1,539,260 during his career.
 
MIKA KOIVUNIEMI CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Mika Koivuniemi, who didn’t join the PBA until he was 32, quickly earned the nickname “Major Mika” after winning the 2000 USBC Masters and 2001 U.S. Open before winning his first “standard” PBA Tour title in 2003. His most memorable feat might have been his historic 299-100 victory over Tom Daugherty in the semifinal match of the 2011 PBA Tournament of Champions, followed by a victory over Tom Smallwood in the title match of the $1 million event, winning the richest first prize in PBA history ($250,000).
 
Despite his reasonably-late start in PBA Tour competition, the native of Finland bowled in 405 PBA Tour events and finished in the top five 45 times on his way to $1,851,503 in career earnings. He finished in the top 10 in earnings eight times, averaged 219.21 for 6,774 games and won the Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Award in 2004 and 2011.
 
A member of the World Bowling Writers and Finland Bowling Halls of Fame, Koivuniemi has won titles and bowled 300 games in 21 different countries. He bowled the 17th nationally-televised PBA 300 game during the finals of the 2003 Cambridge Credit Classic – the first standard PBA Tour event he won. He is the only foreign-born player to win both the USBC Masters and the U.S. Open, and he was the first European bowler to win the Japan Cup.
 
In his second year as a PBA50 Tour competitor, he added another major – the 2018 Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open.
 
BOB JOHNSON CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Bob Johnson started working for the Pacific Bowler when he was 15 years old, and he’s still writing about bowling 45 years later. He is the only person to have served as Editor of the American Bowling Congress’ Bowling Magazine, International Bowling Industry, Bowlers Journal International, and Bowling Center Management.
 
During his tenure at Bowlers Journal, he produced BJI’s historic 300-page 100th Anniversary Issue and he wrote several key chapters in the PBA’s “50 Greatest” book published by Luby Publishing.
 
Through the years, Johnson has covered every PBA major tournament among other important events and has interviewed dozens of PBA players. He has written countless editorials and columns suggesting ideas or changes for the betterment of the PBA and the enrichment of its players. He has delved into some of the PBA’s most sensitive moments, including Scott Norton’s decision to “come out” as a gay bowler, how Ryan Shafer dealt with his wife’s suicide, and Mark Baker’s battle with addiction.
 
JIM DOTY CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Jim Doty is general manager of Royal Pin Leisure centers, the Indianapolis chain that includes long-time PBA host Woodland Bowl, Western Bowl, Expo Bowl and Southern Bowl. Doty, who graduated from Indiana University in 1971 with a business degree, worked at Nora Bowl while attending high school and college. He joined the Royal Pin group in 1978, serving as general manager of 421 Bowl and Woodland Bowl while also serving as marketing director for the chain. He was promoted to general manager of all Royal Pin centers in 1996.
 
Under Doty’s leadership, Royal Pin Leisure Centers has hosted PBA events over a span of 20 years, including the U.S. Open, PBA Touring Players Championship, USBC Masters, PBA World Championship, PBA Tournament of Champions and PBA League Elias Cup finals among other events. Woodland Bowl is the only center to host all five PBA major Championships.
 
The Royal Pin group also has hosted the USBC Junior Gold Championships a record five times, the 1999 USBC Women’s Championships and Queens. Nearly 20 local high school teams call one of Royal Pin’s centers home. Doty also is a past president and currently a director with the Central Indiana Bowling Centers Association. He served multiple terms as a BPAA board member, serving on BPAA’s marketing committee.