Bill O'Neill slows Brian Valenta express to win PBA Badger Open


    2014 PBA Tour #5

    Pennsylvania veteran throws clutch double in 10th frame to win fifth PBA Tour title

    2014PBA05BillONeill.jpg2014PBA05BrianValenta.jpgBill O'Neill (pictured left) of Langhorne, Pa., derailed Brian Valenta's (right) hopes for a first title, throwing two strikes in the 10th frame to edge Valenta, 243-235, in the Professional Bowlers Association Tour Badger Open championship match.

    The finals of the third of five Oklahoma's Grand Casino Resort PBA Summer Swing events was contested May 24 at Oklahoma's Grand Casino Resort Events Center in Shawnee, Okla., for tape-delay broadcast on June 17 on CBS Sports Network.

    Along with his fifth career PBA Tour title – and first since the 2012 Cheetah Championship – O'Neill earned $10,000 and a berth in Oklahoma's Grand Casino Resort King of the Swing, a special event that will conclude the Summer Swing.

    2014PBA05BrianValenta2.jpgWhile Valenta, a two-handed, high-revolution player, played a severe inside line, lofting the ball 10 feet or more down the lane, O'Neill moved to the right side of the lane and played a much straighter shot to the pocket.

    "I knew I couldn't play (as far inside as Valenta was playing)," O'Neill said. "Mika (Koivuniemi) couldn't do it, Marshall (Kent) couldn't do it and Pete (Weber) couldn't do it. If Pete can't play inside, I have no business being there, so I told myself two hours ago, in practice, I'm going to stay right here and make it work.

    2014PBA05BillONeill2.jpg"It was one of those days when everything worked out, and when I got up in the 10th, I really wasn't nervous. I knew what I had to do. Whatever (Valenta) did, it didn't matter. I knew I was going to get up there and double, and that's what I did.

    "It felt great to do so. It's been a while since I've been in that position. I couldn't be happier."

    Valenta was obviously disappointed about falling short of his first title, but the 29-year-old seventh-year pro was pleased about winning three matches in his first PBA Tour television appearance.

    2014PBA05MikaKoivuniemi2.jpg"My 'A' game is lofting, and I did pretty well today," Valenta said. "I only made two bad shots. I knew if other guys played to the right of me, they had to go straight. If they moved left to where I was, then it was playing my game against yours and we'll see who wins. I wanted them to come my way because I figured my rev rate would be the equalizer.

    "I had a great time," he added. "I got a little intense, but I didn't go crazy."

    2014PBA05MarshallKent.jpgIn his first match, Valenta threw strikes on his first five shots and filled the final five frames in cruising to a 237-172 win over Mika Koivuniemi (left), a 13-time PBA Tour winner from Hartland, Mich.

    With the oil burning out in the front part of the lane, Valenta began lofting the ball past the arrows and continued striking in an easy 236-165 win over Marshall Kent2014PBA05PeteWeber.jpg, a PBA rookie from Yakima, Wash., who didn't strike until the eighth frame.

    Valenta moved even farther left and lofted the ball farther down the lane, putting together one string of three strikes in a cat-and-mouse battle with Pete Weber (left), a PBA Hall of Famer and 37-time titlist, in the semifinal match.

    Weber trailed by four pins after eight frames, but missed a 7 pin spare attempt in the ninth to let Valenta escape with a 204-190 decision.

    The title match was a frame-to-frame battle all the way to the 10th where Valenta doubled to force O'Neill to duplicate his feat for the win.

    The complete telecast of each PBA Summer Swing event will be archived on Xtra Frame seven days after the original air date.


    PBA Badger Open - Stepladder Finals

    Qualifying at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., United States (May 21, 2014); Finals at Grand Casino Resort Events Center (May 24, 2014)




    Championship Round:
    1. Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 243 (1 game), $10,000
    2. Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., 912 (4 games), $5,000
    3. Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 190 (1 game), $4,000
    4. Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 165 (1 game), $3,500
    5. Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 172 (1 game), $3,000

    Playoff Results:
    First Match: No. 4 Valenta def. No. 5 Koivuniemi, 237-172
    Second Match: Valenta def. No. 3 Kent, 236-165
    Third Match: Valenta def. No. 2 Weber, 204-190
    Championship: No. 1 O'Neill def. Valenta, 243-235.