Matt Sanders Wins PBA Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial Open for First PBA Title
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Matt Sanders, a 23-year-old rookie from Evansville, Ind., bowling in his third national tournament as a member, defeated Brian LeClair of Delmar, N.Y., 243-237, to win the Professional Bowlers Association’s Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial Open presented by Chris Hardwick at Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes.
Sanders, who had his best PBA finish a week ago when he lost to Craig Nidiffer of Trenton, Mich., 279-268, in the PBA Greater Marion Central Open title match in Marion, Ohio. The former two-time All-American with Marion University-Indiana earned $10,000 – enough to finance his tour activities for the rest of the 2017 season – along with his first title.
“That was my first plastic ball tournament so, so far so good,” he said with a smile. “I had an okay day in qualifying, but I think I figured the lanes out going into today and today I got locked in.
“I was extremely nervous before we started the title match, but I told myself I’ve done this a few times before, so after we got started, there was no reason to be nervous. I wanted to win.”
The loss was another disappointment for LeClair, a 33-year PBA member who has not won a PBA Tour title in 434 events. The 52-year-old has won three times since joining the PBA50 Tour in 2015, but it hurt to have this one slip through his fingers.
“This may have been my last shot at a ‘junior tour’ title,” LeClair said. “Bowling on the senior tour is the same in a lot of ways as it was earlier in my career. My life is a lot more stable, which helps, but it would be nice to have that one missing title.”
Sanders earned his trip to the title match with a 253-223 victory over fellow rookie Francois Louw of South Africa. In his previous three-game total pinfall matches, Sanders eliminated top qualifier Kris Prather of Plainfield, Ill., 707-679; rookie Zulmazran Zulkifli of Malaysia, 632-602, and Trevor Roberts of Crystal River, Fla., 683-675.
LeClair advanced to the title match with a 237-236 victory over Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, when Barnes’ rally ended with a 4 pin on his first shot in the 10th frame. In his two preliminary matches, LeClair defeated Cody Shoemaker of Hanover, Pa., 656-584, and amateur Wesley Low Jr. of Palmdale, Calif., 641-624.
PBA XTRA FRAME BILLY HARDWICK MEMORIAL OPEN
presented by Chris Hardwick
Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes, Memphis, Tenn. - June 25, 2017
Matt Sanders, Evansville, Ind. ($10,000) def. Brian LeClair, Delmar, N.Y. ($5,500), 243-237.
Semifinal Round (losers earned $2,500):
Sanders def. Francois Louw, South Africa, 253-223; LeClair def. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 237-236
Round Three (qualifiers 1-4 vs. Round Two winners; losers earned $1,350):
Sanders def. Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 707-679;Barnes def. Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 662-657;LeClair def. Cody Shoemaker, Hanover, Pa., 656-584; Louw def. Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 629-525.
Round Two (qualifiers 5-8 vs. Round One winners; losers earned $1,150):
Sanders def. Zulmazran Zulkifli, Malaysia, 632-602; Allen def. Kim Bolleby, Thailand, 714-675; LeClair def. n-Wesley Low Jr., Palmdale, Calif., 641-624; Louw def. Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 669-598.
Round One: (qualifiers 9-16, losers earned $1,000):
Sanders def. Trevor Roberts, Crystal River, Fla., 683-675; Bolleby def. Sam Cooley, Australia, 716-680; Low def. Jeff Evans, Supply, N.C., 685-596; Couch def. Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 645-634.
Other Cashers (after 12 games):
17, n-Mykel Holliman, Collierville, Tenn., 2,539, $650; 18, Isaac Kim, Lebanon, Pa., 2,534, $650; 19, AJ Chapman, Wichita, Kan., 2,522, $650; 20, n-Tommy Berish III, Cordova, Tenn., 2,492, $625; 21, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 2,478, $625; 22, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 2,473, $625; 23, Johnathan Bower, Middletown, Pa., 2,469, $600;24, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 2,432, $600.