Rash leads 2011-12 PBA Tour stats

 PBA Communications

Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., on the basis of a record-setting performance during the PBA World Series of Bowling, has raced into a commanding lead in the 2011-12 PBA Tour competition points race, a statistical category with significant implications as the season progresses.

In two other key PBA statistical races, Mike Fagan of Dallas is the Tour’s average and earnings leader, thanks in part to his triumphant performance in the Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels United States Bowling Congress Masters.

Rash, who finished among the top four in all four World Series events completed thus far (PBA World Championship, Bayer Viper Open, Chameleon Open and Scorpion Open), has compiled 101,485 points in the six events he has entered, taking a lead of 12,545 points over his closest challenger, Australia’s Jason Belmonte (88,940 points). Finland’s Osku Palermaa is third with 82,180 points followed by Englishmen Dom Barrett (81,837) and Stu Williams (80,401).

While the PBA has eliminated its “exempt tour” as of this season, points status remains important because the top six as of March 12 earn two “bye” rounds in the Dick Weber PBA Playoffs, March 30-April 1 at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis, and players who rank seventh through 12th will earn first-round byes in the PBA Playoffs. The top 66 players in PBA Tour points will be eligible for the Playoffs.

In addition, the top 16 players in competition points at the conclusion of the 2011-12 PBA Tour season will receive invitations to compete in the renewal of the Japan Cup, Nov. 29-Dec. 2, in Tokyo. The 2012 Japan Cup will offer just over $285,000 in prize money, including $78,000 and a PBA Tour title to the winner.

After seven PBA Tour events, Fagan is scoring at a 236.90 per-game pace after 82 games, more than nine pins ahead of runner-up Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa. (227.83) in the high average race. Close behind O’Neill are Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y. (227.75), Rash (227.38) and P.J. Haggerty of Roseville, Calif. (227.29).

Fagan tops the earnings list with $61,250. He is followed by Palermaa, the PBA World Championship titlist ($58,850); Belmonte, the Chameleon Open winner ($53,675); Rash ($44,300) and Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y. ($33,205).