Fagan nearly perfect in Euro Challenge win

PBA Communications

Mike Fagan of Dallas continued his career-year Sunday, winning his second Professional Bowlers Association Tour title of the 2011-12 season when he cruised past Finland’s Joonas Jehkinen, 279-213, to win the Brunswick Euro Challenge at Plaza Bowl in suburban Paris.

The 31-year-old 10-year PBA Tour veteran started the title match with nine strikes before losing his bid for a perfect game when he left a 10 pin on his first shot in the 10th frame.

The title was the second of seven PBA Tour titles that will be awarded at international events under a new alliance with the World Tenpin Bowling Association. The Brunswick Euro Challenge included a field of 399 competitors – 318 men and 81 women – from 35 countries.

Fagan, who won the Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels United States Bowling Congress Masters in January and finished second in the U.S. Open in February, earned 15,000 Euros (US$19,998) along with his fourth career PBA Tour title. Fagan also earned a European Bowling Tour title. He previously had qualified for the PBA Tournament of Champions Round of 36 based on his USBC Masters victory.

Fagan advanced to the title match by eliminating Finnish native Mika Koivuniemi of Hartland, Mich., 222-199, in the semifinal match.

With his victory, Fagan joins Australia’s Jason Belmonte, Finland’s Osku Palermaa and Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., as the fourth PBA Tour two-time winners for the 2011-12 season. There are four titles yet to be decided in the 2011-12 PBA Player of the Year race, including the end-of-season PBA Tournament of Champions.

PBA Tour competition resumes in the United States Saturday and Sunday with the Xtra Frame Tour Dick Weber PBA Playoffs presented by Hammer at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. All qualifying and elimination rounds in the PBA Playoffs will be webcast live, exclusively on the PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame. For subscription information, visit pba.com.

Plaza Saint Maximin, Saint Maximin, France, March 25

Final Standings:
1, Mike Fagan, Dallas, 501 (2 games), $19,998.
2, Joonas Jehkinen, Finland, 193 (1 game), $9,994.
3, Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich., 199 (1 game), $6,663.

Stepladder Results:
Semifinal Match: Fagan def. Koivuniemi, 222-199.
Championship: Fagan def. Jehkinen, 279-193.

Final Match Play Standings (after 13 games, including match play bonus pins, each non-finalist earned $2,665):
1, Jehkinen, 5-2, 3,201.
2, Koivuniemi, 4-3, 3,119.
3, Fagan, 4-3, 3,094.
4, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3-4, 3,072.
5, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 2-5, 3,058.
6, Stuart Williams, England, 4-3, 3,010.
7, Dennis Eklund, Sweden, 4-3, 2,979.
8, John Wells, England, 2-5, 2,893.

Round Two Cashers (after 6 games, each earned $1,998):
9, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 1,345, $1,998.
10, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 1,344, $1,998.
11, Adrian Ang, Malaysia, 1,336, $1,998.
12, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,330, $1,998.
13, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla., 1,308, $1,998.
14, Dan MacLelland, Canada, 1,293, $1,998.
15 (tie), Dominic Barrett, England, and Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,288, $1,998.
17, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Keller, Texas, 1,281, $1,998.
18, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,268, $1,998.
19, Anders Lousdal, Denmark, 1,241, $1,998.
20, Mike Quarry, England, 1,237, $1,998.
21, Michael Holzapfel, Germany, 1,224, $1,998.
22, Jesper Agerbo, Denmark, 1,223, $1,998.
23, Raymond Teece, England, 1,219, $1,998.
24, Josh Blanchard, Gilbert, Ariz., 1,218, $1,998.
25, Birgit Pöppler, Germany, 1,214, $1,998.
26, Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas, 1,202, $1,998.
27, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,192, $1,998.
28, Mathias Sarmadi, France, 1,126, $1,998.

Other PBA Tour Cashers (each earned $1,332):
37, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y.
40, Nathan Bohr, Wichita, Kan.
44, Parker Bohn III, Freehold, N.J.
47, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela.
52, Jake Peters, Decatur, Ill.