Blanchard earns more rookie honors

PBA Communications

Josh Blanchard made it three PBA Rookie of the Year honors for the 2011-12 season adding West and Northwest Region awards Thursday after being named PBA Tour Rookie of the Year last week. Blanchard’s awards were part of the PBA’s announcement of regular and senior regional awards for the 2011-12 season.

Blanchard, of Gilbert, Ariz., had one win in each region while cashing and making match play in all five events he entered.

“For me, it’s probably the best place to get ready for Tour events,” Blanchard said of bowling regionals. “You’re able to experience a variety of tough patterns and that experience helps makes it easier to get matched up with the conditions on tour.

“As a non-member, I just bowled the one or two I was able to bowl but as a member, I’m incorporating more regionals into my bowling schedule.”

Other West and Northwest honors went to 2003 USBC Masters champion Bryon Smith of Roseburg, Ore., earning his second consecutive Northwest Player of the Year honor with the help of two titles. In the West region he won three titles to help him win his first POY honor in that region. Noel Vazquez of Sacramento, Calif., won his first Senior Bowler of the Year in both the West and Northwest regions with three wins in the Northwest and two in the West. Darryle Okamoto was the Pat Patterson award winner in both regions which recognizes meritorious service to PBA’s regional program.

In the Central Region, Mason Brantley of Detroit earned his first Player of the Year honor. While not winning an event he had eight top-five finishes that included two seconds, four thirds, a fourth and a fifth-place finish. PBA Senior Tour veteran Kenny Parks of Hammond, Ind., was a dual winner taking Midwest and Central Region Senior Player of the Year honors. With five Central Region wins and four in the Midwest, he earned his second consecutive Central Region honor and first in the Midwest.

Also in the Midwest Region, Jason Wojnar of Chicago won his second Player of the Year honor with five top-five finishes including one win. Earning Pat Patterson Award honors in the Central Division was Brett Spangler and Frank Miceli in the Midwest. Neither region awarded a Rookie of the Year for 2011-12.

In the East Region, John Furey of Freehold, N.J., won his first Player of the Year award with four top-five finishes, including one title. Earning Rookie of the Year honors was Adam Chase of Seaford, N.Y., who had a best finish of fourth, six cashes and four match play appearances in eight tournaments. Another Senior Tour veteran, Sammy Ventura of Syracuse, N.Y., was the East’s Senior Player of the Year making the most of the five tournaments he entered with two wins and one second-place finish. Winning the East’s Pat Patterson award was four-time PBA Tour champion and 2008-09 Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award winner Ryan Shafer.

In the Southwest, Sean Swanson of Wichita, Kan., earned his second Player of the Year honor thanks to three top-five finishes including two wins. Chad Newman of Richardson, Texas, earned Southwest Rookie of the Year with a best finish of 10th, cashing in six of 10 tournaments and making match play four times. Receiving the Pat Patterson award was Chris Hibbitts.

In the South Region, Scott Newell of Deland, Fla., who won his first PBA Tour title in 2011-12 by capturing the Ricart Ford Open, earned his first Player of the Year honor thanks to seven top-five finishes in 10 tournaments which included one win. Connor Pickford of Charlotte was Rookie of the Year with a best finish of fifth, eight cashes and four match play appearances in 14 tournaments. PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker of King, N.C., earned his second Senior Player of the Year honor with five top-five finishes and one win in seven tournaments. The South’s Pat Patterson award winner was Hall of Famer George Pappas.

Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards are voted on by the regional managers and John Weber, Director of the Senior and Regional Tours. The Pat Patterson Awards, recognizing individual contributions to the regional program, selected by the respective regional managers. In all 165 regular and senior regionals were conducted during the season.