Section: Sports,  Page: C2

Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Players on the Professional Bowlers Tour were briefed last week on plans for the 2010-11 season. There seems to be reason for enthusiasm.

While the dreaded "World Series of Bowling" will return in the fall, saddling viewers with a fall's worth of taped (read: stale) telecasts, there are some intriguing additions for the new year:

The 2011 Tournament of Champions will feature a $1 million purse, $250,000 of which will go to the winner. Eligibility guidelines will be opened to include winners of any national, regional, senior or women's series title.

ESPN will provide live Friday, Saturday and Sunday coverage of the PBA World Championship and the U.S. Open. Only championship rounds have been televised in the past.

The television season will be later. The ESPN schedule will have 23 original programs, but they won't begin until late November and will run through April.

Live ESPN telecasts will air in high-definition.

A new six-week "PBA Playoffs" will conclude the season. It will be an elimination series and count toward the Player of the Year selection.

"The Professional Bowlers Association has weathered the most difficult economic year for professional sports of all kinds that most of us have ever seen," PBA commissioner Fred Schreyer said in a statement, "and we are continuing to reshape the future of professional bowling by introducing new concepts that are both necessary and exciting."

We'll be the judge of that, beginning next October ... er, late November.

National news

Bill Bunetta, a PBA charter member and USBC Hall of Famer, died Sunday in Fresno, Calif. He was 90.

Local scene

Mike Lichstein of Broad Brook, Conn., defeated Mike Rose of West Henrietta 191-181 to win the eighth annual Joe Donato Scratch Singles at Redwood Lanes. Lichstein, son of former PBA touring pro Larry Lichstein, won $3,600 and Rose $1,800, meaning a majority of the purse money went to bowlers from outside the Capital Region. Read into that what you will. ... The Charley Bechard Senior Tournament at Green Island Lanes drew 75 entries. The winners: Bob Weiner of Troy (50-59), Bob Smith of Ballston Spa (60-69) and Carmen Fruscio of Troy (70-over).

This week's schedule

Bar & Tavern Tournament: Four-person team handicap (80 percent of 920). 2 p.m. Saturday (additional squad April 3) at Town 'n Country. 456-1113.

Huck Finn/NBPONY: Singles scratch. Qualifying at 7 p.m. today at Tippy Bowl; 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Ravena; 3 p.m. Saturday at Alpha; 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Saratoga Strike Zone. Entry fee $40 ($50 Sunday; $40 re-entry). Jeff Segel, 439-7628.

Pete Dougherty's column is published Tuesdays during the bowling season. Items to be considered for publication can be submitted by fax (454-5819) or e-mail (pdougherty@timesunion.com).


300 games

Bowler LANES Series

Tanner Hebert Hometown Lanes 668

David Mineau Hometown Lanes 827

Eric Stangle Saratoga Strike Zone 1,006*

Tom Yadanza Saratoga Strike Zone 998*

* -- four-game series (all others three games)