A tough stretch for PBA50 Tour bowlers continues next week as their endurance will be tested in the 2019 Suncoast PBA Senior U.S. Open.
The event kicks off Monday with the first round of qualifying and wraps up Friday with the stepladder finals at Suncoast in Las Vegas. All rounds will be broadcast live exclusively on FloBowling.
Here are a few key points to get you ready for the Senior U.S. Open:
Major Mika Back To Defend
It’s not often we see Mika Koivuniemi compete on the professional level anymore. The 52-year-old said knee problems keep him from competing as much as he used to.
That said, however, Koivuniemi will be back again this year to defend the title he won at the 2018 PBA Senior U.S. Open, which also took place at Suncoast.
The Finnish native, who has the nickname Major Mika for his reputation of stepping up in major events, defeated Brian Kretzer, 259-237, to win the title last year.
The other players who made the show were Brian Voss (third), Parker Bohn III (fourth) and Ryan Shafer (fifth) last year.
In a FloBowling podcast interview with Tim Burg , Koivuniemi said winning last year was a big surprise.
“Nowadays I only bowl a few tournaments a year,” Koivuniemi said. “I know most of the great players on the PBA50 Tour they bowl a lot of tournaments a year, and I know a lot of them are still full-time bowlers. So, it was a surprise for me.”
No rest for the weary
Nearly all of the players who will compete in the Senior U.S. Open are also competing in the USBC Senior Masters, which is currently underway at Sam’s Town in Las Vegas.
In fact, the stepladder finals for the Senior Masters are the same day as the practice session for the Senior U.S. Open, leaving virtually no time for a break for the world’s best senior bowlers.
The Senior Masters and Senior U.S. Open represent the most important stretch of the PBA50 Tour as both events are majors. The only other major this season was held back in April when the PBA50 National Championship took place.
The two Las Vegas majors also offer the biggest paydays on the PBA50 Tour with the Senior Masters paying $20,000 for first and the Senior U.S. Open paying $15,000.
The format and lane conditions
The Senior U.S. Open follows a very simple format that is heavy on qualifying starting Monday.
Four of the five days of competition are qualifying with four six-game rounds. There are two squads each day and after 24 games of qualifying, the top 25 percent of the field will make the cut into match play.
After qualifying on Monday through Thursday, match play gets underway Friday morning at 8 a.m. Pacific with two six-game rounds of modified round robin action.
When 36 games have been completed, the top five players will advance into the stepladder finals, scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Pacific on Friday.
According to the PBA’s website, the pattern being used is the PBA Marshall Holman lane condition. The pattern is 41 feet in length with a total volume of oil of 30.91 mL. The ratio is 2.49:1.
How to watch
The only place to watch the PBA Senior U.S. Open is live on FloBowling. Every round of the event from qualifying through the stepladder finals will be broadcast live with archives available shortly after each round ends.
What the schedule looks like
Here’s the schedule for this event, all times listed are Pacific:
Monday, June 10
9 a.m. – Qualifying Round 1, Squad A (six games)
1:30 p.m. – Qualifying Round 1, Squad B (six games)
Tuesday, June 11
9 a.m. – Qualifying Round 2, Squad B (six games)
1:30 p.m. – Qualifying Round 2, Squad A (six games)
Wednesday, June 12
9 a.m. – Qualifying Round 3, Squad A (six games)
1:30 p.m. – Qualifying Round 3, Squad B (six games)
Thursday, June 13
9 a.m. – Qualifying Round 4, Squad B (six games)
1:30 p.m. – Qualifying Round 4, Squad A (six games)
Friday, June 14
8 a.m. – Match Play Round 1 (six games)
12:15 p.m. – Match Play Round 2 (six games)
4:15 p.m. – Stepladder Finals (top five)