Duke Overcomes Adversity, Earns Top Qualifier Honors At Players

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – PBA Hall Of Famer Norm Duke overcame adversity to top the field of 92 bowlers after 18 games of qualifying at the PBA Players Championship at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl on Wednesday.

Duke, who withdrew from the PBA Hall of Fame Classic with an upper left thigh injury last month, battled through a neck injury Wednesday to be the top qualifier with an 18-game total of 4,245 (+645), a 235.83 average.

The 55-year-old who is a 40-time PBA Tour champion grinded out a six-game block of 1,434 in the final round of qualifying, shooting games of 265, 257, 212, 206, 236 and 258.

RESULTS: PBA Players Championship Qualifying Round 3

“I got out of the gate really strong,” Duke said. “Then in Game 3, I slipped on the approach and pinched my neck. It was a couple of games of misery, but I held in check to finish well.”

The Players Championship is the only major Duke has never won, which makes this week even more important to him. Should he win this week, he would join Mike Aulby as the only players to win every major at least once.

The final game of qualifying was a head-to-head match for the top spot between Duke and 11-time major champion Jason Belmonte with Duke having a one-pin advantage. A large crowd grew around the pair as Duke finished with 258 and Belmonte closed with 232.

Belmonte led qualifying after the first two rounds Tuesday and continued his quest to a potential 12th major championship. He finished qualifying second with 4,218 (+618).

Marshall Kent kept the momentum going into Wednesday to qualify third with 4,206 (+606). A 297 in his final game gave him a boost after a slow start to the third round.

Tom Daugherty finished in fourth with 4,177 (+577) followed by 13-time PBA champion EJ Tackett in fifth with 4,140 (+540). Rounding out the top 10 after qualifying were Nike Pate, Kris Prather, Bill O’Neill, Francois Lavoie and Ronnie Russell.

Also advancing into match play was Martin Larsen, Darren Tang, Thomas Larsen, Shawn Maldonado, BJ Moore, Zach Wilkins, Tom Smallwood, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Ildemaro Ruiz, Nick Kruml, Greg Ostrander, Stu Williams, Brad Miller and AJ Johnson.

The remaining 24 players will bowl 24 games of round robin match play with the first of three eight-game blocks getting underway at 6 p.m. Eastern today live on FloBowling.

PBA Announces Title Sponsor, Return Of $1 Million 300 Bonus For 2021

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The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) announced today that Guaranteed Rate, one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the country, has signed on as the title sponsor of the 2021 PBA Tour season when it returns to FOX Sports on Sunday, Jan. 24.

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A Year Of Change: Anthony Simonsen Gets A Job, A Puppy And Loses Weight

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For many, 2020 was a year to forget, but for Anthony Simonsen, it was a year filled with possibility and change.

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Finalists For Regional Stepladders Set At 2021 PBA Players Championship

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The field at the 2021 PBA Players Championship has been narrowed to the top five players in each region and left standing are 14 PBA champions and 11 players looking for their first title.

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Qualifying Reaches Halfway Point At 2021 PBA Players Championship

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At the halfway point of qualifying at the 2021 PBA Players Championship, there are relative unknown players looking to make their first show ranging all the way to PBA Hall of Famers in contention to advance.

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PBA Announces Schedule For Every Major Event In 2021

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Just a day before the start of the 2021 PBA Players Championship, the PBA has revealed its plans for the upcoming months, which includes every major being held between now and April 11.

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Top-Ranked Bowlers In Each Region For 2021 PBA Players Championship

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When the 2021 PBA Players Championship gets underway this weekend, the best bowlers in the world will be scattered across five different regions.

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2021 Preseason PBA Power Rankings: No. 1 Jason Belmonte

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Career Titles: 25 (13 majors)Age: 372020 Earnings: $293,050 (rank: 1)2020 Points: 30,295 (rank: 1)2020 Peak Ranking: 12020 Low Ranking: 3

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2021 Preseason PBA Power Rankings: No. 2 Bill O'Neill

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Career Titles: 13 (2 majors)Age: 392020 Earnings: $272,285 (rank: 2)2020 Points: 20,387.5 (rank: 2)2020 Peak Ranking: 12020 Low Ranking: 10

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2021 Preseason PBA Power Rankings: No. 3 Anthony Simonsen

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Career Titles: 7 (2 majors)Age: 232020 Earnings: $227,130 (rank: 3)2020 Points: 19,795 (rank: 4)2020 Peak Ranking: 32020 Low Ranking: 8

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2021 Preseason PBA Power Rankings: No. 4 Kris Prather

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Career Titles: 3Age: 282020 Earnings: $223,285 (rank: 4)2020 Points: 19,470 (rank: 5)2020 Peak Ranking: 12020 Low Ranking: 16

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