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Bowling News USA - January 12, 2012 Two-Handed Bedlam! Osku and Belmo Join Shafer in World Championship Final...

Three Storm Staffers on the Show...

A pair of international two-handed Storm staffers will meet a pair of title-hungry American veterans in the finals of the Professional Bowlers Association World Championship Sunday on ESPN. The first major championship of the 2011-12 PBA season will air in high-definition at 1 p.m. ET.

Finland’s Osku Palermaa and Australia’s Jason Belmonte, two-handed players of almost the same age who developed their unique styles half a world apart, will join 25-year PBA Tour veteran and fellow Storm staffer Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., and 29-year-old Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., in the battle for the $50,000 first prize and a major title all four players covet.

Palermaa, 28, won his only PBA Tour title in the GEICO Shark Championship during the 2010 PBA World Series of Bowling at South Point Casino and Hotel, host of the World Championship. Palermaa, who defeated Stuart Williams, Dom Barrett and Jack Jurek to win the Don Carter Division berth, is trying for his first major title.

Belmonte, 28, hasn’t won a title since his first PBA Tour victory in the 2009 Bowling Foundation Long Island Classic. He also is looking for his first major title after rolling a 300 game on his way to winning the Mike Aulby Division over Brian Kretzer, Josh Blanchard and Mike Fagan.

In the only previous meeting of the two-handed rivals on a PBA Tour telecast, Palermaa defeated Belmonte, 182-176, in the semifinal round of the 2010 Shark Championship.

Shafer, 45, is a four-time PBA Tour title winner who wants to end his record streak of 12 consecutive top five finishes in PBA majors without a title. Shafer eliminated Andres Gomez, Ildemaro Ruiz and Tom Smallwood in the Billy Hardwick Division.

Rash, 29, also wants to banish a personal demon. He is the only finalist who has won a major (the 2007 United States Bowling Congress Masters), but he hasn’t won a title in eight television appearances since then. Rash dominated the 40 qualifying games leading into the World Championship elimination rounds, averaging 234 on five different PBA lane conditions. As the top qualifier in the finals field, he has selected the Scorpion lane oiling pattern, the same pattern he selected for the Johnny Petraglia Division when he eliminated Pete Weber, Ryan Ciminelli and Nathan Bohr.

Along with the first title to be decided during the 2011-12 season, the winner will receive a berth in the Round of 36 for the end-of-season PBA Tournament of Champions which will be contested April 8-15 at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas.

A preview of the World Championship finals will be webcast on pba.com’s Xtra Frame beginning Wednesday, and a post-game show will be presented on Xtra Frame immediately following Sunday’s ESPN finals.


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January, 2012