Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga struck in the 10th frame of his final game of qualifying to capture the top berth for the Professional Bowlers Association’s Viper Championship presented by PBA Bowling Challenge at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas.
The Viper Championship is the second of five PBA Tour events that compose the PBA World Series of Bowling V.
Ciminelli, who won his only PBA Tour title in the 2011 Earl Anthony Memorial, battled for the lead all day, but didn’t make the move into first place until the final frame of his 14th game. His 268 final game gave him a total of 3,244 pins – a 231.71 average – and the lead by 18 pins over Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas. England’s Stuart Williams finished third and Australia’s Jason Belmonte earned the fourth berth in Saturday’s finals with a 3,178 total, 32 pins ahead of D.J. Archer of Friendswood, Texas, who rolled the only 300 of the Viper event in the final game.
“Considering how demanding the lane conditions were, I threw a lot of strikes,” Ciminelli said. “The lanes were just downright tough, especially after the high scores we had Saturday (in the Cheetah Championship).
“The first three games today, I had the pocket, but I couldn’t knock pins over. I figured the day was going to be short, just like it was Saturday. But I changed balls and the pins started falling. It didn’t matter if I hit the pocket light, heavy, whatever. As long as I kept my feet slow and got the ball out on the lane, everything fell into place.”