Hornell, N.Y. – Roto Grip Staffer Brian LeClair of Albany, N.Y., defeated Rick Graham of Lancaster, Pa., 222-169, to win the Professional Bowlers Association East Regional Players Invitational presented by Maple City Dodge Sunday, concluding two days of live Xtra Frame coverage from Maple City Bowl.
LeClair, 48, earned $6,000, a paid entry into the PBA World Series of Bowling V in Las Vegas in late October and a berth in a new PBA RPI Finals which will be televised on ESPN. The regional title was LeClair’s 15th.
“This is the biggest win I’ve ever had,” LeClair said. “I’ve never won anything that is this special. It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve last bowled on television and I never thought I’d be bowling on ESPN again.
“I’ve won at least one title in each of the past five years,” he added, “but when you are 48 years old, you never know if you’re going to ever win again. I like bowling on tougher conditions and I love it when I get a chance to bowl on wood lanes.”
LeClair defeated Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y. in the semifinal round, 215-203, by throwing the first strike in the 10th frame.
LeClair had already entered this year’s PBA World Series of Bowling V and admitted this would probably be his last time at the World Series, “but if I do well, you never know.”
The East Region RPI was the fifth in a series of six PBA Regional championship events. The combined PBA West/Northwest Regions will host their RPI event at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. the weekend of Oct. 18-20. Each RPI winner will advance to the PBA RPI Finals that will be taped for delayed airing on ESPN as part of the World Series of Bowling V at South Point Casino, Hotel and Bowling Center, Oct. 26-Nov. 3.
Each RPI is open to 48 players who have qualified through a season-long points competition in their respective regions, and each RPI is being covered live from start to finish on PBA’s exclusive bowling channel, Xtra Frame. Visit pba.com for Xtra Frame subscription information.
PBA EAST REGION PLAYERS INVITATIONAL
presented by Maple City Dodge
Maple City Bowl, Hornell, N.Y., Sept. 22
Brian LeClair, Albany, N.Y. ($6,000) def. Rick Graham, Lancaster, Pa., ($3,500), 222-169.
Semifinal Round (losers earned $1,600):
LeClair def. Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 215-203.
Graham def. Adam Chase, West Babylon, N.Y., 195-151.
Round of 8 (best of five games, losers eliminated and earned $1,050 each):
LeClair def. Robert Mockenhaupt, Rutherford, N.J., 3-2.
Graham def. Joe Paluszek, Bensalem, Pa., 3-0.
Chase def. Ray Edwards, Middle Island, N.Y., 3-2.
Ciminelli def. Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla., 3-0.
Round of 12 (best of five games, losers eliminated and earned $850 each):
LeClair def. Tommy Dakouvanos, Belford, N.J., 3-1.
Graham def. Tommy Gollick, Oberlin, Pa., 3-0.
Allen def. Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3-0.
Edwards def. Jeff Voght, Canajoharie, N.Y., 3-0.
Round of 16 (best of five games, losers eliminated and earned $750 each):
Graham def. Rusty Thomsen, Morgan, N.J., 3-2.
LeClair def. Jason Stadtler, Cherry Hill, N.J., 3-1.
Edwards def. Steve Haas, Enola, Pa., 3-0.
Shafer def. Johnathan Bower, Middletown, Pa., 3-0.