Since joining the PBA in 2008, Mike Keily has been bowling close to full time on the PBA National and Regional tours, competing primarily in the PBA Southwest Region. But it would be in the Midwest Region where Mike would take home his first PBA title. On May 10th-11th, Empire Bowl hosted the PBA Midcontinent Communications Midwest Open
Presented by DV8 in Sioux Falls, SD.
The tournament had 57 entries including USBC Masters Champion Tom Hess and it was conducted on the PBA Regional Chameleon pattern
at 43’ in length. The qualifying portion of the tournament would take place on Saturday May 10th with all bowlers rolling seven games, and then cutting to the top 12 for a round robin.
After the seven games of qualifying Mike was tied for the lead at plus 300, with those pins carrying over to the round robin format. Mike didn’t
get out to the start he would have liked to, shooting 181 and 157, losing both matches and dropping him out of the cut for the top five stepladder
finals. “They re-oiled the lanes after qualifying, which generally means they will play a bit tighter. That was the case for me and I just couldn’t make the right adjustment. But I knew in a 12-game format I would have an opportunity for a comeback.”
The comeback would start the next game when Mike fired a 265 game winning his first match, and following that up with two more wins putting him in 2nd place after five games. He would scuffle in games six and seven, losing both matches. But then the last five games he would win every match, never shooting a game lower than 233 and catapulting him to the number one seed for the televised stepladder finals on Sunday afternoon.
“I had a really great ball reaction throwing the Roto Grip Defiant Soul for all 19 games on Saturday.When the lanes started to open up late in the round robin I got very comfortable, and just kept repeating shots.”
With Mike finishing strong on Saturday he earned the opportunity to just have to bowl one game to win his first PBA Regional title, and it would be on live TV. In the championship match Mike would match up against multiple PBA Regional champ Jason Poli, who had won the regional in Sioux Falls two years prior. The oil pattern had carried down on the TV pair and Mike opted to throw a different ball than what he had qualified with the day before, his Roto Grip Deranged. Poli would run the ladder from the fifth seed to set up the championship match with Mike, and it would come down to the 10th frame. After Poli caught a bad break in the 5th frame leaving the pocket 7-10, he would run a four bagger leading up to the10th frame. But Mike would have the opportunity to finish first, and if he struck out in the 9th and 10th frames he would shoot 248, shutting
Poli out by one pin. Mike would do just that, finishing the game with a five-bagger and shutting out Poli to win his first PBA Regional Title.
“I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself to win, to prove to myself that I belong out here. The overwhelming emotion I had was relief, followed by joy over what I had just accomplished. It’s a great feeling to know all the hard work I’ve put in over the years was worth it.”
To go along with the title, Mike would pocket $2,500 for the win and also earn a PBA championship banner, which will hang in the bowling centers during PBA Regional events. “Ever since I got my PBA card I’ve wanted a banner, and now I’ve got one. I feel so grateful to everyone that helped me along the way to achieve this goal. I have a great support system of family and friends, and I couldn’t have achieved this without them. Hopefully there will be more wins, bigger wins down the road, but for now I’m going to enjoy this one.”
Story Courtesy Of: Colorado Bowler News