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Bill O'Neill Wins PBA King of the Swing And Oklahoma Open 7/31/2015

SHAWNEE, Okla. - In what could be considered the all-star event of the 2015 Oklahoma's Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Summer Swing, Bill O'Neill of Langhorne, Pa., beat Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., 191-164, to successfully defend his Oklahoma's Grand Casino Resort King of the Swing title at the Grand Event Center.

The concluding event of the Summer Swing, provided a unique challenge, requiring the finalists to compete on a dramatically different lane condition on each lane. The special two-lane arena installation in the Grand Event Center featured the 32-foot Wolf lane condition on the left lane and the 52-foot Badger lane condition on the right lane, putting a premium on adjustments, shot-making and equipment selections for the players.

"I enjoy dueling lane conditions," said O'Neill, "You have to use all the tricks in the bag. In this case it turned out to be a grind out, but I enjoyed the test."

In winning last year's King of the Swing, O'Neill defeated Sean Rash, 254-181, for the title.

"The trophies will make good bookends," said O'Neill, "I might have let a couple opportunities get away from me this year but in the end I can go to sleep happy after winning the Oklahoma Open and the King of the Swing."

Leading up to the title match, two-time defending PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia defeated Wolf Open winner Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C., 201-182, in a battle between a pair of two-handers to start the finals. Belmonte, who earned the wild card spot in the King of the Swing as the top point-getter in the Summer Swing without a title, then lost to Badger Open winner Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., in the second match, 233-211. Jones, the Bear Open winner, then defeated Russell, 208-178, to meet O'Neill in the title match.

In the culmination of one of the biggest tests of versatility on the PBA Tour, Bill O'Neill of Langhorne, Pa., took command early in the championship match and never looked back to win the PBA Oklahoma Open, the most prestigious event of the Oklahoma's Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Summer Swing.

O'Neill won his sixth career PBA Tour title by defeating two-time defending PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia, 247-172, in the title match.

"I need to bowl angry, like Pete Weber," said O'Neill. "Over my career I've let some matches get away because I probably haven't bowled aggressive enough. I told Jason he wasn't going to beat me tonight."

O'Neill had a very productive Summer Swing to this point, qualifying for the stepladder finals in two Summer Swing events and finishing third in both the Wolf and Bear Opens. But he admitted he might have let a win or two slip away in those events.

"I was confident going into those shows," O'Neill said, "but it upset me that I basically gave them away. I felt I could have won both of them. To be so close you just don't want to give opportunities like those away."

O'Neill, who has had success in previous Summer Swings, won the Badger Open and King of the Swing last year in addition to finishing third in the 2014 Bear Open, eighth in the Wolf Open and fourth in the Oklahoma Open.

As the top qualifier for the Oklahoma Open by virtue of aggregate pinfall from first-round qualifying in the Wolf, Bear and Badger Opens, O'Neill earned the right to select the lane condition for the Oklahoma Open finals. He picked the 40-foot Bear lane condition which he quickly pointed out is not necessarily his favorite condition to bowl on.

"It's not about just bowling on your favorite pattern," O'Neill said. "You have to also take into account who's bowling on the show and how you think they'll be playing the lanes. With that in mind I thought the Bear would give me the best chance to succeed."

The Oklahoma stepladder final opened with 13-time PBA Tour winner Patrick Allen of Mount Kisco, N.Y., defeating two-time Tour winner Andres Gomez of Colombia, 211-200. Allen, who was hoping to break a six-year drought without a title, then went on to beat Bear Open winner Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., 225-215, before losing to Belmonte in the semifinal, 237-203.

"I just didn't have anything going. The condition was brutal for me," said Belmonte who was trying for his third win of the season and 13th of his career. "I changed balls twice in the match and tried a few other things but it would have been tough to beat Bill anyway because he got off to a good start right out of the box. I was never in a position to put anything together to get back in the match."

Article was posted with permission from Stars & Strikes, America's Bowling Newsmagazine.