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Ronnie Russell Surprises Himself by Winning PBA Badger Open 7/22/2015

Of the three animal pattern events that make up the Oklahoma's Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Summer Swing, the Badger Open was the one Ronnie Russell thought he was least likely to win.

For a player who gets better results playing on PBA's shorter lane conditions, Russell surprised even himself by winning the Badger Open. It was Russell's third career title.

The 35-year-old Marion, Ind., resident, who won last year 's Summer Swing Bear Open on the shorter 40-foot lane condition for his second Tour win, beat four-time Tour winner and top qualifier Dom Barrett of England, 218-178, in the championship match which was contested on the 52-foot Badger lane condition, the longest of the Summer Swing lane conditions. "My (ball) roll is quite a bit different than most players out here," Russell said. "I'm better on the shorter lane conditions because I like to get the ball down early which makes those conditions work in my favor. On a condition like the Badger, the guys with the lower rev rates usually do better. "I was carrying the pins better than the other guys because I was using different angles to the pocket and I felt I could throw a good shot when I needed to which gave me a good comfort level," Russell added.

Russell, who qualified third for the finals, beat Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. of Oxford, Fla., who was making his first U.S. television appearance in more than two years, 235-217, in the second match. He then eliminated three-time Tour winner and No. 2 qualifier Rhino Page of Orlando, Fla., in the semifinal match, 244-193, to advance to the final.

Despite a second-place finish earlier this season in the PBA Players Championship, Russell still had some concerns about when his next win would come. He credited Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III, who beat him in the Players Championship title match, for some valuable advice.

"I didn't want the thought of when another win would come to wear on me and Parker gave me some good advice," Russell said. "He told me to stay focused and have a good time instead of worrying about winning until I get in that position. I like to have too good a time out there and sometimes I just need to calm down."

In the opening match, Williams, who was trying to extend his all-time leading Tour win total to 48 at age 55, ended 28-year-old Houston two-hander Shawn Maldonado's hopes for his first Tour title, 232-223.

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

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