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 seen Tuesday on CBS Sports Network.
“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.”
The Summer Swing on CBS Sports Network concludes Tuesday, June 23 with the Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Hotel & Resort King of the Swing special event which will air at 9 p.m. ET. The King of the Swing telecast will feature Wolf Open winner Kyle Troup, Bear Open winner Jones, Badger Open winner Ronnie Russell, O’Neill as Oklahoma Open winner, and Belmonte as highest player in Summer Swing points without a title.