After years of success on the Professional Bowlers Association Regional Tour, long-time PBA Midwest Region star Lennie Boresch Jr. of Kenosha, Wis., will make his national television debut Sunday when the Lucas Oil Regional Championships round of the Dick Weber PBA Playoffs airs on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.
Boresch, who earned his first Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour exemption by finishing fourth in the 2010 PBA Regional Players Invitational, has won 24 titles at the regional level and was the 1997 and ‘98 PBA Midwest Region Player of the Year.
The 48-year-old pro shop operator and father of two teenagers will compete in the West/Northwest Region finals in the Lucas Oil Regional Championships round at Woodland Bowl, bowling a one-game match against 13-time PBA Tour titlist Chris Barnes and two-time Tour and 10-time regional titlist Lonnie Waliczek. The winner of the three-player match – along with the Midwest and Southwest Region winners – will advance to the Conference Championship Round which airs on ESPN on Sunday, April 10, at 1 p.m. Eastern.
The unique PBA Playoffs format featured six independent regional groups bowling elimination rounds within their respective regions (North, South, East, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest and West/Northwest). A total of 108 PBA members who qualified through their respective Regional programs, along with the top 72 players on the 2010-11 Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour competition points list were seeded into the event. Boresch, who finished 48th on the points list, was seeded into the West/Northwest Region for the opening round of the Playoffs.
A series of elimination rounds culled the starting field to three survivors in each of the six regions. Steve Jaros (East), Randy Weiss (South) and Dick Allen (Central) won their respective regional titles in the Go RVing Regional Championship Round to advance to the Conference Championships.
The three Conference Championship survivors will return to Woodland Bowl on Sunday, April 17, to bowl for the $50,000 first prize in the live ESPN finale at 1 p.m. Eastern. The Dick Weber PBA Playoffs is the final event of the PBA Tour’s 2010-11 season.
“It’s a great format and it was a lot of fun,” Boresch said of the PBA Playoffs. “With the elimination format your odds are better to make the TV show because you just have to make sure you bowled well enough within your division and not be one of the bottom few players to be eliminated. It’s not like a normal Tour event where you have to be in the top five out of however many are entered in the entire tournament to make the TV show.
“But, you also still had to bowl a lot of games during the week, so you weren’t going luck into anything.”
After struggling during the season (his previous best finish was 18th in the Brunswick Pro Bowling Cheetah Championship at the PBA World Series of Bowling in October), making the Playoffs regional finals fulfilled of one Boresch’s career goals of making a Tour telecast.
“It was a dream come true to make a TV show,” said Boresch, who is also a three-time USBC Open Championships titlist. “It wasn’t looking good the way the season was going, but it finally happened and it has kind of made the whole season worthwhile.”
Boresch has been a PBA member since 1980 and toured briefly in the 1982 and ’83 seasons. Ironically, his best Tour finishes came later on when he bowled only occasionally in Tour events. He finished fifth in the 1998 PBA Showboat Invitational and sixth in the 1989 USBC Masters.
After opening a pro shop in ’83, getting married shortly thereafter and starting a family, it became apparent that PBA’s regional program was going to be the best fit for his professional career.
“Being able to compete in regionals, have a business and a family is really the best of all worlds because I’m still able to enjoy the sport competitively by competing in the majors and a tournament like the playoffs,” Boresch added.