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PBA Xtra I

n a September, 2012 PBA press release announcing that Lon McEachern would be joining Pedersen in the

broadcast booth for the PBA season currently in progress, Pedersen marveled at the history he had witnessed over the past few years alone. “[L]ook at Kelly Kulick becoming the fi rst woman to win a Tour event at the Tournament of Champions in 2010; Mika (Koivuniemi) winning the TOC with a 299 in the semifi nal match in 2011, and Pete Weber’s dramatic fi fth U.S. Open title this past season,” Pedersen said. “You can’t beat those.” You also can’t beat the front-row seat

Dan MacLelland

from which Pedersen has witnessed the likes of Mike Fagan, Bill O’Neill, Jason Belmonte, Sean Rash and others break through to fulfi ll their prodigious promise on the PBA Tour. Pedersen sees more history ahead for some of those players, and he expects some new names to toss their hats into that star-studded ring. Here are his picks for players to watch in the months ahead.

Dan MacLelland The more MacLelland struggles on TV— and he has struggled mightily—the more apologetic Pedersen sounds as he sings the up-and-comer’s praises. A former collegiate bowling standout for Saginaw Valley State University, the Canadian native’s fi ve telecast appearances have yielded scores of 149, 204, 150, 212 and 218. He did not win a single match. But Pedersen still thinks MacLelland is poised to become the PBA Tour’s next superstar. “He’s had nothing but disasters on

television, but this guy, I’ve seen him throw it straight up fi rst arrow, and I’ve seen him loft the sixth arrow on the gutter,” Pedersen says of MacLelland. “I think this kid is the next up-and-comer.” But rather than sing

MacLelland’s praises the next time he makes a show, which Pedersen has done on every one of MacLelland’s TV appearances

Sean Rash


Pedersen’s PBA Tour Players to Watch PEDERSEN’S PROGNOSTICATIONS

thus far, Pedersen plans to throw the kid a bone with the old reverse jinx. “The next show he makes, I’m gonna bury him early,” Pedersen says. “I’m gonna say ‘This guy is awful on television!’ And then he’ll win.”

Jason Belmonte

Sean Rash and Jason Belmonte Reigning PBA Player of the Year, Sean Rash, whom Pedersen describes as “the human ATM,” and Jason Belmonte, the reigning United States Bowling Congress Masters champion, may not seem like terribly daring choices for players to watch. The two are, after all, arguably the hottest players on today’s PBA Tour. But Pedersen’s pick has as much to do with their ability as it does with their disdain for one another.

“It’s the greatest rivalry in our sport,”

Pedersen says. “I don’t care what anybody says, they don’t like each other. And I’m tired of sugar-coating it. They don’t like each other. And it’s OK for two people not to like each other. It’s good for the sport, it makes for great conversation, and it makes for great television. I think those two will be there down the stretch.”

Mika Koivuniemi

Koivuniemi has made as much noise for wearing the consequences of losing bets to his good friend Chris Barnes as he has for anything he has done on the lanes of late—a pair of plaid pants here, a pink shirt with bunnies and butterfl ies there—but Pedersen sees more fame than fashion in Koivuniemi’s future. “You can’t

count out Mika; He’s just too good,” Pedersen says. “At age 45, it’s amazing. Because of all the international bowling he’s doing, he’s right in the mix as well.”

Mika Koivuniemi

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June 2013

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