LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Bill O’Neill of Southampton, Pa. defeated Andres Gomez of Colombia, 237-203, to win the Pepsi Viper Championship at South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
It is the third title of O’Neill’s young career and the culmination of a dominant performance throughout the World Series of Bowling that landed him the top seed in the PBA World Championship.
O’Neill’s opening match against PBA Hall of Famer Amleto Monacelli of Venezuela set the tone for the rest of the show, as Monacelli never presented much of a challenge with a 156 game during which he left several open frames and struggled to find a line to the pocket. O’Neill followed up an opening spare with a five-bagger and never looked back, shooting 244.
Mike DeVaney of Murrieta, Calif. also struggled to find a consistent line to the pocket in the next match, leaving splits in the third and fifth frames and finishing with a 219 to Bill O’Neill’s 242.
O’Neill’s semifinal match against Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C. looked like it would be the day’s tightest contest by far, as both O’Neill and Jones opened with strikes in four of the first five frames. But Jones’s 2-8-10 split in the sixth proved to be all the breathing room that O’Neill would need, as O’Neill slammed the door with six strikes in a row and won handily, 248-192.
Of the four opponents O’Neill faced as he climbed the ladder today, none had as reliable a line to the pocket as Andres Gomez of Columbia, who left four consecutive pocket ten pins in the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth frames, bowling a 203 that did not do justice to how solidly he bowled.
But O’Neill once again capitalized on his opponent’s mistakes, opening the title match with a four-bagger and keeping the pressure on Gomez to finish with a 237.
“When they open, you have to get up and throw a double,” O’Neill said after the win. “You just can’t let them back in the match. They get defeated when they get back up there knowing you have a four-bagger.”
For O’Neill, now the hottest bowler on the PBA tour, winning is nice, but it’s not enough.
“The World Championship is much more important,” O’Neill said as he looked forward to the PBA World Championship stepladder finals in January. “It’s a major and everybody wants to win majors. And if I win that event, now I am looking strong for Player of the Year.”
For now, O’Neill has his $15,000 check for first place to ponder, and yet another telecast appearance in the stepladder finals of the Scorpion Championship tomorrow.