Brad Angelo won his second career PBA Tour title in the 2012 Viper Championship at the World Series of Bowling. His previous title, also in the Viper Championship, was in 2008. After earning the top seed for the stepladder finals, Angelo only had to win one match to win the title, but he was guaranteed to have to face one of the top bowlers on the PBA Tour in Sean Rash, Mika Koivuniemi or Mike Fagan.
Cheetah Championship Finalists
- Brad Angelo, United States
- Sean Rash, United States
- Mika Koivuniemi, Finland
- Mike Fagan, United States
Fagan entered as the fourth seed, coming off his best season to date in which he finished third in Player of the Year voting. Koivuniemi is always a threat to win a match or a tournament and also won the 2011 World Bowling Tour championship. Sean Rash is the reigning Player of the Year.
Although most bowlers relish being in the top spot, one match from the title, Angelo knew he would have to bowl his best to beat whichever man joined him in the finals.
Stepladder Match 1: Mika Koivuniemi vs. Mike Fagan
Unfortunately, this match between two of the top bowlers in the world didn’t live up to the hype.
Even though Koivuniemi wasn’t necessarily tearing it up in this match, he didn’t need to—Fagan only managed three strikes in the entire game. Three open frames for Fagan, combined with a lack of putting any strikes together, made it fairly simple for Koivuniemi to knock down enough pins to win.
Koivuniemi only left one frame open on his way to knocking Fagan out of the tournament.
Final scores: Koivuniemi 214, Fagan 150
Stepladder Match 2: Sean Rash vs. Mika Koivuniemi
Rash picked up right where Fagan left off—struggling to put anything together. Although Rash only left one frame open whereas Fagan left three open, Rash only managed two strikes throughout the game.
On the other side was Koivuniemi, who appeared to have figured out the lanes early, then kept his dominance until the end, throwing 10 strikes throughout the match and advancing to the finals against Angelo.
Final scores: Koivuniemi 258, Rash 181
Stepladder Championship Match: Brad Angelo vs. Mika Koivuniemi
The title match was typical in some ways. Two guys were bowling well, but neither was bowling well enough to separate from the other. Just when it looked like one was taking control, he’d leave a pin standing and let his opponent right back into the game.
Koivuniemi, having rolled his way into the finals with relative ease, left the first frame open as Angelo struck. Both men spared in the second, and when Angelo left the third open and Koivuniemi came right back with two strikes, it looked like that would be the moment that turned the match decided to Koivuniemi.
But then Angelo started striking after a spare from Koivuniemi. As so many championship matches do, this would come down to the tenth frame. Koivuniemi was up first and threw a strike. His next shot, having the ability to shut out Angelo, resulted in a six count. He picked up three of those and finished with a 232.
Angelo got up in the 10th needing two strikes to have a chance. He got them. On his fill ball, a seven count would tie and an eight count would give him his second career title. In true PBA fashion, Angelo knocked down the minimum number of pins he needed to take home the championship.
Final scores: Angelo 233, Koivuniemi 232
- Brad Angelo, $20,000
- Mika Koivuniemi, $10,000
- Sean Rash, $7,000
- Mike Fagan, $5,000