The final round of the PBA Southwest Region Fort Sill Viper Open was held on Sunday, May 20, and Chris Hibbitts walked away with the title. Chris Hibbitt may not be a household name in the sport of bowling, but he has proven that he knows how to bowl well on the PBA Regional tour. Hibbitts was also to win a title against a very strong field in what is the most important title in his career.
Chris Hibbitts picked a great tournament to win on the regional tour because the winner of the PBA Southwest Region Fort Sill Viper Open got an automatic entry in the PBA Viper Open at the upcoming World Series of Bowling. Hibbitts is the current point leader in the southwest region of the PBA regional tour, so he has proven that he has the talent to compete on the regional level. With this title, Hibbitts will get the chance to prove himself on the PBA Tour. Hibbitts beat several PBA Tour regulars at the PBA Southwest Region Fort Sill Viper Open including Mike Edwards and Nathan Bohr, so this title may be what he needs to jump-start his professional bowling career.
All of the entrants in the PBA Southwest Region Fort Sill Viper Open got to complete eight games of qualifying. The tournament field was then cut to the top 25 bowlers after the qualifying round. These 25 bowlers then bowled five more games to determine the 16 bowlers that advanced to the match play round. The top 16 bowlers then competed in a single elimination match play round to determine the tournament winner. Hibbitts was the 12th seed heading in to the match play round, but he was still able to make the title match. Hibbitts had to bowl PBA Tour exempt bowler Nathan Bohr in the championship match, and was able to defeat him by the score of 198-194.
I love the fact that the PBA Regional tour allows regular bowlers get the chance to bowl against the PBA Tour stars. I also think that it is a great idea for the PBA to give free entries to the winners of tournaments on the PBA Tour. It gives the successful regional bowlers the opportunity to see if they can truly compete on the PBA Tour. It is ideas like those that will help build the PBA back to prominence.
Jake has been an avid bowler since the age of 8, and regularly follows the PBA throughout the year.