A great weekend of bowling is set for Circle Bowl with the 19th annual Jon Juneau Memorial Southern Masters, Friday through Sunday.

The action begins Friday with a 7:30 p.m. sweeper followed by qualifying on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. The finals are Sunday at 10 a.m. The tournament will be bowled on the 38-foot Taj Mahal patters from the Kegel Landmark Challenge Series.

Justin Veitch of Kenner won last year to join a star-studded list of winners that includes the late tournament namesake who won the second and third events along with other two-time winners Scott Monteleone (2004, 2010) and Derwin Pitre (2012, 2013). Justin Bui was the last Baton Rouge winner of the event in 2016.

A total of 16 bowlers make the bracket finals for match play on Sunday.

Greg Snee, his family and friends have consistently put on a good tournament for some pretty good money and it is expected to be another good weekend at Circle.

Rolling On Fox, FS1

It’s been three weeks since the 2019 PBA Tour has started bowling on Fox Sports and FS1 and already some of the effects of two live and one taped show are already being seen.

Although it hasn’t really been mentioned on the show, the prize funds are up. The winners have gotten $25,000 from events that in the past were worth around 10K.

Then CBS Sports Network announces it will do the PBA Tour Finals July 20-21 from Las Vegas and the event will be broadcast instead of over several weeks live for 10 hours.

Last week, the USBC and the PBA announced a multi-year agreement to include the USBC Masters (2019-22) and U.S. Open (2020-22) on Fox and FS1.

Fox Sports has made a commitment to the sport that really hasn’t been seen in a very long time. The first step was seeing the number of repeat broadcasts of these early tournaments. The PBA has almost become a tour again.

Through three shows, it looks like the Rob Stone-Randy Pedersen duo hasn’t lost a step. Stone admits he knew nothing about bowling when he was named lead announcer for ESPN many years ago, but since he left that network and moved to Fox where his primary role has been studio host for many prominent events, his broadcasting chops have gotten that much stronger.

I love his enthusiasm and open rooting for bowler’s success and yes, the “hambone” for four strikes in a row is back (which I love). But this is a more savvy Rob Stone and he knows when to drop the smart line and be funny (Hambone in Swedish a perfect example) and when to sit back and let Pedersen take the lead. The two of them blend together well and it has made the telecasts entertaining as well as informative.

Plus with all the new stat graphics and information, it is a show that can attract the casual fans and those that want all the numbers imaginable.

Having Kimberly Pressler on the lanes for interviews and comments is always good and she has become more knowledgeable at her job over the years as well.

There has been some discussion about the bowling and I guess it all depends on your taste as to whether you want to see strikes and high scores or watch the best in the business take on tough lane conditions. One interesting thing and Stone pointed it out Sunday was the number of single pin spare misses in the first three weeks.

Someone else pointed out to me that they didn’t really like seeing all the conversation during matches with bowlers and their company ball reps. It really is like getting coaching on the lanes during the match, something that really didn’t happen except between matches and commercial breaks in the old days. But now it’s a between shots thing and that certainly is a new aspect of the tour.

But it is hard to find fault with what Fox and FS1 is doing with the Tour and if PBA Commissioner Tom Clark isn’t all smiles, then that’s a surprise.

The tour resumes Sunday at a later time on FS1 with live coverage of the Lubbock Open at 2 p.m. That will be followed on Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. by the CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational in Houston (taped last week) before four straight weeks of live finals including two majors. If you haven’t watched bowling in a while, try it out again on Fox and FS1. I think you will like what you see.

Spare notes, honor roll

If you know someone who is what you think is hall of fame worthy for the Greater Baton Rouge Bowling Association Hall of Fame, the deadline for getting the nomination paper work has been extended into February. I can think of some candidates off hand who probably could be nominated. Nominations forms are at GBRUSBC.com.

The annual high school invitational tournament will be held at All-Star Lanes on Feb. 2 at 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. The finals will be at 1:30 p.m. It’s usually a good preview of what we will see in April.

There are lots of good scores on the honor roll with Chad Conard, Robbie Blackwell and Deidra Johnson shooting perfect 300 games, Sarah Broussard a 704 and Becca May had her first 700 set of 720 on games of 268, 200 and 252. Philip O’Neill had a very nice 713 series in the youth leagues. Check out all the scores in the honor roll.

Back for more bowling news on Feb. 5. Until then, good luck and good bowling.