Belmonte Beats Simonsen to Win Third Consecutive PBA World Championship Title

by Jerry Schneider March 15, 2020 14:45

LAS VEGAS  – In a match-up between two of the Go Bowling PBA Tour’s premier two-handed players, Australian Jason Belmonte defeated Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas, 213-190, in the title match Sunday at the South Point Bowling Plaza to win his third consecutive PBA World Championship title while extending his all-time career-leading major win total to 13.

Bowling in front of an on-site finals audience that consisted of mainly PBA players, their family members and tournament officials held three days earlier than originally scheduled, Belmonte also notched his 24th career PBA Tour title to take home the $150,000 first prize.

The PBA modified plans for all of the Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI finals telecasts in response to the coronavirus pandemic, moving the live FS1 World Championship telecast to Sunday from its original Wednesday (March 18) slot while also postponing all additional competition in the three animal pattern (lane condition) championships. However, the players were able to complete all 56 games of qualifying and match play for the World Championship last week to advance to the finals.

As the top seed for the finals, Belmonte also added to his ever-growing list of accomplishments in PBA majors joining Hall of Famer Earl Anthony as the only players to win three consecutive World Championship titles. Anthony did it twice when the event was called the PBA National Championship (’73, ’74, ’75 and ’81, ’82 and 83). Belmonte, the five-time and reigning PBA Player of the Year, was also making a record fifth consecutive major telecast appearance and eight of the last nine.

What made the win extra special for Belmonte was that he won in front of his entire family for the first time.

“It was everything to have my family here to see this,” said the 36-year-old Australian, whose wife Kimberly, son Hugo, and daughters Sylvie and Aria were in attendance to witness the victory. “They were a calming influence when I wasn’t doing well and a great support structure overall. It was a dream to have them here to see this.”

It was also Belmonte’s second consecutive major title this season after winning the U.S. Open on Feb. 23 to join PBA Hall of Famer Mike Aulby as the only players to complete the PBA Tour’s Super Slam, which is a title in all five PBA majors (PBA Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open, PBA Players Championship, USBC Masters and PBA World Championship). It was in the 2019 World Championship that Belmonte won his 11th major to surpass Hall of Famers Pete Weber and Anthony on the all-time major titles list.

In the title match, the 23-year-old Simonsen, trying to become the youngest player to win three majors, got off to a bad start with two opens after leaving difficult splits. Belmonte was able to take advantage by stringing strikes from the third through seventh frames which gave him enough of a cushion to win the match.

“Going into the match it was all going to be about speed control,” Belmonte said. “Keeping it slow and getting a good consistent release was the key. Anytime you can keep striking, keep a big lead and your opponent believes he has to strike out to win, that’s when you can really keep the pressure on.”

The World Championship was the fourth and final event of the season that offered a $1 million bonus if the winning player bowled a 300 game in the title match.

“Obviously you can’t ignore the money in a tournament like this but it’s never been the motivating factor for me,” said Belmonte. “It’s always about the title because that’s what people will remember when the history is written.”

In the semifinal match, Simonsen, a seven-time tour winner beat No. 2 seed EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Indiana, 215-177, to advance to the title match. Tackett, the 2016 PBA Player of the Year, was trying for his third major and 14th career tour title.

In the second match, Simonsen defeated Canadian Francois Lavoie 224-204 to advance to the semifinal match. Lavoie, a four-time tour winner that includes two U.S. Open titles, was trying for his third major win.

The finals started with Lavoie, the No. 4 seed, beating three-time Team USA member and former National Amateur Champion No. 5 seed Chris Via of Springfield, Ohio, 269-258 to advance to the second match against Simonsen. Via, a two-time PBA Tour runner-up, finished fifth to match his best finish in a major which came in the recent U.S. Open.

PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

(A Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI/2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 1 event)

South Point Bowling Plaza, Las Vegas, Sunday

Final Standings

1, Jason Belmonte, Australia $150,000.

2, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, $70,000.

3, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., $40,000.

4, Francois Lavoie, Canada, $30,000.

5, Chris Via, Springfield, Ohio, $20,000.

Playoff Results

Match one – Lavoie def. Via, 269-258.

Match two – Simonsen def. Lavoie, 224-204.

Semifinal – Simonsen def. Tackett, 215-177.

Championship – Belmonte def. Simonsen, 213-190.

# # #

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Jesper Svensson, Kyle Troup Win Second Roth-Holman PBA Doubles Championship Title

by Jerry Schneider March 8, 2020 10:57

INDIANAPOLIS Sweden’s Jesper Svensson and fellow two-hander Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, North Carolina, defeated EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Indiana and Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, 234-205, in the Baker format title match to win the Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship which aired Sunday on FS1 from Royal Pin Woodland.

For both Svensson and Troup it was their second title of the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour season, but for the 25-year-old Svensson, his 10th career title made him title-eligible for eventual election to the PBA Hall of Fame. He is the third youngest player to achieve that feat, behind Anthony Simonsen and Tackett who reached the PBA Hall of Fame minimum titles eligibility criteria at ages 22 and 24, respectively. All three have a lengthy wait ahead in reaching the 20-year PBA membership criteria, however. Tackett will be eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot for induction in 2032, Simonsen in 2033 and Svensson, the first Swedish player to earn HOF eligibility, in 2034.

Svensson won the Go Bowling PBA Indianapolis Open for back-to-back titles while Troup earned his fifth career title after winning the Jonesboro Open earlier this season.

The 2017 Roth-Holman Doubles champions held an eight-pin lead in the eighth frame of the title match but Tackett and Kent, working on a double, could have put the pressure on with at least one more strike in the 10th. Kent couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, however, pulling his shot slightly, leaving the 3-10 split and failing to convert the spare. Svensson kept it interesting when he left the difficult 2-4-7-8 in the ninth frame, but he converted the spare and Troup then struck on the first ball of the 10th frame to secure the win.

“I suppose it was only fair that I did the work this time,” said the 28-year-old Troup, who is the son of eight-time PBA Tour winner Guppy Troup. “For the rest of the tournament I was just trying to keep up with Jesper because he was striking so much.”

“I think we’re one of the strongest doubles teams out here,” Svensson added. “We established pretty early on that we were going to be the ones to beat. As one of the best teams out here, the other guys know they are going to have to bowl their best to beat us.”

Svensson and Troup dominated the Baker match play rounds, earning the top seed for the finals with a 13-3 record and 11,080 pinfall total for a whopping 582-pin lead over No. 2 qualifiers Tackett and Kent.

The same two teams met in the 2017 title match when Svensson and Troup defeated Tackett and Kent, 279-195, in Portland, Maine.

“I told Jesper after we won in 2017 that we were going to be doubles partners for 25 years and now we have 21 to go,” Troup said. “We’ve been looking forward to this tournament for a long time because we know going in we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Both players stressed the importance of team chemistry in being successful competing in the Baker format competition that requires each player to bowl alternate frames to combine for one score.

“It’s hard to put into words how proud I am of what we did as a unit,” Svensson said. “A match on TV goes by so fast when you bowl 10 frames by yourself, but then when you only have five frames it can be over before you know it, so you have to make the most of the five shots you have to bowl.”

In the semifinal match, Tackett and Kent defeated No. 5 qualifiers Dom Barrett of England and Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas, 263-190, to advance to the title match. The FS1 telecast opened with Simonsen and Barrett beating No. 4 qualifiers Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona and Finland’s Osku Palermaa, 237-236, in the first match when Simonsen converted a 10 pin on his second shot in the 10th frame. Barrett and Simonsen then beat No. 3 qualifiers Kris Prather of Plainfield, Illinois and Andrew Anderson of Holly, Michigan in the second match, 226-190, to advance to the semifinal match.

The 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour season continues with the PBA World Series of Bowling which began Sunday at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas. The finals of all four PBA Tour title events that are part of WSOB XI will air live on FS1 – the Go Bowling PBA Cheetah Championship, March 15 (1:30 p.m. ET); Chameleon Championship, March 16 (8 p.m. ET), Scorpion Championship, March 17 (8 p.m. ET), PBA World Championship, March 18 (8 p.m. ET). The USA vs. The World special team event will conclude the World Series on March 19 (8 p.m. ET).

MARK ROTH-MARSHALL HOLMAN PBA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP

(a 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 3 event)

Royal Pin Woodland, Indianapolis (aired Sunday on FS1)

Final Standings:

1, Jesper Svensson, Sweden/Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., $30,000.

2, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind./Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., $15,000.

3, Dom Barrett, England/Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, $13,000

4, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich./Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., $12,000.

5, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz./Osku Palermaa, Finland, $11,000.

Stepladder Results:

Match One – Barrett/Simonsen def. Butturff/Palermaa, 237-236.

Match Two – Barrett/Simonsen def. Anderson/Prather, 226-190.

Semifinal Match – Tackett/Kent def. Barrett/Simonsen, 263-190.

Championship – Svensson/Troup def. Tackett/Kent, 234-205.

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Sweden’s Jesper Svensson Wins Go Bowling PBA Indianapolis Open for Ninth Career Tour Title

by Jerry Schneider February 29, 2020 21:22

INDIANAPOLIS – Top seed Jesper Svensson of Sweden beat No. 2 seed Shawn Maldonado of Houston, 245-226, in the title match Saturday night to win the Go Bowling PBA Indianapolis Open at Royal Pin Woodland for his first win of the season and ninth of his career.

Down by one pin in the fourth frame, the 25-year-old Svensson, who is a lefthanded two-hander, was able to take command in the match when he threw five consecutive strikes from the fifth through ninth frames. On his first ball of the 10th frame he left the 2-4-5 but made the spare to clinch the match.

“You’d rather get a strike for the win, but I’ll take the spare,” Svensson said. “I didn’t have any splits and didn’t miss any spares so overall it was a good game to win.”

It was Svensson’s first win since the 2019 PBA/WBT Thailand Open and his first win on television since the 2017 PBA Cheetah Championship. The Indianapolis Open was televised live on FS1.

“I’ve been bowling well but just feel like I haven’t been rewarded for it,” said Svensson, who won the 2016 PBA Tournament of Champions at age 20 to become the youngest to win that major. “I’m constantly working on my game and sometimes it’s the small things that can make the biggest differences.

“I’m working hard to improve my game to be a more versatile player so when there’s a week when you can play to your strength you can take advantage of that opportunity,” he added. “It takes more than being good at one thing and that’s especially true when you’re bowling on the dual (lane condition) patterns.”

Competition for the entire Indianapolis Open, including the stepladder finals, was conducted on a dual lane condition with the PBA 42-foot Mark Roth lane condition on the left lane and 37-foot Marshall Holman lane pattern on the right lane.

Maldonado, a righthanded two-hander, advanced to the title match with a 246-230 semifinal win over No. 4 seed Nick Pate of Inver Grove, Minnesota, who was trying for his first PBA Tour title in his first telecast appearance.

The 33-year-old Maldonado was also trying for his first tour win matching his career-best tour finish of second in the 2016 PBA Lubbock Sports Southwest Open.

In the opening stepladder match, the 25-year-old Pate beat No. 5 seed, three-time tour winner Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Michigan, 227-164, to advance to the second stepladder match against seven-time tour winner two-hander Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas who was the No. 3 seed.

In the match against Simonsen, Pate survived a missed four pin in the eighth frame and a pocket 7-10 split on his second shot in the 10th to beat Simonsen 226-213 to advance to the semifinal match against Maldonado.

The next Go Bowling PBA Tour telecast on FS1 will be the Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship which will air Sunday, March 8 at noon ET.

GO BOWLING PBA INDIANAPOLIS OPEN

(a 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 2 event)

Royal Pin Woodland, Indianapolis, Saturday

Final Standings

1, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, $30,000.
2, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, $15,000.
3, Nick Pate, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., $10,000.
4, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, $8,000.
5, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., $7,000.

Playoff Results:

Match One: Pate def. Smallwood, 227-164.

Match Two: Pate def. Simonsen, 226-213.

Semifinal: Maldonado def. Pate, 246-230.

Championship: Svensson def. Maldonado, 245-226.

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Bill O’Neill Wins PBA Players Championship After Clutch Performance in 10th Frame of Title Match

by Jerry Schneider February 15, 2020 18:42

COLUMBUS, Ohio  – A clutch performance in the 10th frame of the championship match gave Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, a thrilling 233-232 victory over top seed EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Indiana, to win the PBA Players Championship Saturday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl for his second career major title.

The 38-year-old O’Neill threw the first two strikes and a nine count in the 10th frame, leaving a four pin on the final shot, which was enough to also win his first title of the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour season and 12th of his career.

“To double in the 10th frame for a win in a major is why we do what we do,” said O’Neill. “The first two strikes were perfect, but the fill ball wasn’t as good as the first two but still good enough to win.

“My heart rate was really up and I needed to take a breath and slow things down so I took a rerack before that last shot in the 10th,” O’Neill added. “I pulled up on the shot a little and thought it was either going to push through or not, so I kind of felt fortunate to get what I needed.”

His win came nearly 10 years exactly after winning the U.S. Open for his first major title on Feb. 28, 2010.

“When I left the four pin on the final shot I didn’t know what to think,” said O’Neill who was the beneficiary of a crossover strike in the seventh frame. “I’ve made the top five in the last four of five majors and I felt if I just kept putting myself in a position to win eventually things would go my way and it did today.”

Tackett, who was trying for his third major and 14th career tour title got off to an early lead starting with five consecutive strikes but ran into trouble in the sixth frame when he left the 3-4-6-7 split which he failed to convert. Tackett left a 10 pin in the ninth frame and a seven pin on the first shot of the 10th frame, converted the spares, before striking on his last shot of the 10th frame but that still left the door open for O’Neill.

“I did think here we go again, somebody is going to throw a big game at me in the championship match,” said O’Neill, who lost to Kris Prather of Plainfield, Illinois, 280-205 in the title match of last week’s PBA Tournament of Champions. “He (Tackett) left that split in the sixth frame and I thought to myself the ball is in your hand, now go do it.”

O’Neill, the No. 3 seed for the finals defeated No. 2 seed Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte 236-185 in the semifinal who continued his recent struggles to win matches on TV.

Belmonte, the all-time leader on the PBA major titles list with 11 wins was trying to become the first three-time winner of the Players Championship having previously won it in 2011 and 2017.

The finals started with Prather, the No. 5 seed trying for back-to-back major titles after his Tournament of Champions win, beating No. 4 seed four-time tour winner Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, 187-184, in the opening match who was trying for his first major win.

O’Neill then beat Prather 215-194 in the second match to advance to the semifinal against Belmonte.

The Go Bowling PBA Tour travels to Lincoln, Nebraska, for the third major in as many weeks when Sun Valley Lanes hosts the U.S. Open Feb. 16-23. The stepladder finals will air Sunday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX. U.S. Open preliminary rounds will be carried by PBA’s livestreaming partner FloBowling. The finals will also be available to FloBowling’s international subscribers. For subscription and schedule information visit www.flobowling.com.

PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP

(a 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 1 event)
Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, Columbus, Ohio, Saturday

Final Standings:

1, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., $75,000.

2, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., $38,000.

3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, $19,000.

4, Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., $11,000.

5, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., $10,000.

Playoff Results:

Match One: Prather def. Kent, 187-184.

Match Two: O’Neill def. Prather, 215-194.

Semifinal: O’Neill def. Belmonte, 236-185.

Championship: O’Neill def. Tackett, 233-232.

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Tackett Outduels Belmonte to Take Top Seed For PBA Players Championship Finals

by Jerry Schneider February 13, 2020 20:52

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Thirteen-time Go Bowling PBA Tour winner EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Indiana, compiled a 13-3 match play record and averaged 231 in Thursday’s final two match play rounds to earn the top seed for Saturday’s PBA Players Championship stepladder finals as he tries for his third major title.

After posting a 6-2 record in Wednesday’s first match play round, Tackett finished with a 19-5 overall record in match play and 10,242 42-game pinfall total including match play bonus pins to earn the top spot. He defeated Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte 213-201 in the final position round match to clinch the top seed.

“It feels good to get back to the finals especially in a major,” said the 27-year-old Tackett, whose previous major wins came in the 2016 PBA World Championship and 2017 PBA Tournament of Champions. “The season has been kind of a progression to this point bowling a little better each week. I’ll prepare the best I can for Saturday night and hopefully it will be enough to bowl a great game for the title.”

The stepladder finals for the season’s second major will be televised live on FS1 Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET. Having to bowl one match for the title, Tackett and his opponent in the title match will bowl for a $1 million bonus if the winner of the match bowls a 300 game.

Belmonte posted a mediocre 12-11-1 overall match play record but was boosted by a 6-2 record and 229 average in Thursday’s final match play round on his way to the No. 2 seed for the finals. He finished 58 pins behind Tackett with a 10,184 pinfall for 42 games.

The 36-year-old Belmonte, who earned his fifth PBA Player of the Year award in 2019, will be trying for his third Players Championship and 12th career major title. The all-time majors leader with 11 wins previously won the Players Championship in 2011 and 2017. He finished second in the 2019 Players Championship losing to Anthony Simonsen 232-212 in the title match.

Entering the finals as the No. 3 seed, last week’s Tournament of Champions runner-up Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, posted a 13-8-3 overall match play record and 9,889 pinfall for 42 games. The 11-time tour winner will again try for his second major title with his first major win coming in the 2010 U.S. Open.

Four-time PBA Tour winner Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington will be trying for his first major title from the No. 4 seed after posting a 12-11-1 overall match play record and 9,865 pinfall total.

As the No. 5 seed, last week’s Tournament of Champions winner Kris Prather of Plainfield, Illinois, will once again have to win four stepladder matches to win a second consecutive major title and will face Kent in the opening match.

Prather, who was the No. 4 seed for the Tournament of Champions finals and won all four matches including his 280-205 title match win against O’Neill, also posted a 12-11-1 match play record and finished with a 9,857 pinfall.

PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP

(a 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 1 event)

Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, Columbus, Ohio, Thursday

Sixth Round Standings

(after 42 games. Includes match play record and total pinfall including bonus pins. Top five players advance to Saturday’s stepladder finals live on FS1 at 5:30 p.m ET)

1, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 19-5, 10,242.
2, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 12-11-1, 10,184.
3, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 13-8-3, 9,889.
4, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 12-11-1, 9,865.
5, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 12-11-1, 9,857.
6, Nicholas Pate, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., 13-11, 9,739, $8,000.
7, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 12-12, 9,703, $7,000.
8, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 12-12, 9,693, $6,000.
9, Brad Miller, Lees Summit, Mo., 13-11, 9,682, $5,500.
10, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 13-10-1, 9,662, $5,000.
11, Stuart Williams, England, 12-12, 9,634, $4,800.
12, Darren Tang, Las Vegas, 13-11, 9,604, $4,600.
13, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 12-12, 9,600, $4,400.
14, Zacharay Wilkins, Canada, 14-10, 9,593, $4,200.
15, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 11-13, 9,589, $4,000.
16, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 13-11, 9,550, $3,800.
17, BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 13-11, 9,516, $3,700.
18, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 11-13, 9,514, $3,600.
19, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 10-14, 9,462, $3,500.
20, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 10-13-1, 9,358, $3,400.
21, Ildemaro Ruiz, Venezuela, 7-17, 9,308, $3,300.
22, Greg Ostrander, Brick, N.J., 9-15, 9,293, $3,200.
23, Nick Kruml, Downers Grove, Ill., 9-15, 9,245, $3,100.
24, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 9-15, 9,241, $3,000.

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