Jakob Butturff Shrugs Off Errant Shot to Win $50,000 Winner-Take-All Prize in 2019 PBA Clash

by Jerry Schneider November 3, 2019 16:01

LAKE WALES, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2019) – Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, outlasted seven other top money earners from the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season and defeated EJ Tackett of Bluffton, Indiana, in the championship match to win the $50,000 winner-take-all prize in the second PBA Clash which aired Sunday on FOX Sports from the Kegel Training Center.     

The 25-year-old left-hander, who has won three titles in 2019 including the USBC Masters for his first major, got off to an inauspicious start in the championship match, throwing a gutter in the first frame. He learned from his mistake, converted the spare, and threw strikes on nine of his next 11 shots to beat Tackett, the 2019 Barbasol PBA Tour Finals winner, 258-244, for the win. 

“If I’m executing the way I should, throwing the ball out to the gutter is my best look and where I get the best results,” said Butturff. “Obviously you don’t want to throw it (into the gutter) in a critical situation but if it’s going to happen that’s the place to do it because you have time to recover.”

Clash trophy shotThe eliminator format event showcased the season’s top eight money earners from the 2019 season concluding with the FloBowling ATX Invite in September. In addition to Butturff and Tackett, other players earning berths in the non-title special event were Australian two-hander Jason Belmonte, Sean Rash, Anthony Simonsen, Kris Prather, Bill O’Neill and 55-year-old PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke.

Competition began with all eight bowlers completing a 10th frame opening round with the low score eliminated. The seven remaining players then bowled subsequent rounds which consisted of a one-ball, low-man-out format. The two survivors advanced to the complete-game winner-take-all finale.

After the 10th frame round, Prather, the winner of the $100,000 first prize in the inaugural PBA Playoffs in June, was eliminated with a nine-count for the frame after leaving the 2-8 and failing to convert the spare.

Butturff faced early elimination in the 10th frame round after leaving 2-4-6-7-10 split on his first ball, but he converted the spare and struck on the final ball to advance to the second elimination round.

“It was a bad shot; I thought it was the end of the tournament for me,” said Butturff, who was eliminated late in the one-ball elimination round of the inaugural Clash in 2018. “If I make the spare, it’s probably going to be the most difficult spare I’ve made on TV so I told Kris (Prather) it would be awesome for the TV show if I can make it. You have nothing to lose at that point so the pressure’s off – just take your best shot and hope for the best.”

In the one-ball elimination that made up rounds 2-6, Tackett and Butturff were the last two players left standing with a strike and nine-count, respectively. They outscored 2019 PBA Players Championship winner Anthony Simonsen in the sixth round after he could only manage seven pins, leaving the 3-6-10.

Duke was eliminated in Round 2 with a seven-count after four roll-offs. O’Neill was eliminated in Round 3, which also required four roll-offs, with nine. Rash was eliminated in Round 4 with eight, and Belmonte was eliminated in Round 5 after two roll-off frames, with nine.

“A format like this really tests your ability to think on the fly so you can give yourself the best opportunity to perform in the clutch,” said Butturff, who has had issues missing easy spares at critical times in matches in the past. “In the early rounds your mindset is ‘don’t do worse than they did’ but eventually that changes to putting pressure on your opponent when you bowl head-to-head in a title match.

“You had eight guys who got here because of their ability to come through in clutch situations,” Butturff added. “It can be nerve-racking but this is what I love to do so you just get into competitive mode and get the job done.”

The 2020 PBA Tour season begins with the PBA Hall of Fame Classic Jan. 14-19 at the International Training and Research Center on the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas. The stepladder finals will air live on FS1 on Sunday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. ET.

2019 PBA CLASH FINAL RESULTS

(aired Sunday on FOX Sports)

Championship Match

Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz. ($50,000) def. EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 258-244.

10th Frame Elimination Round One (Low score eliminated)

1. Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 30.

2. Bill O’Neill Langhorne, Pa., 30.

3. Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 20.

4. Anthony Simonsen, Little, Elm, Texas, 20.

5. Jakob Butturff, Chandler, Ariz., 20.

6. Jason Belmonte, Australia, 20.

7. EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 20.

8. Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 9 (eliminated).

One-Ball Low-Man-Out Elimination Round (low first ball count after each round eliminates players to determine final two players for championship match. Players tying for low score advance to another one-ball roll-off to break tie)

Round 2 – Duke eliminated with 7 after fourth roll-off.

Round 3 – O’Neill eliminated with 9 after fourth roll-off.

Round 4 – Rash eliminated with 8.

Round 5 – Belmonte eliminated with 9 after second roll-off.

Round 6 – Simonsen eliminated with 7.

Tackett, with 10, and Butturff with 9 in sixth round, survived to advance to title match.

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2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour Top Earners Battle in PBA Clash Sunday on FOX

by Jerry Schneider October 31, 2019 08:42

LAKE WALES, Fla.  – The top eight money earners from the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season will battle for a $50,000 winner-take-all first prize when the second edition of the PBA Clash airs on FOX Sunday from the renowned Kegel Training Center.

Four-time PBA Player of the Year and 22-time Go Bowling! PBA Tour titlist Jason Belmonte of Australia leads an elite field that also includes 2019 standouts Jakob Butturff, Bill O’Neill, Kris Prather, EJ Tackett, Anthony Simonsen, Sean Rash and PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke.

As a preamble to the 2020 season on FOX Sports, competition begins Sunday with “eliminator” rounds leading up to a full-game championship match between the two survivors.  In the first round, all eight players beginning with the No. 8 qualifier will bowl a 10th frame. The player with the lowest pinfall will be eliminated. The non-title special event converts to a one-ball format for rounds 2-6 with the player rolling the lowest pinfall eliminated until the surviving two players are determined for the championship match.

All competition will be conducted on a mixed (or dual) lane condition – 44-foot PBA Billy Hardwick lane condition on the left lane and 37-foot Johnny Petraglia lane condition on the right lane.

The PBA Clash airs on FOX adjacent to the NFL Singleheader on Sunday, Nov. 3 (2:30 p.m. ET or 4:30 p.m. ET) depending on region. Viewers should check their local listings for air times in their areas. 

Here’s a look at the eight competitors along with their season highlights:

Jason Belmonte, Australia – Making his second Clash appearance, the two-hander from Australia and four-time PBA Player of the Year, won the 2019 PBA Tournament of Champions and PBA World Championship earlier this year for his 10th and 11th PBA Tour major victories to top the all-time major titles list. With nine television appearances in 2019 that also included a runner-up finish in the PBA Players Championship, the only four-time winner this season also won the Chameleon Championship and DHC Japan Invitational to bring his career titles total to 22.

Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Arizona – With three wins and eight television appearances in 2019, the seven-time tour champion won the PBA Oklahoma Open, Lubbock Sports Shootout and USBC Masters for his first major title. Making his second Clash appearance, the 25-year-old left-hander also was runner-up in the season-opening PBA Hall of Fame Classic, the DHC PBA Japan Invitational and PBA World Championship.

Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pennsylvania – With six television appearances, the inaugural PBA Playoffs runner-up won the season-opening PBA Hall of Fame Classic and the Harry O’Neale Chesapeake Open for his 10th and 11th career titles. He won the $25,000 first prize in the FloBowling PBA ATX Invite, a non-title event, and finished third in the PBA Scorpion Championship and fourth in the PBA World Championship.

Kris Prather, Plainfield, Illinois – Won the inaugural PBA Playoffs and a $100,000 first prize in July. Also won the PBA Scorpion Championship for his first Go Bowling! PBA Tour title. Had eight top-10 finishes in 2019 including a third in the Storm PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles, fourth in the Go Bowling! PBA Jonesboro Open and fifth in the Barbasol PBA Tour Finals.

EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Indiana – Won his second Barbasol PBA Tour Finals in 2019 for his 13th career tour title. Making his second Clash appearance, he has five television appearances this season which also included runner-up finishes in the PBA Tournament of Champions, Bear Open and FloBowling PBA Illinois Open.

Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas – Also qualifying for his second Clash, the 22-year-old two-hander won the 2019 PBA Players Championship to become the youngest player ever to win two majors. He also won the PBA Bear Open for his seventh career tour title.  Among his five other television appearances were a runner-up finish in the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Jonesboro Open and a tie for third in the Barbasol PBA Tour Finals.

Sean Rash, Montgomery, Illinois – Won the Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship with Matt Ogle and the PBA Wolf Open for his second win of the season and 14th of his career. The 2011-12 PBA Player of the Year also had runner-up finishes in the PBA Wilmington Open, Lubbock Sports Open and PBA Bowlerstore.com Classic. He also won the USBC Cup as the FloBowling PBA Summer Swing points winner, which netted him $20,000.

Norm Duke, Clermont, Florida – Landmark season for the 55-year-old PBA Hall of Famer included winning the Go Bowling! PBA Indianapolis and Go Bowling! PBA Jonesboro Opens to become the oldest player to win back-to-back PBA Tour titles. The Jonesboro win was the 40th of his career as he joined all-time PBA Tour title winners and fellow Hall of Famers Walter Ray Williams Jr. (47) and Earl Anthony (43) as the third player to win 40 or more PBA Tour titles.

Marshall Kent won the 2018 PBA Clash at the Kegel Training Center with a 218-215 championship match win over Dom Barrett to win the $25,000 first prize. Neither player qualified for the 2019 PBA Clash.

The 2020 PBA Tour season begins with the PBA Hall of Fame Classic Jan. 14-19 at the Bowling International Training Center in Arlington, Texas. The stepladder finals will air live on FS1 Sunday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. ET.

About the PBA

The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is the world’s preeminent organization dedicated to the sport of bowling and its professional competition, with thousands of members and millions of fans throughout the world. The PBA plays host to bowling’s biggest tournaments from the Go Bowling! PBA Tour, PBA Regional Tour, and PBA50 Tour. In 2019, the PBA was acquired by Bowlero Corporation, the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling entertainment centers with more than 300 locations throughout North America. For more information, please visit PBA.com and BowleroCorp.com.

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Sean Rash Earns Top Seed for Stellar U.S. Open Stepladder Finals

by Jerry Schneider October 29, 2019 21:16

By Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications

MOORESVILLE, N.C. - After 56 games over five days, five competitors have advanced to the championship round of the 2019 U.S. Open.

The quintet conquered four challenging oil patterns at Victory Lanes and now will battle for the $30,000 top prize, coveted green jacket and final major championship on the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule live on CBS Sports Network on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Eastern.

The standings seemed to be on a continuous spin cycle throughout the final round of match play Tuesday evening, with three different people topping the leaderboard during the eight-game block.

Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois, a 14-time PBA Tour champion, spent the most time out in front and held a 60-pin advantage over 2016 U.S. Open champion Francois Lavoie of Canada heading into the day-ending position round.

Though Lavoie was able to win the position-round matchup, 217-211, Rash had enough of a lead to claim the top seed for the TV stepladder by 24 pins.

Lavoie held on for the No. 2 spot, which is the same place he qualified the year he won. He and Rash will be joined on the show by Australia's Jason Belmonte, Bill O'Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas. All five are major champions.

"I have one game to bowl for a title, which is something I've done six, seven or eight times this year, and it's a great feeling," said Rash, who was the No. 1 seed for both of his major titles - the 2007 United States Bowling Congress Masters and 2012 PBA Tournament of Champions. "There's four unbelievable players on the show with me, all major champions, so it's going to be an amazing show. I'm extremely happy right now, but there's still so much left to do."

Rash, who set the pace through 32 games of qualifying and led the final 24 players into the match-play portion of the event, finished with a 56-game pinfall total of 12,379, which included 30 bonus pins for each of his 12 wins in match play. He started match play with seven consecutive losses.

Lavoie finished with a 12,355 total, Belmonte closed with a 266-233 win over Shawn Maldonado to jump from fifth place to third (12,312), O'Neill finished with 12,303 and Simonsen held on to the final spot with 12,261, just 27 pins ahead of Maldonado.

"Tonight was very much needed and something I felt was coming," said Belmonte, a 22-time PBA Tour champion. "I finished the second round with 279 and realized that game put me back in contention. I was about 100 out of the show and thought I could get there with a couple good games in a row. Through the middle of the last block, I did some of the best bowling I've done in a really long time."

The star-studded stepladder includes some amazing storylines.

Rash is looking for his third title of 2019 and third career major. A win would make Lavoie the first foreign-born player to win the event twice, while he and O'Neill, the 2010 winner, both have a chance to become the 12th bowler in history to win multiple times.

Belmonte and Simonsen both have found the winner's circle in majors this season. Belmonte won the PBA Tournament of Champions and PBA World Series of Bowling X PBA World Championship and was the runner-up to Simonsen at the 2019 PBA Players Championship.

Belmonte's win at the 2019 PBA World Championship moved him past PBA Hall of Famers Earl Anthony and Pete Weber, who each own 10 major titles.

Simonsen, who, along with O'Neill has won twice this year, is looking to become the youngest player with three majors - he also won the 2016 Masters - and Belmonte is eyeing his record 12th major title. The U.S. Open is the one that has eluded him. The Australian's best finish at the event was a second-place effort in 2013.

"This has put me in a position to have a crack at No. 12, and I'm excited and nervous and I can't wait to get out there and leave it all on the lanes," said Belmonte, a four-time champion in 2019. "I'll give it everything I've got, and if the pins want to fall, it'll be my year. I know there will be plenty more U.S. Opens, but I'm kind of hoping they fall for me this time."

Defending champion Dom Barrett of England also made match play this week and finished 14th, one spot ahead of 2017 champion Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida.

The field this week started with 144 players, all of whom bowled 24 games of qualifying over three days (eight games each day). Each round featured a different oil pattern, and a fourth lane condition was introduced for the cashers' round, match play and championship round.

The U.S. Open is conducted jointly by USBC and the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America.

For complete U.S. Open results click on https://www.bowl.com/US_Open/US_Open_Home/2019_Results/

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Lavoie Leads After First Round of Match Play at U.S. Open

by Jerry Schneider October 28, 2019 19:48

By Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications

MOORESVILLE, N.C. - The initial roster at the 2019 U.S. Open was pretty stout, filled with the sport's top performers and many up-and-coming young standouts.

What's left, now that the field has been cut to the top 24 for round-robin match play, could be mistaken for the first draft of a publication celebrating the greatest players of the PBA’s second 50 years.

Among those remaining in contention for the $30,000 top prize, coveted green jacket and final major championship on the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule are 17 PBA Tour titlists, 12 PBA major champions, including seven past U.S. Open winners, and eight players who have reached the television finals at the prestigious event since it returned from a one-year hiatus in 2015.

The overall lead changed hands a few times during the eight games of match play Monday night at Victory Lanes, and 2016 U.S. Open winner Francois Lavoie of Canada finished the day atop the standings with an 8,729 total. His score includes pinfall for 40 games and 30 bonus pins for each of his six wins in match play.

Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas, is second with 8,694 followed by Bill O'Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania (8,668), left-hander Jesper Svensson of Sweden (8,588) and Houston's Shawn Maldonado (8,574).

"Keeping the momentum going tomorrow will be about staying smart and patient," Lavoie said. "I think I have a good process and routine, and sticking to what I've been doing is key. It's kind of repetitive, but that's what it is. You don't want to get ahead of yourself. You want to take every frame separately, one at a time, especially with a pattern this tough."

The biggest move of the day came from Brandon Novak of Chillicothe, Ohio, who averaged more than 220 on the way to a 6-2 record. He started match play in 21st place and now is sixth in the standings, just 37 pins below the cutline.

The 31-year-old right-hander is one of the seven remaining players without a PBA Tour title. Monday night's performance left him comfortable and confident on the 40-foot oil pattern being used for the cashers' round, match play and championship round.

"I'm feeling pretty confident with the pattern, and even though the initial idea was to start a little straighter, that wasn't really the right place for me, so I moved in and played the dry most of the eight games and was able to stay with the same ball," said Novak, the Regular All-Events champion at the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships. "I did make a few small mistakes, otherwise I could've bowled better some of the games, but I definitely feel good going into tomorrow. Hopefully, I can make something happen."

Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois, was the qualifying leader after Monday's eight-game cashers' round, averaging nearly 214 over the event's first 32 games. He closed the cashers' round with games of 253 and 268 to surge into the lead for the first time this week.

Despite only going 1-7 in his first eight matches, the two-time major champion is in ninth place and just 61 pins outside of the top five. With 16 games remaining, there's only 95 pins between fifth and 10th place.

Defending champion Dom Barrett of England also advanced to match play. He posted a 2-6 match-play record and currently is 21st in the standings with an 8,316 total. He's looking to make his third U.S. Open telecast since 2015. He was the runner-up that year, falling to left-hander Ryan Ciminelli in the title match.

Competition at the 2019 U.S. Open will resume Tuesday with two additional rounds of matches, beginning at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern.

At the conclusion of the evening block, 56-game pinfall totals, including bonus pins, will determine the five players for the stepladder finals, which will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EDT.

The field this week started with 144 players, all of whom bowled 24 games of qualifying over three days (eight games each day). Each round featured a different oil pattern, and a fourth lane condition was introduced for the cashers' round, match play and championship round.

All rounds leading up to the TV show are being broadcast live at BowlTV.com and simulcast on FloBowling.

The U.S. Open is conducted jointly by the USBC and Bowling Proprietors' Association of America. For complete standings click on https://www.bowl.com/US_Open/US_Open_Home/2019_Results/

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Svensson, Defending Champion Barrett Among Advancers in U.S. Open

by Jerry Schneider October 27, 2019 21:59

By Matt Cannizzaro, USBC Communications

MOORESVILLE, N.C. - Jesper Svensson of Sweden owns eight PBA Tour titles, including one major victory, but he's never made the first cut at the U.S. Open.

All of that changed this week at Victory Lanes as he averaged 212 over 24 games to cruise into the cashers' round at the 2019 event.

The 24-year-old left-hander is one of 36 players from the field of 144 competitors to advance, and he'll enter Monday's eight-game cashers' round in fifth place with a 5,088 total.

Canada's Francois Lavoie, the 2016 U.S. Open champion, maintained his lead for the second consecutive day and tops the standings after three rounds with a 5,246 total, a 218.58 average. Bill O'Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, is second with 5,154 followed by Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois (5,128), and Houston's Shawn Maldonado (5,096).

PWBA champion Maria Jos‚ Rodriguez of Colombia held on for the final spot in the cashers' round with a 4,871 total, a 202.96 average. Rodriguez was one of three women in the field this week. England's Verity Crawley also made the cut, finishing in 14th place with a 4,983 effort.

Competition will resume Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern, and the top 24 players after the cashers' round will move on to round-robin match play, which will get underway Monday at 6 p.m. EDT.

Each round of the 2019 U.S. Open, leading up to the championship round, is being broadcast live on BowlTV.com and simulcast on FloBowling.

CBS Sports Network will have live coverage of the stepladder finals on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. Eastern. The winner will take home the coveted green jacket and a $30,000 top prize.

Defending champion Dom Barrett of England also survived the three-day test and will continue his quest for a second consecutive green jacket.

Barrett qualified 18th overall with a 4,978 total but left Sunday's third round a little frustrated with his performance on the day's 37-foot oil pattern.

The 1,600 total was his lowest performance of the week by 69 pins and didn't give him the momentum he was hoping for, but he knows the next portion of the 56-game event will be a fresh start that requires a clear mind and new game plan.

"The tournament really starts with the cashers' round because you bowl the rest of the way on one pattern," Barrett said. "We survived eight games each day on three different patterns, and now we'll have 32 games on one pattern, so the person who figures that one out will be the one who wins."

The 34-year-old right-hander and seven-time PBA Tour champion posted scores of 1,669 on the event-opening 45-foot oil pattern and 1,709 on the 41-foot condition in the second round.

Their invisible opponent the rest of the way will be 40 feet long, and having made the marathon march on multiple occasions - he also was the runner-up in 2015 - he knows what kind of preparation is required.

"I bowled early today, so I'm going to unwind a bit and take it all in," Barrett said. "I battled and came away with pretty good scores the first couple of days, but today was a bit frustrating. It's over, though, and now it's time to focus on what's next. I've got all day to think about my ball selections for the next part of the event, which is helpful."

Svensson is a much different player than he was when he made his U.S. Open debut during his rookie year on the PBA Tour in 2015, and a focus on improving his versatility paid off this week in North Carolina as he successfully handled the three challenging oil patterns.

"The lanes obviously are pretty tough out there, and I feel like I've been bowling really well physically," said Svensson, who is making his fifth U.S. Open appearance. "When you feel like you're throwing a lot of good shots, it's easy to stay in shape mentally as well. I've had a good week so far, but there's still a long way to go. Right now, just to be able to make it through for the first time at the U.S. Open is a big step forward for me."

Svensson admits that he has struggled in the past when the lanes were a little more challenging, but failing at times along the way showed him the things he needed to work on.

Rather than be defeated, he worked harder, and it showed this week at Victory Lanes, where he improved each day.

In Friday's opening round, Svensson's 1,571 total left him well below the cutline, but he rebounded with consistent sets of 1,758 and 1,759 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to climb the standings

"I've always been such a terrible grinder, so to be bowling well when the lanes are tough makes me very happy, and I feel good for tomorrow," said Svensson, who won the 2016 PBA Tournament of Champions for his first major title. "After a couple of defeats, you realize what you need to work harder on, and versatility definitely is a key here. The different patterns require different strategies and lane play, and I've been focused on getting more versatile. I think if you work hard, it pays off."

Svensson and Barrett are two of 11 international players who made the first cut Sunday, while Svensson is one of three left-handers.

Last year, Barrett became the third foreign-born player to win the U.S. Open, joining Finland's Mika Koivuniemi (2001) and Lavoie (2016). The last southpaw to win the event was Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida, in 2017.

For those who survive the cashers' round and advance to match play at the 2019 U.S. Open, competition will continue through Tuesday night, after which the 56-game pinfall totals, including bonus pins for each win in match play, will determine the five TV finalists

The U.S. Open is the final major championship on the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour schedule and is conducted jointly by the United States Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors' Association of America.

For complete U.S. Open standings and schedule click on https://www.bowl.com/US_Open/US_Open_Home/2019_Results/

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