Tuesday on CBS Sports Network: Indiana’s EJ Tackett Meets Australia’s Jason Belmonte in Main Event PBA Tour Finals Championship Match

by Bill Vint June 26, 2017 09:03

ORLANDO, Fla. – Reigning PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., will meet Australia’s Jason Belmonte in the three-game total pinfall match to decide the title in the inaugural Main Event PBA Tour Finals, the Professional Bowlers Association’s newest showcase event, Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. EDT on CBS Sports Network.

The PBA Tour Finals will air following a one-game contest between Group One runner-up Jesper Svensson of Sweden and Group Two runner-up Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., to decide third- and fourth-place in the elite eight-player tournament. Tackett and Belmonte earned their berths in the title match as the winners of the Group Two and Group One stepladder rounds leading up to the finale.

Tackett and Belmonte, two of five players in the PBA’s 58-year history to win both Rookie and Player of the Year awards, have met twice previously in title matches with Belmonte winning both times. Belmonte defeated the previously undefeated Tackett in the title match of the 2014 USBC Masters in North Brunswick, N.J., 221-177, and later in the same year, beat Tackett in the PBA Oklahoma Open title match in Shawnee, Okla., 193-145.

Entering the championship match, Tackett and Belmonte also are early leaders in the 2017 PBA Player of the Year competition as two-time titlists. Tackett won the DHC Japan Invitational in January and the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions in February. Belmonte won his seventh and eighth PBA major championships in the Barbasol PBA Players Championship followed by the USBC Masters two weeks later where he became the Masters’ first four-time winner.

At stake in the PBA Tour Finals title match is a $30,000 first prize plus a third 2017 PBA Tour title for the winner.

Each of the CBS Sports Network telecasts will be re-broadcast. Check your local listings for times and dates.

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Kris Prather Averages 239 to Lead Qualifying in PBA Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial Open

by Bill Vint June 24, 2017 17:08

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Florida native Kris Prather, newly-relocated to Plainfield, Ill., averaged 239 for eight games Saturday to lead the top 24 qualifiers into Sunday’s final rounds in the Professional Bowlers Association’s Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial Open presented by Chris Hardwick at Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes.

Prather, a former Wichita State University collegiate star who is trying for his first title, fired games of 199, 289, 206, 244, 193 and 223 before closing his round with games of 168 and 290 for a 1,912 total and a 70-pin lead over 40-year-old PBA Tour veteran Mike Wolfe of New Albany, Ind. Wolfe is a five-time PBA Tour titlist; Prather, 25, is trying for his first title in his third year as a touring pro.

Australia’s Sam Cooley was third with 1,794 pins followed by Dick Allen of Columbia, S.C., at 1,792 and Cody Shoemaker of Hanover, Pa., with a 1,786 total.

The Hardwick Open is a “throwback” tournament named in honor of the late PBA Hall of Famer. It presents players with a one-of-a-kind challenge, requiring all bowlers to compete with only two polyester plastic bowling balls which lack the aggressive hooking power of contemporary high-tech balls.

The parity created by the plastic ball restriction was evident at the “cut” number where Johnathan Bower of Middletown, Pa., and amateur Mykel Holliman of Collierville, Tenn., tied for the last advancing spot for Sunday’s cashers round with 1,663 pins, a modest 207.8 average. Another 11 players were within 30 pins of the cut number.

The tournament is one of nine PBA Xtra Frame events in 2017 season that are being covered live in their entirety, exclusively by PBA’s Xtra Frame live streaming service, which is seen by bowling fans around the world. For Xtra Frame subscriptions, visit xtraframe.tv. Subscription packages are available for three days ($2.99), 30 days ($7.99) and a full year (about $1.25 a week).

Sunday’s finals will begin with a four-game cashers round at 8 a.m. CDT, followed by the top 16 players advancing to three-game single-elimination match play rounds at 11 a.m. (qualifiers 9-16), 1:30 p.m. (winners plus qualifiers 5-8), and 4 p.m. (winners plus qualifiers 1-4). The four survivors will bowl a one-game match at 6:30 p.m., with the top two scores advancing to the one-game championship match at 7 p.m. All times are Central


presented by Chris Hardwick

Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes, Memphis, Tenn., Saturday

Final Qualifying Standings (after 8 games)

1, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla., 1,912.
2, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 1,842.
3, Sam Cooley, Australia, 1,794.
4, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 1,792.
5, Cody Shoemaker, Hanover, Pa., 1,786.
6, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,753.
7, Isaac Kim, Lebanon, Pa., 1,739.
8, n-Wesley Low Jr., Palmdale, Calif., 1,730.
9, Trevor Roberts, Crystal River, Fla., 1,729.
10, Jeff Evans, Supply, N.C., 1,727.
11, Zulmazran Zulkifli, Malaysia, 1,724.
12, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 1,723.
13, Brian LeClair, Delmar, N.Y., 1,720.
14, Francois Louw, South Africa, 1,719.
15, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 1,706.
16, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,705.
17 (tie), Matt Sanders, Evansville, Ind., and n-Tommy Berish III, Cordova, Tenn., 1,683.
19, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,674.
20, Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 1,672.
21, Kim Bolleby, Thailand, 1,670.
22, AJ Chapman, Wichita, Kan., 1,668.
23 (tie), Johnathan Bower, Middletown, Pa., and n-Mykel Holliman, Collierville, Tenn., 1,663.

Failed to advance:

25, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,659.
26, Pontus Andersson, Sweden, 1,656.
27, Stoney Baker, Canton, Ga., 1,655.
28, Shota Kawazoe, Japan, 1,653.
29, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 1,650.
30, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,648.
31, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 1,638.
32, n-Michael Brewer, Memphis, Tenn., 1,636.
33, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 1,633.
34, Graham Fach, Canada, 1,625.
35, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo., 1,623.
36, Matt Taylor, Youngsville, N.C., 1,615.
37, n-Vic Culbreth, Cordova, Tenn., 1,614.
38, Kristian Sieradzki, Seminole, Fla., 1,607.
39, Adam Monks, Conway, S.C., 1,606.
40, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 1,601.
41, CJ Kirchner, Herrin, Ill., 1,600.
42 (tie), David Krol, Nixa, Mo., and n-Kamron Doyle, Brentwood, Tenn., 1,579.
44, n-Jeff Atkins, Hot Springs Village, Ark., 1,563.
45 (tie), Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, and Mark Smith, Memphis, Tenn., 1,562.
47, n-Christopher Forrester, Memphis, Tenn., 1,554.
48, Michael Houtz, Myerstown, Pa., 1,548.
49, Ramon Hilferink, Netherlands, 1,544.
50 (tie), Zachary Wright, Roseburg, Ore., and Thomas Berish Jr., Cordova, Tenn., 1,542.
52, n-Ross Jenner, Collierville, Tenn., 1,523.
53 (tie), n-Michael Brownlee, Memphis, Tenn., and Tommy Martin, Olive Branch, Miss., 1,522.
55, Christian Smith, Cordova, Tenn., 1,503.
56, n-David White, Collierville, Tenn., 1,500.
57, Wendell Barger, Dry Ridge, Ky., 1,499.
58, n-Rudy Kasimakis, Baldwyn, Miss., 1,491.
59, Christopher Sloan, Ireland, 1,482.
60, n-Richard Howell, Collierville, Tenn., 1,478.
61, Seth Hillis, Lebanon, Tenn., 1,476.
62, n-John Rutigliano, Cordova, Tenn, 1,467.
63, n-Tim Hartigan, Tupelo, Miss., 1,456.
64, n-Chucky Minter, Jackson, Tenn., 1,450.
65, n-Kenneth Corley, Memphis, Tenn., 1,428.
66, n-Josh Turberville, Tupelo, Miss., 1,402.
67, n-Chris Goodwin, Southaven, Miss., 1,396.
68, n-Danny Schubert, Byhalia, Miss., 1,392.
69, n-Matt Hartigan, Tupelo, Miss., 1,378.
70, n-Jimbo Martin, Covington, Tenn., 1,356.
71, n-Tim Parlow, Memphis, Tenn., 1,341.
72, Mark Payne Sr., Amarillo, Texas, 1,339.
73, n-Russ Wheeler, Memphis, Tenn., 1,336.

n-denotes non-member.

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PBA Spare Shots: Will Tommy Jones Remove Wes Malott’s Crown in Pay-Per-View King of Bowling Duel?

by Bill Vint June 23, 2017 13:07

The question of the week is, can Wes Malott retain his “King of Bowling” crown one more time against a sure-fire future PBA Hall of Famer, South Carolina’s Tommy Jones?

In an online vote, PBA fans selected Jones – an 18-time PBA Tour titlist, former Rookie and Player of the Year – as Malott’s opponent for the next chapter of PBA’s King of Bowling challenge series. The exclusive best-of-three-game Xtra Frame pay-per-view match will take place Monday at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., prior to the start of PBA’s Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Oklahoma Open.

The pay-per-view match will begin with a pre-game show at 7:40 p.m. EDT on Monday with the match starting at 8 p.m. It’s easy to sign up and costs only $2.99. All money generated from PPV fees will be awarded as prize money to the winning bowler. (Xtra Frame subscribers please note: this is a special event and is not included in your subscription package).

To sign up, click here: http://www.xtraframe.tv/#!liveevent?EV_pid=3794

Malott, nicknamed “Big Nasty” and “Sir Strikes-a-Lot,” has successfully defended his King of Bowling crown six consecutive times, dating back to the original series held at Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales, Fla., in 2009. Most recently he won the revival of the competition in April in Portland, Maine, where he rolled a 721 series to defeat reigning PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett (664) and Australia’s Jason Belmonte, PBA Player of the Year the three previous years (640). Malott’s victims in Lake Wales included, in order: Chris Barnes, 268-214; Patrick Allen, 258-234; Walter Ray Williams Jr., 300-238; Rhino Page, 257-233, and Parker Bohn III, 300-223.

PBA Hall of Famer Randy Pedersen will man the Xtra Frame announce booth and Chris Barnes, the first player Malott dispatched to start his winning streak, will work the event as Xtra Frame’s “sideline reporter.” Barnes will be in the settee with the players asking them questions before, during and after the match.


Headlining Xtra Frame’s upcoming live streaming schedule will be the “throwback” PBA Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial Open presented by his son, Chris Hardwick, from Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes in Memphis, Tenn., Saturday and Sunday, followed by qualifying round coverage of the PBA Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Oklahoma Open from FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., June 27-30.

Two days of live ESPN coverage of the Oklahoma Open’s nine-player stepladder finals is set for Saturday and Sunday, July 1-2, at 1 p.m. EDT both days. Live ESPN coverage also will be available on ESPN and the WatchESPN app.

The Hardwick Memorial Open, which will limit all players to using two low-tech polyester plastic bowling balls for the duration of the tournament, is the sixth PBA Xtra Frame Tour event of the season, offering a $10,000 first prize and a PBA Tour title if the winner is a PBA member.

This week’s PWBA Tour coverage focuses on the qualifying and match play rounds of the Go Bowling PWBA Players Championship from The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in Green Bay, Wis. today and Saturday, leading to the live CBS Sports Network stepladder finals Sunday at 10 a.m. CDT. Coverage of PWBA’s Orlando Open will follow June 30-July 1.

Xtra Frame’s July schedule includes the Teen Masters from Richmond, Va., July 5-7; the PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open from Seminole, Fla., July 7-8; the Proprietors Cup from Beavercreek, Ohio, July 8-9; the Nationwide PWBA Rochester (N.Y.) Open, July 14-15; the PBA50 South Shore Open from Hammond, Ind., July 25-27; the XF Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles from Copperfield Bowl in Houston, Texas, July 28-30, which will award PBA and PWBA Tour titles; and the PBA50 Dave Small’s Championship Lanes Classic from Anderson, Ind., July 30-Aug. 1. For broadcast time and other details, check under the “schedules” tab on pba.com.

Xtra Frame subscription packages are available for three days, 30 days and a full year. To sign up, visit xtraframe.tv for details.

PBA fans also can follow real-time results for PBA50, PBA Xtra Frame Tour and all PBA Regional events by visiting the “live scoring” feature on pba.com. PWBA live scoring is available on pwba.com.


Due to the re-scheduling of World Bowling Men’s World Championships and end-of-year World Bowling Tour events in the Middle East, the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals presented by the PBA have been added to the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IX ESPN television schedule.

The WBT Finals, featuring the three men and three women who are leading PBA International-World Bowling Tour points lists at the end of the PBA World Championship in Reno, will be held following the PBA World Championship stepladder finals at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno on Sunday, Nov. 19.

WBT points events yet to be contested include the Sweden WBT in Malmo, Sweden, Aug. 14-28, and the Thailand WBT in Bangkok, Sept.30-Oct.

Construction of a new Kuwait Bowling Center in Kuwait City has been delayed, forcing World Bowling to move its Men’s World Championship to the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas, Nov. 24-Dec. 4, following PBA’s WSOB IX in Reno. The Kuwait construction issue also led to the cancellation of planned WBT events in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. World Bowling has awarded the 2021 World Championships to Kuwait.


Bob Hileman of Portage, Ind., a three-time PBA Midwest Region Pat Patterson Award winner, has been named recipient of the 2017 Jim Jaryszak Laneman Award by the United States Bowling Congress Equipment Specifications and Certifications team in recognition of his behind-the-scenes work as a laneman.

“It was a total surprise,” said Hileman, who competed in 205 PBA Regional events, winning his only title in Raytown, Mo., in 2002. “I’m deeply honored and humbled at the same time. Jim Jaryszak and I were very good friends, and I miss him dearly. To have my name associated with all the lanemen in the world – Lenny Nicholson, John Davis, everyone – I’m quite honored.”

Hileman has been the laneman at Stardust Bowl II in Merrillville, Ind., for more than 35 years. He was instrumental in running PBA national and regional events held at Stardust Bowl, including the PBA Tour Trials. He earned his Pat Patterson Awards for individual contributions toward the PBA Midwest Region program.

Past recipients include Sam Baca, the PBA’s first Director of Lane Maintenance; Kegel founder John Davis, and PBA Tour titlist John Forst, who died hours after receiving his award in 2016 of circumstances related to terminal brain cancer. Len Nicholson, also a former PBA director of lane maintenance and a member of the PBA Hall of Fame, was the first recipient of the award.


Darren Andretta of New Hyde Park, N.Y., defeated Matt O’Grady of Rahway, N.J., 258-230, to win the PBA Homefield Bowl Open presented by MOTIV at Homefield Bowl in Yonkers, N.Y., Sunday.

The win, his first in seven years of membership, proved a perfect Father’s Day gift to his father Bob. His father, also a PBA member, arrived during the match play finals along with the rest of the Andretta family.

Andretta, who earned $3,000, compiled a 10-2 match play record to qualify second. He defeated Jon Van Hees of Charlestown, R.I., 257-209, in the semifinal match to advance to the championship game. Van Hees eliminated defending champion Billy Asbury of Odenton, Md., 224-205, in the preliminary match.

Brian Menini from Brookfield, Mo., thwarted David Beres’ bid for his eighth PBA Regional title, 258-172, and won the second annual Glo Bowl Midwest Open, presented by Samuel Adams and Global 900, in Marengo, Ill.

The match turned in Menini’s favor when he converted the 3-4-6-7 split in the sixth frame. Beres was unable to string strikes and when he left a 7 pin in the ninth frame, Menini doubled in the 10th to claim his second PBA Regional title and the $2,300 winner’s check.

Menini, who finished qualifying in eighth place, defeated top qualifier AJ Johnson of Oswego, Ill., 3-1, in the best-of-five-game Round of 8 and earned his way to the championship match by defeating Nathan Michalowski of Brookfield, Wis., 2-0, in the best-of-three semifinal round. Beres advanced by defeating Christopher Hill of Franklin, Wis., 3-1, in the Round of 8 and defending champion Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, 2-0, in the semifinal round.

Greg Young of Viera, Fla., rallied to defeat Orlando’s Shawn Naumann, 195-247, 258-236, 234-177, in a best-of-three-game championship match between amateur players to win the PBA Timmy See Memorial South Open presented by MOTIV at Nassau Bowling Lanes in Yulee, Fla., Sunday.

Young, a former three-time Junior Team USA member, earned $2,500 for the win but he doesn’t get credit for a PBA title because he’s a non-member.

In the semifinal round, Young defeated Brandon Curtis of Manson, N.C., 2-1, while Naumann also rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Jeff Evans of Supply, N.C., 2-1, in the semifinal round.

Craig Nidiffer of Trenton, Mich., defeated Matt Sanders of Evansville, Ind., 279-268, to win the PBA Greater Marion Central Open presented by MOTIV at BlueFusion Fun Center in Marion, Ohio, Sunday. Nidiffer claimed his fourth career PBA region title along with the $2,500 first prize.

Sanders defeated Kyle Cook of Centerville, Ohio, 289-247, to advance to the championship match. In the first stepladder match, Cook downed J.R. Raymond of Clinton Twp., Mich., 235-216.

● A busy schedule of PBA Regional events is on tap for the June 23-24 weekend, including the Pro Bowl West Central/Midwest Challenge presented by Roto Grip in Fort Wayne, Ind.; the PBA50 Ultimate Inserts Midwest Open presented by Hammer at Lakeside Lanes in Davis, Ill., and the PBA/PBA50 Sands Regency Doubles presented by MOTIV at High Sierra Lanes in Reno, Nev.

● The June PBA Regional calendar closes and July begins with the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Southwest Doubles at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., on June 30, preceding the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort PBA Oklahoma Open. Also scheduled for the June 30-July 2 weekend is the PBA and PBA50 Vanessa Brown Homes West Opens, both presented by Columbia 300 at Yosemite Lanes, in Modesto, Calif.

● For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area.

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Bowling Proprietors, PBA Join Hands to Create Go Bowling! PBA Tour

by Bill Vint June 22, 2017 13:43

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In a landmark partnership between bowling organizations, the Professional Bowlers Association and Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America have announced that GoBowling.com will be the umbrella sponsor of the Go Bowling! PBA Tour between December 2017 and July 2018, with an option to renew for an additional year.

The partnership was announced by BPAA Executive Director Frank DeSocio, BPAA President Nancy Schenk and PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark during International Bowl Expo in Nashville, Tenn.

As part of the partnership agreement, The Go Bowling! PBA Tour will be showcased on 18 ESPN telecasts, beginning with programming from the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IV in Reno in December, and extending through July 2018 to include five CBS Sports Network telecasts. Additionally, The Go Bowling! PBA Tour will have a significant presence on at least eight PBA Xtra Frame Tour events in 2018, all of which will be live-streamed exclusively via PBA’s online bowling channel.

“This partnership gives GoBowling.com a full-year marketing platform to talk to bowlers and non-bowlers through the PBA Tour,” DeSocio said.

“The more people who go bowling, the more we all benefit,” Schenk added. “That’s what we’re looking to achieve.”

GoBowling.com, created by BPAA as the go-to website for millions of Americans looking for a place to go bowling, has been recently revamped to provide an even stronger connection between bowlers young and old, novice or professional, worldwide, providing news, tips, videos, contests and promotional offers as well as the sport’s most comprehensive guide to help people find information about more than 1,800 BPAA-member bowling centers across America.

“Working together with GoBowling.com, Strike Ten Entertainment and BPAA bowling centers to promote the PBA is great for the game and illustrates positive bowling industry unity,” Clark said.  "We appreciate BPAA Executive Director Frank DeSocio, BPAA President Nancy Schenk and the entire board’s shared vision that investing in the PBA and promoting the sport together will make for a spectacular year.

"The PBA is experiencing an electrifying surge of young talent while the greats of the game continue to contend from event to event, making for interesting events and historic accomplishments on the lanes, Clark added. “We can’t wait to get started."

As part of the partnership, the Go Bowling! message will receive a wide variety of additional benefits, including:

● Commercial spots, billboards and signage during PBA telecasts and on all Xtra Frame events;

● Title sponsorship for two PBA Tour events to be determined, plus presenting sponsorship of the 2018 Chris Paul CP3 Celebrity Invitational;

● Sponsorship of a PBA League team;

● Logo identification on six top PBA Tour players;

● Introduction of a new Go Bowling! fan engagement segment during each telecast;

● Extensive exposure to mainstream news media and PBA’s global social media audience through all aspects of the PBA Network.

Another special benefit will be subscriptions to PBA’s Xtra Frame online video subscription service to any BPAA-member bowling center that requests a subscription, courtesy of Strike Ten Entertainment. The pre-paid subscriptions will allow participating bowling centers to provide their customers with hundreds of hours of exclusive programming, including preliminary rounds of all PBA and PWBA Tour events, start-to-finish coverage of the PBA50 Tour and PBA Xtra Frame Tour tournaments, and much more.

At BPAA’s option, the Go Bowling! PBA Tour program may be renewed for an additional year.

About GoBowling.com
GoBowling.com is the destination for bowling fans and enthusiasts seeking news and information about one of America’s favorite pastimes and the nation’s number one participatory sport.  With more than 67 million people taking to the lanes every year, GoBowling.com is a one-stop location where people of all ages can go to satisfy their love of bowling. Consumers turn to GoBowling.com every day to find bowling fun – discovering new bowling centers, tips and tricks to use on the lanes, event news and great deals at more than 1,800+ family-friendly bowling centers across the country.

About BPAA
Founded in 1932, the mission of Bowling Proprietors' Association of America (BPAA) is to enhance the profitability of its members.  Headquartered in Arlington, Texas at the International Bowling Campus, the BPAA provides it's over 3,500 member centers with group purchasing programs, business and educational seminars, legislative representation and proactively promotes the association and bowling industry.  For additional information please visit www.bpaa.com or call 1-800-343-1329.

About the PBA

The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is an organization of more than 3,000 of the best bowlers from 27 countries who compete in PBA Tour, PBA International Tour, PBA Regional Tour, PBA Women’s Regional and PBA50 Tour events. The PBA is in its 58th consecutive year of nationally-televised competition, reaching bowling fans around the world who follow PBA activities through the PBA Network which includes Xtra Frame, the PBA’s exclusive online bowling channel, ESPN and CBS Sports Network, and the PBA on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. PBA sponsors include Barbasol, Brunswick, Ebonite International, GEICO, GoBowling.com, Grand Casino Hotel and Resort, HotelPlanner.com, Main Event Entertainment, MOTIV, 900 Global, PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to www.pba.com.

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Tackett, Belmonte to Meet in Main Event PBA Tour Finals Title Match

by Jerry Schneider June 20, 2017 20:22

EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., dominated the Group Two finals match against Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., setting up a showdown with Australia’s Jason Belmonte to decide the title in the inaugural Main Event PBA Tour Finals at Main Event Entertainment.

The Group Two finals aired Tuesday on CBS Sports Network. The Main Event PBA Tour Finals will air next Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. EDT.

Tackett, PBA’s reigning Player of the Year and a seven-time PBA Tour title winner at age 24, soundly defeated Jones in a two-game, total pinfall match, 470-396, to advance to the championship match along with Belmonte, who eliminated Sweden’s 22-year-old Jesper Svensson, 482-479, in the Group One final match.

The Main Event PBA Tour Finals is a new event featuring the top eight PBA members in total earnings over the past 30 months, divided into two pods of four players for a combination of round-robin match play and stepladder matches. Belmonte earned his place in the elite field of eight by leading all PBA players in total earnings over the past two-and-a-half years with $352,967 while Tackett was second with $319,690.

While Belmonte had to dispatch three opponents, including Svensson, to win the Group One berth in the finals, Tackett only had to beat one player, but Jones appeared poised to pull off the same kind of upset Belmonte accomplished. After struggling through the four-game match play portion of the event, Jones came into the Group Two stepladder round as the no. 4 qualifier. In the opening match, Jones nipped no. 3 Dom Barrett of England, 214-212, when Barrett left the 4-7-10 split in the 10th frame for his only mistake in the match.

Fueled by his good fortune in match one, Jones was nearly perfect in the semifinal match against no. 2 qualifier Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, N.Y., winning, 290-248. Jones’ only flaw was leaving a 10 pin in the first frame, which he converted.

It looked like Jones was going to continue his torrid pace against Tackett in the two-game final match, striking on four of his first five shots to take a 31-pin lead after five frames. But then he missed a 10 pin in the sixth frame and failed to convert the 3-4-6-7 split in the sixth. Tackett missed a 4 pin in his fourth frame, but then threw six consecutive strikes to erase his deficit and take a 26-pin lead after game one, 236-210.

Tackett then blew the match open, starting game two with four strikes while Jones couldn’t solve the changing lane conditions. Two big splits resulted in open frames for Jones and Tackett rolled to a 234-186 win to lock up his berth in the Main Event PBA Tour Finals championship match, where he’ll face an adversary he has yet to beat in a nationally-televised title match.

“I bowled a good game against Ryan (Ciminelli) and then EJ broke the lanes down a little different,” Jones said. “His rev rate is so high and I moved right into his traffic, and from there I didn’t make very good choices.”

“We both had our struggles but I was able to figure it out a little better than Tommy. That’s the way it is sometimes,” Tackett said. “I wound up playing a little deeper than him – maybe just a board or two – but it was enough to make him start guessing a little bit. A couple of shots got a little high, but at that point it was just a matter of making better shots.”

Belmonte, a nine-year PBA Tour veteran at age 33, was PBA Player of the Year three straight years before Tackett ended his streak in 2016. The Australian two-handed star owns 14 PBA Tour titles including eight majors. One of the majors was the 2014 USBC Masters when he defeated the top-seeded Tackett in the title match. Belmonte also defeated Tackett, the no. 1 qualifier, in the 2014 Oklahoma Open title match.

Going into the Main Event title match, Belmonte and Tackett have each won two titles in 2017. In addition to a $30,000 first prize, one of the two will become the PBA Tour’s first three-title winner in 2017 and take an early edge in the PBA Player of the Year race heading into the second half of season.


Main Event, Orlando, Fla., (aired Tuesday on CBS Sports Network)

Group Two Stepladder Round:

Match One (loser earns $3,000): Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., def. Dom Barrett, England, 214-212.

Match Two (loser earns $3,000): Jones def. Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 290-248.

Group Two Final Match (two games, total pinfall): EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind. (236-234) def. Jones (210-186), 470-396. (Tackett advances to the championship match; Jones advances to the third- and fourth-place match).

Championship Finals Pairings (to air on CBS Sports Network on June 27 at 9:30 p.m. EDT)

Third-Fourth Place Match: Jesper Svensson vs. Tommy Jones.

Championship (three games, total pinfall): Jason Belmonte vs. EJ Tackett.

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