Butturff Dominates in Match Play to Become Top Qualifier for U.S. Open Stepladder Finals

by Jerry Schneider October 31, 2017 19:42

By Aaron Smith, IBC Communications

Jakob Butturff capped off a dominating performance at the 2017 U.S. Open on Tuesday by earning the top seed for the stepladder finals at Flamingo Bowl.

Joining the 23-year-old left-hander in the stepladder finals are Rhino Page of Orlando, Florida, 2013 U.S. Open champion Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, Graham Fach of Canada, and two-time U.S. Open champion Norm Duke of Clermont, Florida.

The stepladder finals of the 2017 U.S. Open will be broadcast live Wednesday on CBS Sports Network at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. The champion will earn the $30,000 top prize and coveted green jacket.

"My goal at the beginning of the week was just to make the top 24," said Butturff, a two-time Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion. "Being the top seed at the U.S. Open is something more than I could ever ask for. To end up leading against some of the best bowlers on this planet is an amazing feeling, and I really have to thank my family, friends and sponsors for their support."

Butturff shined in match play, averaging more than 228 and posting a 20-4 overall record to lead Page by 617 pins. He finished with a 56-game total of 13,101, including bonus pins. He also went undefeated in his final block of match play.

"In today's game, a strong mental game is a must, especially at the U.S. Open," said Butturff, a Team USA member. "For 56 games, I did my best to just take it one shot at a time and step back and refocus when things didn't go as planned and move on from it. I feel the nerves definitely are going to kick in being the top seed, but if I need to take a second to step back and take a deep breath, I'm going to do it and give it my best effort."

Page moved into second in the position round after defeating Fach, 213-208. Page, a five-time PBA Tour champion, finished with 12,484. Malott dropped from second to third in the position round, posting a 12,438 total.

Fach earned the No. 4 seed with a 12,434 total and will take on Duke, who took the No. 5 seed with 12,397, in Wednesday's opening match.

Butturff and Page each will be in search for their first major championship, while Malott, Fach and Duke will look to add to their collections.

Malott, a 10-time PBA Tour champion, can become the 12th bowler in U.S. Open history to capture the title multiple times, and Fach won his first career PBA Tour and major at the 2016 Barbasol PBA Players Championship.

Duke, a United States Bowling Congress and PBA Hall of Famer, is looking for his 39th national title and eighth major championship. Duke would be the fifth player in tournament history to claim the green jacket three times with a win.

All competitors bowled 24 games of qualifying over three days to determine the 36 players advancing to Monday's cashers' round. After eight additional games, the field was cut to the top 24 players for round-robin match play.

The five finalists for the stepladder finals were determined by total pinfall, including bonus pins, for 56 games.

The U.S. Open is the fourth of five major championships on the 2017 PBA Tour schedule and is conducted jointly by the USBC and Bowling Proprietors' Association of America.

For complete match play results click on http://scores.bowl.com/2017USOpen/MatchPlay3.pdf

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