Simonsen Retains Lead While Belmonte Makes Run in PBA Tournament of Champions After First Round of Match Play

by Jerry Schneider February 6, 2020 19:56

FAIRLAWN, Ohio  – Despite a 4-4 record, seven-time PBA Tour titlist Anthony Simonsen was able to retain his lead in the PBA Tournament of Champions after the first round of match play at AMF Riviera Lanes Thursday but defending champion and fellow two-hander Jason Belmonte made a run to finish the day in eighth.

After earning top qualifier honors earlier in the day to lead 24 players advancing to match play, Simonsen ended the day with a 5,869 26-game pinfall total including 30 bonus pins for each match win. He won matches with games of 226, 235, 238 and 213 and lost with games of 202, 182, 207 and 235.

“It seemed like the lanes just played difficult in general and adjusting pair to pair was tricky,” said the 23-year-old Simonsen. “I felt like I had the pocket under control but it seemed like if I wasn’t striking I was getting splits which made it hard to keep any momentum going.”

Simonsen became the youngest player to win two majors when he defeated Belmonte 232-212 in the title match of the 2019 PBA Players Championship at age 22. He won the 2016 USBC Masters at age 19 to become the youngest to win a major.

In pursuit of a record fourth Tournament of Champions title, Belmonte narrowly made it into match play taking the 24th and final spot by just one pin earlier in the day. After losing his first two matches with games of 197 and 191, he won the next six matches with games of 232, 214, 255, 222, 242 and 247 posting a 6-2 record and finishing the day with a 5,733 pinfall.

It was reminiscent of 2018, when Belmonte took the last match play spot with a seven-pin cushion and proceeded to make a steady climb through the standings to qualify third for the stepladder finals  finishing fourth after losing the second stepladder match to eventual winner Matt O’Grady 229-225.

“You just have to remember that once qualifying ends you’re not even halfway through the tournament so there’s time to make a move,” said the five-time and reigning PBA Player of the Year. “I started using a urethane ball to start the round but that wasn’t working so we tried some things and a couple different balls. Fortunately, I found one that I felt comfortable with and started striking.”

Belmonte’s win in the 2019 Tournament of Champions was his 10th major title which tied Pete Weber and Earl Anthony for first on the all-time list. He won the PBA World Championship for his 11th major win a few weeks later to take sole possession of first on the all-time majors win list.

Rounding out the top five after Thursday’s first match play round were Andrew Anderson, 5,861 (6-2); Bill O’Neill, 5,850 (6-2); Tom Daugherty, 5,786 (4-4) and Dom Barrett, 5,763 (6-1-1).

After the final two rounds of match play Friday at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, the top five will be determined for Sunday’s stepladder finals which will be televised live at 5 p.m. ET on FOX. The winner will earn a $100,000 first prize and a $1 million bonus will be paid if the winner bowls a 300 game in the title match.

Friday’s match play rounds will be streamed live by FloBowling which is also livestreaming the finals to international subscribers.

PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

(a 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Tier 1 event)

AMF Riviera Lanes, Fairlawn, Ohio, Thursday

Fourth Round Standings (Includes total pinfall for 26 games including match play bonus pins. All 24 players return for the second round of match play Friday morning at 11 a.m. ET)

1, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, 4-4, 5,869.
2, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 6-2, 5,861.
3, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 6-2, 5,850.
4, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 4-4, 5,786.
5, Dom Barrett, England, 6-1-1, 5,763.
6, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 4-4, 5,751.
7, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 5-3, 5,735.
8, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 6-2, 5,733.
9, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 4-4, 5,727.
10, AJ Chapman, Manchester, Iowa, 5-3, 5,721.
11, Stuart Williams, England, 4-4, 5,715.
12, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 3-5, 5,705.
13, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 4-4, 5,697.
14, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3-5, 5,696.
15, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo., 2-6, 5,685.
16, Cristian Azcona, Puerto Rico, 3-5, 5,660.
17, Mitch Hupe, Canada, 4-4, 5,640.
18, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 5-3, 5,627.
19, Dick Allen, Lexington, S.C., 5-3, 5,597.
20, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 2-6, 5,564.
21, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 5-3, 5,558.
22, Richard Teece, England, 3-4-1, 5,513.
23, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 2-6, 5,465.
24, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 0-8, 5,188.

Third Round Standings (after 18 games. Top 24 players advanced to first round of match play)

1, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, 4,011.
2, Cristian Azcona, Puerto Rico, 3,954.
3, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 3,951.
4, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 3,932.
5, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3,922.
6, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 3,908.
7, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo., 3,904.
8, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 3,898.
9, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,885.
10, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,870.
11, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 3,864.
12, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 3,848.
13, Stuart Williams, England, 3,831.
14, Richard Teece, England, 3,825.
15, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 3,823.
16, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 3,822.
17, Dick Allen, Lexington, S.C., 3,819.
18, AJ Chapman, Manchester, Iowa, 3,785.
19, Mitch Hupe, Canada, 3,784.
20, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 3,782.
21, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 3,776.
22, Dom Barrett, England, 3,766.
23, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz., 3,764.
24, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,753.

Failed to advance:
25, Jon Van Hees, Charlestown, R.I., 3,752, $2,500.
26, Tom Hess, Granger, Iowa, 3,721.
27, DJ Archer, Spring, Texas, 3,715.
28, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 3,710.
29, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,696.
30, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 3,692.
31, Darren Tang, Las Vegas, 3,689.
32, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,686.
33, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,674.
34, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 3,663.
35, BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., 3,653.
36, (tie) Matthew Ogle, Louisville, Ky., and Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3,644.
38, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,624.
39, Rhino Page, Spokane, Wash., 3,616.
40, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,614.
41, Chris Collins, Myrlte Beach, S.C., 3,606.
41, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 3,606.
43, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 3,591.
44, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,573.
45, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,550.
46, (tie) Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., and Michael Machuga, Erie, Pa., 3,535.
48, Jason Sterner, Rochester, N.Y., 3,511.
49, Matt Sanders, Evansville, Ind., 3,502.
50, Brian Robinson, Morgantown, W.Va., 3,495.
51, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 3,484.
52, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 3,482.
53, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3,481.
54, Anthony Pepe, Long Island City, N.Y., 3,473.
55, Matt O'Grady, Rahway, N.J., 3,466.
56, Ryan Ciminelli, Lancaster, S.C., 3,454.
57, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 3,404.
58, Graham Fach, Canada, 3,338.
59, Carmen Salvino, Schaumburg, Ill., 2,714.

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