FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions – EJ Tackett Wins FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions

EJ Tackett Wins FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions

Tommy Jones’ 10th frame error helps PBA’s 2016 Player of the Year collect second major title
 
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Feb. 19, 2017) – EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., had four chances to throw doubles to take the lead, but in the end, he won his second Professional Bowlers Association major title in the 52nd FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions Sunday at FireLake Arena thanks to an unexpected error by his opponent.
 
Tackett, at age 24, defeated 18-time PBA Tour champion Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., 208-203, when Jones left and failed to convert the 1-2-4-10 “washout” in the 10th frame.
 
Tackett, who won the 2016 PBA World Championship in December for his first major, was certain he had lost the TOC title after he failed to double in the 10th frame.
 
“I knew if I doubled in the 10th, I’d force Tommy to strike on the right lane,” Tackett said. “But I never in a million years expected that. Tommy has been so good in situations like that his entire career, I didn’t think I had a chance. I was in total shock.”
 
After winning the DHC PBA Japan Invitational to start the year, the TOC victory gives Tackett a very early edge in defending his 2016 PBA Player of the Year title. But, he said, “it’s not even something to think about. It’s way too early and we have way too many tournaments to go.
 
But Tackett has demonstrated he has the skill and the confidence to stay at the top of the PBA’s elite.
 
“I do belong out here,” he said. “I feel like I’m  going to do it, and you’re going to have to beat me. It’s not arrogance, it’s just a level of confidence I’ve never had.”
 
In the opening match, Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., ended Pete Weber’s bid for a PBA-record 11th major championship, 223-203. Tied at 163 after eight frames, Smallwood finished the match first, throwing four strikes and forcing Weber to do the same to tie and force a roll-off. But the 54-year-old Weber, from St. Ann, Mo., left the 1-2-4-10 on his opening shot of the 10th frame to end the match.
 
England’s Dom Barrett then eliminated Smallwood, 235-202, striking on seven of his first eight shots to build an insurmountable lead after Smallwood left splits he couldn’t covert in the first and fourth frames.
 
Jones advanced to the title match, defeating Barrett in the semifinal match, 248-216, rolling a late string of six strikes to overcome Barrett’s early eight-pin lead.
 
PBA players begin competition in the United States Bowling Congress Masters, PBA’s third consecutive major championship in February, on Tuesday at The Orleans Bowling Center in Las Vegas. The Masters qualifying rounds will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to determine the 63 players who will join defending champion Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, in the three-game, double-elimination match play rounds Friday and Saturday. The stepladder finals will air live on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 1 p.m. ET.
 
All qualifying and match play rounds of the Masters will be live streamed on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel. Visit xtraframe.tv for subscription information. Sunday’s finals also will be live streamed on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
 
FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Sunday
 
Final Standings
1, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., $50,000.
2, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., $25,000.

3, Dom Barrett, England, $13,000.

4, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., $11,000.

5, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., $10,000.
 
Stepladder Results:
Match One – Smallwood def. Weber, 223-203.
Match Two – Barrett def. Smallwood, 235-202.
Semifinal Match – Jones def. Barrett, 248-216.
Championship – Tackett def. Jones, 208-203.
 
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is an organization of more than 3,200 of the best bowlers from 27 countries who compete in PBA Tour, PBA International Tour, QubicaAMF 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, Grand Casino Hotel and Resort, HotelPlanner.com, L.L. Bean, MOTIV, 900 Global, PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, QubicaAMF, South Point Hotel Casino and Spa, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to www.pba.com.

EJ Tackett Leads Top Five into Sunday’s FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions Finals

PBA’s young Player of the Year hopes to ride newfound confidence to another title
 
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Feb. 18, 2017) – Professional Bowlers Association Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., will lead the field of five finalists into the 52nd FireLake Professional Bowlers Association Tournament of Champions stepladder finals live on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET after an intense final qualifying round Saturday that saw 10 players within reach of the TV show going into the final game.
 
The only thing that was decided going into the final qualifying game was that Tackett, a 24-year-old rising star, had locked up the top berth in Sunday’s finals, and 18-time PBA Tour winner Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., had safely clinched second place. Tackett averaged 238 for the 39-game qualifying portion of the tournament, finishing with a total of 9,294 pins and a 49-pin lead over Jones.
 
Behind those two, the leader board re-shuffled throughout the round before England’s Dom Barrett locked up the third spot; Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., rolled a 258 final game to knock Australia’s Jason Belmonte out of the show; and PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., held on by the tips of his fingernails for the fifth berth in the finals, finishing six pins ahead of fellow hall of famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla.
 
Tackett, who won the PBA Players Championship in December to crown his Player of the Year performance, came into the Tournament of Champions after a disappointing 58th-place finish in last week’s Barbasol PBA Players Championship.
 
“It was one of those weeks,” Tackett said. “I thought I bowled pretty well, but I didn’t match up. It was just a case of bad ball reaction.”
 
He righted his ship in Shawnee after a modest start.
 
“My score the first day wasn’t a lot but the second day I got the right ball in my hand and started striking,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I did anything different than last week, but I threw a lot of strikes. That’s how this week went.”
 
Tackett made the TOC finals in 2016, but lost in the opening match to Tom Daugherty of Riverview, Fla., 231-221.
 
“I bowled a good game, but I got out-bowled. Not much you can do about that,” Tackett said. “Hopefully it’ll work out better this year. I’ve been able to get on some shows lately, and performed well. I know I can win, so that does a lot for my confidence. Hopefully I can apply that tomorrow and come out with a win.”
 
Sunday’s first match will pit Smallwood, the 2010 PBA World Champion and 2011 TOC runner-up, against Weber, who will be trying for a PBA-record 11th career major title. Weber, the only player ever to complete the PBA Triple Crown twice, won his first TOC in 1987 and became the oldest player ever to win the event when he won again in Indianapolis in 2012 at age 50 years, 222 days. He is tied with the late Earl Anthony for the most PBA major titles.
 
Barrett, a four-time PBA Tour winner, won his only major in the 2013 PBA World Championship.
 
In addition to the live telecast on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, the finals also will be live streamed simultaneously on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
 
PBA players now head west to The Orleans in Las Vegas for the United States Bowling Congress Masters, the third consecutive major championship on PBA’s “Big February” schedule. Masters gets underway with qualifying rounds Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to determine the 63 players who will join defending champion Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas, in the three-game, double-elimination match play rounds Friday and Saturday. The stepladder finals will air live on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 1 p.m. ET.
 
All qualifying and match play rounds of the Masters will be live streamed on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel. Visit xtraframe.tv for subscription information. Sunday’s finals also will be live streamed on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
 
FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Saturday
 
Final Qualifying Standings (after 39 games)
1, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 9,294.
2, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 9,245.

3, Dom Barrett, England, 9,156.

4, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 9,131.

5, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 9,115.
Other Cashers (after 39 games):
6, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 9,109, $7,000.

7, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 9,090, $5,500.

8, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 9,078, $5,000.

9 (tie), Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 9,071, and Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 9,071, $4,300.

11, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 9,047, $3,800.

12, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 9,038, $3,600.

13, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 9,031, $3,400.

14, BJ Moore III, Greensburg, Pa., 8,977, $3,300.

15, Stuart Williams, England, 8,972, $3,200.

16, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 8,959, $3,100.
 
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is an organization of more than 3,200 of the best bowlers from 27 countries who compete in PBA Tour, PBA International Tour, QubicaAMF 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, Grand Casino Hotel and Resort, HotelPlanner.com, L.L. Bean, MOTIV, 900 Global, PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, QubicaAMF, South Point Hotel Casino and Spa, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to www.pba.com.

Stars Rise to Top in FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions

Hall of Famers Norm Duke, Pete Weber remain in contention for prestigious major title
 
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Feb. 17, 2017) – Pending the final eight qualifying games in the 52nd FireLake Professional Bowlers Association Tournament of Champions Saturday morning, Sunday’s live ESPN finals are setting up to become an instant classic.
 
After a string of six consecutive major championships won by players 25 or younger, Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte, 33, ended the streak last week when he won the Barbasol PBA Players Championship for his seven career major title.
 
In Shawnee, players at the head of the pack following Friday’s fourth qualifying round were a group of PBA superstars including emerging star EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., 24, PBA’s 2016 GEICO Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year and winner of the 2016 PBA World Championship. Tackett averaged ??? for his first 31 games for 7,439 pins and a 58-pin lead over 38-year-old 18-time PBA Tour winner Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., the 2007 TOC champion.
 
Also in the thick of the race for Sunday’s finalists were 52-year-old Norm Duke, who ranks third on the list of all-time PBA Tour title winners (38): 54-year-old Pete Weber, a 37-time PBA Tour title winner and co-holder of the record for most major titles (10) with the late Earl Anthony and European star Dom Barrett of England.
 
Also in the mix for Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET stepladder finals, which will be held on specially-constructed pair of lanes in FireLake Arena, are 2016 TOC top qualifier Mitch Beasley, 38, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran; 2010 PBA World Champion Tom Smallwood; 2015 PBA Rookie of the Year Marshall Kent, and 11-time Tour titlist Sean Rash, the 2012 TOC winner.
 
The top 16 players after 31 games will bowl a final eight-game qualifying round Saturday at 10 a.m. ET to determine the top five for Sunday’s live ESPN finals at 1 p.m. ET.
 
Fans can follow scoring as it happens on pba.com’s Live Scoring feature. All qualifying rounds also are covered live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video streaming service. To subscribe, visit xtraframe.tv. The live stepladder finals will air on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, and will be live streamed simultaneously on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
 
FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Friday
 
Fourth Round Standings (after 31 games)
1, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 7,439.
2, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 7,381.

3, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 7,377.

4, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 7,337.

5, Dom Barrett, England, 7,311, $100.

6, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 7,259.

7, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 7,254.

8, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 7,198.

9, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 7,183.

10, Stuart Williams, England, 7,179.

11, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 7,169.

12, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 7,159.

13, BJ Moore III, Greensburg, Pa., 7,152.

14, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 7,139.

15, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 7,097.

16, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 7,095.
Other Cashers (after 31 games):
17, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights, Mo., 7,084, $2,700.

18, Jason Sterner, Rockledge, Fla., 7,058, $2,600.

19, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 7,054, $2,600.

20, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 7,043, $2,400.

21, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 7,012, $2,300.

22, Matthew O’Grady, Rahway, N.J., 7,007, $2,200.

23, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 6,986, $2,100.

24, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 6,844, $2,000.
Failed to advance (after 23 games):
25, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 5,206.
26, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 5,200.

27, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 5,197.

28, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 5,183.

29, Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas, 5,181.

30, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 5,179.

31, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 5,176.

32, Ronnie Sparks Jr., Redford, Mich., 5,172.

33, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 5,161.

34, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 5,121.

35, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 5,108.

36, Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 5,107.

37, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 5,087.

38, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 5,085.

39, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz, 5,079.

40, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 5,060.

41, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 5,057, $100.

42, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 5,052.

43, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 5,049.

44, Darren Tang, San Francisco, 5,046.

45 (tie), Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, and Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., 5,029.

47, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 5,001.

48, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 4,992.

49, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 4,978.

50, Mike Bailey, Irving, Texas, 4,966.

51, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 4,948.

52, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 4,947.

53 (tie), Graham Fach, Canada, and Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 4,944.

55, Blake Demore, Springfield, Mo., 4,934.

56, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 4,913.

57 (tie), Paul Brewbaker II, Midwest City, Okla., and Connor Pickford, Plano, Texas, 4,897.

59, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 4,885.

60, w-Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 4,881.

61, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 4,879.

62, w-Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 4,845.

63, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 4,835.

64, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 4,817.

65, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 4,664.

66, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., withdrew.
 
300 Games: Bill O’Neill, EJ Tackett, Pete Weber.
 
w-denotes woman
 
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is an organization of more than 3,200 of the best bowlers from 27 countries who compete in PBA Tour, PBA International Tour, QubicaAMF 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, Grand Casino Hotel and Resort, HotelPlanner.com, L.L. Bean, MOTIV, 900 Global, PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, QubicaAMF, South Point Hotel Casino and Spa, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to www.pba.com.

Tommy Jones Hopes to End 10-Year “Majors” Dry Spell as FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions Leader

PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber remains in contention in bid for 11th major title
 
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Feb. 16, 2017) – Ten years after winning his second Professional Bowlers Association major title in the 2007 Tournament of Champions, Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., was in position to end his “majors” dry spell in the 52nd FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions.
 
Jones, a 38-year-old 18-time PBA Tour title winner, averaged 240 for the first 16 qualifying games at FireLake Bowling Center to take the second round lead Thursday by 19 pins over PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., who is trying for a PBA-record 11th major title.
 
Weber missed an opportunity a week ago when he fell four pins short of making the stepladder finals in the Barbasol PBA Players Championship in Columbus, Ohio.
 
Jones, who won the 2006 U.S. Open for his first major title, rolled games of 279, 196, 279, 243, 191, 232, 244 and 247 in Thursday’s eight-game round to finish with 3,848 pins. With 23 more qualifying games on tap Friday and Saturday, Jones was in a good position to reach Sunday’s live ESPN stepladder finals, but he wasn’t taking anything for granted.
 
“Scores are pretty high, so early in the round you can play the right side of the lane and depending on which players you follow (as you move across the 24-lane bowling center), you have to change equipment to match up with the conditions as they change,” Jones said. “I had to change balls six times to stay ahead of the moves, but because there are only 12 pairs of lanes at FireLake, you kinda know what to expect because year after year, the characteristics of each pair of lanes don’t change that much.
 
“I threw a lot of strikes, but I had quite a few open frames, too,” he added. “You can’t afford opens when scores are like this, so that’s something I need to work on.
 
“We’re not halfway done yet, so the goal is to stay ahead of the moves and keep striking. At this point, you have to think game to game, pair to pair and not worry about anything else.”
 
After two rounds, the leader board also included 37-time PBA Tour titlist and Hall of Famer Norm Duke of Clermont, Fla., in third place with 3,824 pins; last year’s qualifying leader Mitch Beasley of Clarksville, Tenn., in fourth with 3,804 pins and 2016 GEICO PBA Player of the Year EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., in fifth place with 3,799 pins. England’s Dom Barrett was 17 pins behind Tackett, but defending champion Jesper Svensson of Sweden was in danger of missing Friday’s cut, sitting in 60th place.
 
Friday’s schedule includes a seven-game qualifying round for all players, after which the top 24 based on 23-game pinfall totals will advance to a fourth eight-game qualifying round Friday night. The top 16 after 31 games will bowl a final eight-game qualifying round Saturday morning to determine the top five for Sunday’s live ESPN finals at 1 p.m. ET.
 
Fans can follow scoring as it happens on pba.com’s Live Scoring feature. All qualifying rounds also are covered live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video streaming service. To subscribe, visit xtraframe.tv. The live stepladder finals will air on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, and will be live streamed simultaneously on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
 
FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Thursday
 
Second Round Standings (after 16 games)
1, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 3,848.
2, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 3,829.

3, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3,824.

4, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 3,804.

5, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 3,799.

6, Dom Barrett, England, 3,772.

7, Jason Sterner, Rockledge, Fla., 3,750.

8, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights,, Mo., 3,748.

9 (tie), Matthew O’Grady, Rahway, N.J., and Stuart Williams, England, 3,745.

11, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 3,726.

12, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 3,719.

13, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 3,710.

14, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 3,708.

15 (tie), Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, and Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 3,686.

17, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,679.

18 (tie), DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, and Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 3,675.

20, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 3,659.

21, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 3,658.

22 (tie), BJ Moore III, Greensburg, Pa., and Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 3,648.

24, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 3,634.

25, Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas, 3,626.

26, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 3,613.

27, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 3,612.

28, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3,598.

29, Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 3,591.

30, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 3,585.

31, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 3,582.

32, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 3,581.

33, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 3,575.

34, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 3,573.

35, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 3,571.

36, Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., 3,568.

37, Ronnie Sparks Jr., Redford, Mich., 3,566.

38, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 3,565.

39, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 3,563.

40, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 3,551.

41, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 3,539.

42 (tie), Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., and Francois Lavoie, Canada, 3,538.

44, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz, 3,512.

45, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 3,509.

46, Connor Pickford, Plano, Texas, 3,504.

47, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 3,475.

48, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 3,468.

49, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 3,459.

50, w-Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 3,451.

51, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 3,443.

52 (tie), Darren Tang, San Francisco, and Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 3,439.

54, Mike Bailey, Irving, Texas, 3,413.

55, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 3,409.

56, Graham Fach, Canada, 3,397.

57, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 3,393.

58 (tie), Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., and Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 3,385.

60, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 3,375.

61, w-Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 3,369.

62, Paul Brewbaker II, Midwest City, Okla., 3,360.

63, Blake Demore, Springfield, Mo., 3,353.

64, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 3,308.

65, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 3,292.

66, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 3,265.
 
300 Games: Pete Weber, Kyle Troup, Sean Rash, Matt O’Grady, Jakob Butturff, Dom Barrett.
 
w-denotes woman
 
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is an organization of more than 3,200 of the best bowlers from 27 countries who compete in PBA Tour, PBA International Tour, QubicaAMF 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, Grand Casino Hotel and Resort, HotelPlanner.com, L.L. Bean, MOTIV, 900 Global, PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, QubicaAMF, South Point Hotel Casino and Spa, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to www.pba.com.

Late-Bloomer Mitch Beasley Leads FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions

18-time PBA Tour winner Tommy Jones trails by nine pins after first qualifying round
 
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Feb. 15, 2017) – Mitch Beasley, who didn’t begin chasing his Professional Bowlers Association dreams seriously until after a 20-year career in the U.S. Air Force, rolled into the first round lead in the 52nd FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions at FireLake Bowling Center Wednesday, averaging 243 to take an early nine-pin lead over 18-time PBA Tour titlist Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C.
 
Beasley, who came within a game of winning the Tournament of Champions a year ago, rolled games of 215, 222, 278, 279, 260, 260, 213, 211 and 268 for a 1,946 pinfall total, taking the lead with a strike in the 10th frame of his final game.
 
“I like it here. I’m always comfortable here,” the 48-year-old Clarksville, Tenn., resident said. “I have a lot of friends around, and I got lucky today. I started with a couple small games and then I switched to the ball I used last year and shot back to back 270 games. I’m a little slow sometimes.”
 
Last year, Beasley came into the Tournament of Champions with a résumé of 18 PBA Regional titles over two decades of bowling part-time while in the military, and he dominated at FireLake Bowling Center, racing away to the top berth for the stepladder finals only to lose to Sweden’s 20-year-old Jesper Svensson in the title match, 226-177.
 
Beasley finally won his first PBA Tour title in the Chameleon Championship presented by HotelPlanner.com during the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VIII in Reno in December, but he hasn’t forgotten the 2016 TOC finale, held on a special pair of lanes installed in FireLake Arena, that was watched by a live ESPN audience of one million viewers.
 
“I definitely have some unfinished business here,” he said. “I just hope to make the show. It wasn’t fun watching the train wreck last year. I think guys who bowled before me threw a total of one strike in three games on left lane. I just couldn’t figure out what to do. To have that kind of performance last year after setting the TOC match play record, it was tough.
 
“It’s not like it’s only happened to me,” he added. “That kind of thing has happened to a lot of guys over the years. I Just hope to shore up a couple of the bad shots I made early today and if I can improve just a bit each day, I’ll have a chance to make the TV finals and take care of unfinished business.”
 
Jones sat in second place with 1,937 pins, 17 ahead of Jason Sterner of Rockledge, Fla. PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., was fourth with 1,894 pins and Sean Lavery-Spahr of Pasadena, Texas, was fifth, 10 pins behind Bohn.
 
The entire field of PBA tournament winners will bowl its second eight-game qualifying round Thursday. After a seven-game qualifying round early Friday, the top 24 after 23 games will advance to a fourth eight-game qualifying round Friday night, with the top 16 then bowling their final eight qualifying games Saturday morning to determine the top five for Sunday’s live ESPN finals at 1 p.m. ET.
 
FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Wednesday
 
First Round Standings (after 8 games)
1, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 1,946.
2, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 1,937.

3, Jason Sterner, Rockledge, Fla., 1,920.

4, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 1,894.

5, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 1,874.

6, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 1,859.

7, Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 1,852.

8, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 1,850.

9, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 1,849.

10, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 1,845.

11, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 1,844.

12, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 1,842.

13 (tie), Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, and Dom Barrett, England, 1,839.

15, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 1,838.

16, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 1,824.

17, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 1,816.

18, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 1,815.

19, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., 1,813.

20, Stuart Williams, England, 1,810.

21, Matthew O’Grady, Rahway, N.J., 1,809, $100.

22, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 1,804.

23, AJ Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 1,792.

24, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz, 1,790.

25, Connor Pickford, Plano, Texas, 1,787.

26, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 1,786.

27 (tie), Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., and Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, 1,784.

29, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 1,779.

30, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 1,774.

31, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 1,773.

32, w-Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 1,767.

33, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 1,762.

34, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 1,761.

35, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 1,759.

36 (tie), Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., and Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 1,756.

38, Graham Fach, Canada, 1,754.

39, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights,, Mo., 1,752.

40, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 1,749.

41, Mike Bailey, Irving, Texas, 1,745.

42, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 1,734.

43, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 1,733.

44, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 1,730.

45, Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., 1,728.

46, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 1,725.

47, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 1,722.

48 (tie), BJ Moore III, Greensburg, Pa., and Osku Palermaa, Finland, 1,718.

50, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 1,717.

51, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 1,716.

52, w-Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 1,713.

53, Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas, 1,701.

54, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 1,698.

55, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 1,681.

56, Ronnie Sparks Jr., Redford, Mich., 1,676.

57, Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 1,659.

58, Darren Tang, San Francisco, 1,652.

59, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 1,633.

60, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 1,620.

61, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 1,608.

62, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 1,596.

63, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 1,591.

64, Blake Demore, Springfield, Mo., 1,586.

65, Paul Brewbaker II, Midwest City, Okla., 1,553.

66, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 1,547.
 
300 Game: Matt O’Grady.
 
w-denotes woman
 
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) is an organization of more than 3,200 of the best bowlers from 27 countries who compete in PBA Tour, PBA International Tour, QubicaAMF 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, Grand Casino Hotel and Resort, HotelPlanner.com, L.L. Bean, MOTIV, 900 Global, PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game, QubicaAMF, South Point Hotel Casino and Spa, Storm Products and the United States Bowling Congress, among others. For more information, log on to www.pba.com.

 

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