ARLINGTON, Texas – It took EJ Tackett a gold-medal performance in the 2018 World Bowling Men’s Championships just to sneak into the World Bowling Tour Men’s Finals, and then it took a clutch 10th-frame strike to lock up a one-pin victory over top qualifier Anthony Simonsen at the International Training and Research Center.
The WBT Men’s and Women’s Finals, presented by the PBA, aired Sunday on FS1, concluding a year-long global competition. Liz Johnson of Palatine, Ill., won the women’s title, defeating top qualifier Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, N.Y., 246-223, for her first WBT Finals win in six tries.
Tackett, who made his WBT Men’s Finals debut after winning the all-events gold medal in the World Bowling Men’s Championships in Hong Kong, eliminated England’s Stuart Williams in another single-pin thriller, 243-242, before spoiling Simonsen’s 22nd birthday, 233-232, in the title match.
The WBT Finals again used World Bowling’s experimental “current frame” scoring system where a strike counted for 30 pins, a spare counted for 10 plus the first-ball count, and an open frame counted for actual pins knocked down. The 10th frame counted the same as all other frames.
Tackett, who led Simonsen by 11 pins after eight frames, left the 4-6-10 split and opened in the ninth to open the door for the young Texas two-hander, who bowled the match using a reverse-hook technique from the left side of the lane. Simonsen, who won the 2018 PBA Xtra Frame Gene Carter’s Pro Shop Classic in Delaware using the “backup ball” technique, converted the 8 pin for a spare in the ninth to close to within a single pin. The Little Elm, Texas resident then struck in the 10th frame to force Tackett to also strike for the win.
“This format is interesting because when you get to the 10th frame, you know you only have one shot,” Tackett said. “You have one chance to do it right, and fortunately, I threw a good shot. It’s absolutely another nice title to have on my resumé.”
Johnson, who made the women’s finals for the sixth time in the event’s eight-year history, eliminated Poland’s Daria Pajak in the first match, 242-235, and threw six strikes in 10 frames in denying McEwan a third women’s title.
“Every title is special. This was my sixth WBT show, but this is my first win,” the 24-time PWBA titlist said. “Two years ago I had a chance (in the title match against McEwan), but I threw a pocket 7-10 in the 10th and lost by three pins, so that’s the closest I’ve been to winning.
“To qualify for the finals again, I really wanted to try my best,” she added. “This is not an easy format. I knew I only needed eight pins in the 10th to win, but I wanted to get as many as I could (she struck). The scoring system is different, but it’s an honor to be part of it.”
For rules and information about the 2019 World Bowling Tour schedule, visit: https://www.worldbowling.org/events-results/world-bowling-tour/
2019 WORLD BOWLING TOUR MEN’S AND WOMEN’S FINALS PRESENTED BY PBA
International Training and Research Center, Arlington, Texas (aired March 10 on FS1)
(The event used the experimental World Bowling ”current frame” scoring system: strike = 30, spare = 10 plus first ball count; open = actual pinfall; 10th frame is one frame only)
WBT WOMEN’S FINALS
Final Standings: 1, Liz Johnson, Palatine, Ill., $12,500. 2, Danielle McEwan, Stony Point, N.Y., $7,500. 3, Daria Pajak, Poland, $5,000.
Stepladder Results: Match One – Johnson def. Pajak, 242-235. Championship – Johnson def. McEwan, 246-223.
WBT MEN’S FINALS
Final Standings: 1, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., $12,500. 2, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, $7,500. 3, Stuart Williams, England, $5,000.
Stepladder Results: Match One – Tackett def. Williams, 243-242. Championship – Tackett def. Simonsen, 233-232.