Final Four Emerge in PBA Playoffs, Live Finale Set to Air on FOX June 1 and 2

by Jerry Schneider, Professional Bowlers Association 0

PORTLAND, Maine (May 27, 2019) – With wins by No. 6 seed Sean Rash and No. 7 seed Bill O’Neill in their Round of 8 matches that aired Monday on FS1, the stage has been set for the historic PBA Playoffs semifinal round matches that will be televised live on FOX on Saturday, June 1, leading into Sunday’s championship finals at Bayside Bowl.

O’Neill and Rash will join No. 4 seed Anthony Simonsen and No. 9 seed Kris Prather in the Race to 2 Points format semifinal matches at Noon ET with the winners advancing to the championship match on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The winner will take home $100,000, the richest prize of the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season.

In Monday’s first Round of 8 contest, O’Neill, the winner of the season-opening PBA Hall of Fame Classic, beat fellow 10-time Go Bowling! PBA Tour winner No. 15 seed Wes Malott in both games of the Race to 2 Points match – 229-217 and 246-202 – to advance to the semifinals.

In the first game, the 37-year-old O’Neill recovered from a 4-6-7-10 split and an open in the third frame to defeat Malott.

“I could feel myself rushing and was having a little trouble trying to calm down,” said O’Neill. “I was confident in my ball reaction but had to keep telling myself to settle down so I could focus on making good shots.  In the Round of 16 against Jesper (Svensson) I learned that lesson. The crowd and atmosphere here just get you so amped up which adds to the normal pressure you experience to win the match.

“It been a super season so far,” O’Neill said of his journey to the semifinals. “With the help of my dad I’ve put in a lot of work in the offseason and it’s obviously paid off. I’ve had a great support system all around to get to this point so I’m confident I’ll be as prepared as I can be when we come back.”

In the second match, No. 14 seed Dom Barrett won the first game over Rash 226-205, and seemed to be in control in the second game after starting with a spare and six straight strikes, but an eight count and spare in the eighth frame provided a hard-charging Rash with an opportunity to come back for the win. Down by 21 in the fourth frame, Rash reeled off seven strikes to take the second game 268-253 to force the ninth and 10th frame roll-off. Rash completed the comeback victory in the roll-off with four strikes and the maximum 60 pins to Barrett’s 40 to advance to the semifinals.

“I was just concentrating on filling frames and hoped it was enough to beat a great player,” said Rash, who won the Mark Roth-Marshall Holman Doubles Classic with Matt Ogle for his 13th tour win earlier this season. “If I hit the pocket and didn’t strike, I had to re-group and make sure I made the spares.

“I had two bad shots in the first game and I paid the penalty for both of them,” Rash continued. “In the second game I made a decision to move right and could have bowled a 180 or 280. Fortunately, I was closer to 280 and was able to carry that momentum into the roll-off.

“The season’s been a little frustrating with some highs and lows, but right now things are good and I’m looking forward to coming back to Bayside Bowl to make some history.”

Rash, who earned a first-round bye advanced to the Round of 8 with a win against No. 11 Kyle Sherman in the Round of 16. O’Neill, who also earned a bye, advanced by beating No. 23 Jesper Svensson in the Round of 16.

The journey to the PBA Playoffs semifinals started in January with the PBA Hall of Fame Classic. After 13 Go Bowling! PBA Tour tournaments – including three majors – the top 24 players on the PBA Playoffs points list earned berths in the Playoffs and a trip to Bayside Bowl for Round of 24, 16 and 8 matches that aired on FS1 over the past eight weeks.

To view a PBA Playoffs bracket click on

https://www.pba.com/Content/Images/playoffs/2019_PBA_Playoff_Bracket.pdf

PBA PLAYOFFS ROUND OF 8 RESULTS

Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine

(aired Monday on FS1. Race to 2 Points format. Winners advance to semifinals. Losers earn $8,000)

Match One

No. 7 Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa. def. No. 15 Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 2-0

Game 1 – O’Neill def. Malott, 229-217 (one point earned for O’Neill).

Game 2 – O’Neill def. Malott, 246-202 (one point earned for O’Neill).

Match Two

No. 6 Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill. def. No. 14 Dom Barrett, England, 2-1

Game 1 – Barrett def. Rash, 226-205 (one point earned for Barrett).

Game 2 – Rash def. Barrett, 268-253 (one point earned for Rash).

Roll-off - Rash won roll-off 60-40 (one point earned for Rash).

PBA PLAYOFFS SEMIFINAL AND CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH SCHEDULE

Bayside Bowl, Portland, Maine (Race to 2 Points format, live on FOX)

June 1 (Noon ET)

Match One - Anthony Simonsen vs. Kris Prather.

Match Two – Bill O’Neill vs. Sean Rash.

June 2 (12:30 p.m.) – Simonsen-Prather winner vs. O’Neill-Rash winner.

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