FAIRLAWN, Ohio (Feb. 9, 2018) – Swedish two-hander Jesper Svensson posted a 5-1-2 record after Friday’s first match play round and averaged 240 to move into the PBA Tournament of Champions lead at AMF Riviera Lanes with one match play round to bowl.
With an 11-3-2 overall record and 8,238 pinfall (including 30 bonus pins for each match win) after two match play rounds, the 2016 Tournament of Champions winner holds a 171–pin lead over four-time Tour winner Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind., in second who led after Thursday’s first match play round. Russell finished the day with an 8,067 pinfall and 10-6 record.
The 24-player match play field will bowl the final eight-game round this evening at 6 p.m. ET to determine the five players who will compete in Sunday’s live stepladder finals on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET.
Matt O’Grady of Rahway, N.J., a four-time regional winner, moved up to third after posting a 7-1 record Friday giving him an 11-5 record overall for two rounds. He bowled the tournament’s second perfect game beating 12-time Tour winner Sean Rash of Montgomery, Ill., 300-278, in the seventh game.
Andrew Anderson, a two-time regional winner, holds the fourth spot with an 8,020 pinfall and 10-6 match play record. One-time Tour winner and 2017 PBA Rookie of the Year Matt Sanders of Evansville, Ind., notched a 11-5 record in match play and is in fifth with a 7,941 pinfall.
Both O’Grady and Anderson advanced to the TOC field through the pre-tournament qualifier. The PTQ enabled players who do not own Tour titles, but have titles in PBA’s other divisions, to earn spots in the field.
Nine-time PBA Tour major champion Jason Belmonte of Australia inched closer to the top five despite an 8-8 match play record for two rounds. He sits sixth with a 7,852 pinfall.
Nearly failing to advance to match play after earning the 24th and final match play spot Thursday, Belmonte has made a steady climb to stay in contention.
Belmonte, who won his fourth Player of the Year crown in 2017, is trying for his 10th PBA major title to tie PBA Hall of Famers Pete Weber and Earl Anthony for the all-time major title record. A win would also make the 2014 and 2015 TOC winner the third player to win the major three times. Jason Couch and Mike Durbin are the other three-time winners.
Using PBA’s traditional head-to-head match play format that advances 24 players from qualifying and awards 30 bonus pins for a match win, 15 players in PBA history have advanced from the 24th match play position to win a tournament. Three have accomplished it in majors.
The Tournament of Champions is the first major of the 2018 Go Bowling! PBA Tour season.
Fans can catch the final round of match play this evening live on PBA’s online bowling channel Xtra Frame. Visit www.xtraframe.tv for schedule and subscription information.
PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
AMF Riviera Lanes, Fairlawn, Ohio, Thursday
Fifth Round Standings (after 34 games. Includes match play record and total pinfall including bonus pins.)
1, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 11-3-2, 8,238.
2, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 10-6, 8,067.
3, Matt O'Grady, Rahway, N.J., 11-5, 8,058.
4, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 10-6, 8,020.
5, Matt Sanders, Evansville, Ind., 11-5, 7,941.
6, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 8-8, 7,852.
7, BJ Moore III, Greensburg, Pa., 10-6, 7,847.
8, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 8-8, 7,838.
9, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 9-7, 7,835.
10, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 7-9, 7,786.
11, Kristopher Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 6-9-1, 7,766.
12, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 8-8, 7,711.
13, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 10-6, 7,659.
14, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 6-10, 7,653.
15, Chris Warren, Grants Pass, Ore., 6-10, 7,645.
16, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 7-8-1, 7,644.
17, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 7-9, 7,627.
17, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 8-8, 7,627.
19, Kyle Sherman, O'Fallon, Mo., 7-8-1, 7,623.
20, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 8-8, 7,610.
21, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 5-11, 7,572.
22, Connor Pickford, Charlotte, N.C., 7-9, 7,475.
23, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, Texas, 5-10-1, 7,472.
24, Kurt Pilon, Warren, Mich., 3-11-2, 7,326.