ARLINGTON, Texas (Jan. 7, 2020) – Bill O’Neill, a two-time winner in 2019, will defend his PBA Hall of Fame Classic title when the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour season begins with the tournament named in honor of the sport’s immortals Jan. 13-19 at bowling’s International Training and Research Center in Arlington, Texas. The FOX Sports finals will air live on FS1 Sunday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. EST (noon CST).
The 38-year-old O’Neill kicked off the 2019 season with a 199-194 championship match win over top qualifier Jakob Butturff. It marked O’Neill’s 10th career tour title that appropriately made him title-eligible for inclusion on the 2025 PBA Hall of Fame ballot.
In the PBA Tour’s first visit to the ITRC, the FS1 finals telecast marked the debut of its new multi-year television agreement with FOX Sports.
After convincing wins in the second stepladder match against Jesper Svensson (258-219) and semifinal match against 2019 Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte (269-188), O’Neill overcame a slow start and took advantage of two open frames by Butturff later in the finale to win his first singles title in nearly three years.
Belmonte’s third-place finish in the event was the beginning of his journey to a fifth Player of the Year crown, capping a landmark season in which he won the PBA Tournament of Champions and PBA World Championship for his 10th and 11th major titles, respectively, surpassing Hall of Famers Pete Weber and Earl Anthony for the lead on the all-time PBA Tour major titles list.
For the second consecutive season, the Hall of Fame Classic will be the first competition points event in a 13-tournament series where players will pursue 24 berths in the second PBA Playoffs that will be begin in April and will culminate with the PBA Playoffs finals at Bowlero North Brunswick May 16-17 in New Jersey. Kris Prather won the inaugural PBA Playoffs and the $100,000 first prize last June at Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine.
For the Hall of Fame Classic, players will face the added challenge of competing on a dual lane condition scoring environment with the 45-foot Dick Weber lane condition applied to the left lane and the 38-foot Mike Aulby condition to the right lane throughout the event.
Competition begins with an eight-game Pro Tour Qualifier at 2 p.m. CST Monday, Jan. 13 which will determine seven players who will round out the 56-player field for the first six-game round of qualifying on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Half of the field will bowl at 11 a.m. and the other half will bowl at 5 p.m. Qualifying continues with second-round qualifying on Thursday, Jan. 16 also at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. After 12 qualifying games, the top 14 players will advance to match play rounds at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17. Total pinfall, including match play bonus pins, for 26 games will determine the top five for the stepladder finals live on Sunday.
Tickets for the FS1 telecast are available by visiting https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pba-hall-of-fame-classic-tickets-80579570665.
All qualifying and match play rounds will be covered live by PBA’s online livestreaming partner, FloBowling. For subscription and schedule information visit www.flobowling.com. Results also will be posted as they happen on pba.com’s Live Scoring feature.
As part of the PBA Hall of Fame Classic week, Tommy Jones, a 19-time PBA Tour winner, and former PBA owners Mike Slade and Rob Glaser will be inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame during ceremonies Saturday, Jan. 18 at the Arlington Hilton. FloBowling also will livestream the Hall of Fame inductions.
PBA HALL OF FAME CLASSIC SCHEDULE
(A 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour Event)
International Training and Research Center, International Bowling Campus, Arlington, Texas
(All times are Central Standard)
PBA Dual Lane Oiling Pattern: Dick Weber 45 (left lane), Mike Aulby 38 (right lane)
Monday, Jan. 13
2 p.m. – PTQ (8 games)
Tuesday, Jan. 14
11 a.m. – Squad A practice session
2 p.m. – Squad B practice session
Wednesday, Jan. 15
11 a.m. – Squad A, 6 qualifying games
5 p.m. – Squad B, 6 qualifying games
Thursday, Jan. 16
11 a.m. – Squad B, 6 qualifying games
5 p.m. – Squad A, 6 qualifying games
Top 14 after 12 games advance to match play
Friday, Jan. 17
11 a.m. – Match play round 1 (7 games)
5 p.m. – Match play round 2 (7 games)
Top 5 after 14 games advance to stepladder finals
Saturday, Jan. 18
6:30 p.m. - PBA Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremonies at Arlington Hilton.
Sunday, Jan. 19
Noon (1 p.m. ET) – Stepladder finals, live on FS1