With eight games remaining in tonight’s final match play round, which gets underway at 6 p.m. ET, the 2019 PBA Players Championship show is starting to take shape as players at the top of the leaderboard are adding some extra pinfall cushion between themselves and those vying for lower seeds.
While Jason Belmonte (+1444), going back to last week’s Tournament of Champions, now has extended his streak of consecutive rounds he has led on the PBA Tour to 10 as he leads second-place Anthony Simonsen by 215 pins, Simonsen (+1229) himself now enjoys a 157-pin lead over D.J. Archer (+1072), who will enter tonight’s match play round in third place. Belmonte has posted a 13-3 match play record while Simonsen has gone 12-3-1 and Archer 13-2-1.
Simonsen, already a five-time PBA Tour champion at age 22, is looking to make his first telecast of a 2019 season that has been challenging for him thus far. He has cashed just once, earning $4,000 for a seventh-place finish in the Lubbock Sports Open. He charged into the top five yesterday when he ascended from 21st to third in the opening round of match play as he won six of his eight matches and tied another.
Rounding out the top five are defending champion Tom Smallwood (+1035) who is 9-6-1 thus far, and 2-time champion Kyle Troup (+1004), who is 9-7-0 to this point.
A cluster of players will enter match play tonight within a hundred pins of the show, including 10-time champ Wes Malott, who is 8 pins out at +996; 2016 PBA Player of the Year E.J. Tackett, who finished runner-up last week in the Tournament of Champions and sits 13 pins off the show at +991; 19-time champion Chris Barnes, who is 48 pins behind Troup at +956, and four-time champion Marshall Kent, who finished third in the TOC last week and will enter match play tonight 94 pins behind fifth-place at -94.
Full standings are available here: https://www.pba.com/PBALiveScoring?TournamentID=2762