LAS VEGAS – Ten-time Go Bowling! PBA Tour winner Bill O’Neill and seven-time tour winner Jakob Butturff led their respective groups after the qualifying rounds of the Barbasol PBA Tour Finals presented by Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa Saturday to earn the top seeds for Sunday’s stepladder rounds at Red Rock Lanes. Both qualifying rounds aired live on the CBS Sports Network.
In the two two-game total pinfall rounds that used a round-robin format conducted over four lanes on the PBA 42-foot Mark Roth lane condition pattern, O’Neill, the 2019 PBA Playoffs runner-up, led the Group 1 round with a 983 four-game pinfall total to earn the top seed for Sunday’s Group 1 stepladder. He bowled games of 280, 233 in the first round and 234 and 236 in the second round to earn the top seed.
O’Neill will be joined in the Group 1 stepladder by No. 2 seed 2017 PBA Tour Finals winner EJ Tackett, 981; defending PBA Tour Finals champion No. 3 seed Jason Belmonte, 950, and 2019 PBA Playoffs winner No. 4 seed Kris Prather, 850.
“Each pair of lanes played totally different for me but I was able to make smart adjustments and if I had a good shot on a particular pair I was able to take advantage of those opportunities.” said O’Neill, who won the season-opening PBA Hall of Fame Classic for his 10th tour title. “My philosophy heading into match play is just as it was for today and that is to keep an open mind so I can get a good read on how the lanes are playing and continue to make good adjustments.
Butturff, a three-time tour winner this season, led Group 2 with a 998 pinfall on games of 237 and 266 in the first round and 268 and 227 in the second round. He will be joined in the Group 2 stepladder by No. 2 seed Anthony Simonsen, 862; Marshall Kent, 823, and 2018 PBA Player of the Year Andrew Anderson, 813.
“You just take what is given you,” said the 25-year-old Butturff. “I was fortunate that I was able to stay focused and really able to bowl my game today. There wasn’t anything really tricky or surprising for me and that allowed me to keep the momentum I had from the first two games going into the second round.”
Sunday’s Group 1 stepladder on the CBS Sports Network will get underway at 3 p.m. ET and the Group 2 stepladder will get underway at 5 p.m. The winners of each stepladder round will then meet in the championship round at 7 p.m. for the title.
The final match of each group’s stepladder will be a “race to 2 points” match with each game worth one point and, if the two games are split, the final point is awarded by a 9th and 10th frame roll-off. The two group winners will then meet in another “race to 2 points” championship match that will also use a 9th and 10th frame roll-off should there be a tie after two games.
The eight players earned their berths in the PBA Tour finals by finishing in the top eight in GoBowling! PBA Tour points over the past two seasons ending with the 2019 USBC Masters in April.
BARBASOL PBA TOUR FINALS
Presented by Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
Red Rock Lanes, Las Vegas, Saturday
(four-game pinfall totals determine seedings for Sunday’s Group 1 and Group 2 stepladder rounds that will determine the two finalists for the championship round)
Group 1 Standings
1, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 983
2, EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 981
3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 950
4, Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 850
Group 2 Standings
1, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 998
2, Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, 862
3, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 823
4, Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 813