ALLEN PARK, Mich. (March 20, 2019) – With seven career top-five finishes over the past two seasons without a win, Kris Prather of Plainfield, Ill., finally made it to the winner’s circle Wednesday by winning the PBA Scorpion Championship for his first career Go Bowling! PBA Tour title.
The 27-year-old Prather defeated stepladder finals top qualifier BJ Moore of Greensburg, Pa., 200-190, in the title match of the third tournament of PBA World Series of Bowling X at Thunderbowl Lanes.
After five frames in the title match, Prather held a 10-pin lead over Moore, who was also trying for his first tour win, when he left the 4-10 split in the sixth frame on a seemingly good hit.
“I didn’t have a clue what happened there because it was a pretty good shot as far as I was concerned,” said Prather. “It could have been a turning point in the match but there was still time to get back on track. I decided after that shot the best thing to do was move a little further left and create a little more angle to the pocket and that turned out to be a good adjustment.”
Prather’s previous best tour finish was third which he had achieved four times.
“Even though I wasn’t winning, I was fortunate to achieve small breakthroughs in my game over the past 18 months,” Prather said. “That was a good thing because I didn’t want to go backwards. I could still find something positive to take away from those (top five) finishes even though I didn’t win.”
Moore, whose best previous finish was second in the 2016 Scorpion Championship, earned the top seed for the finals with a 224 game in a seeding round to open the live FS1 telecast. Ten-time tour winner Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa., earned the No. 2 spot with 215, followed by Prather, 212, and three-time tour winner Kyle Troup of Taylorsville, N.C., 194.
In the first stepladder match, Prather beat Troup 222-208 to advance to the semifinal match against O’Neill. Prather doubled in the 10th frame to beat O’Neill 198-190 to advance to the title match against Moore.
As was the case with the first two animal pattern events, the four finalists survived Round-of-16 and Round-of-8 best-of-five elimination rounds earlier Wednesday after qualifying rounds bowled last week to advance to the telecast. The finals were conducted on PBA’s 42-foot Scorpion lane condition.
In the Round-of-8, Prather swept two-hander Anthony Simonsen of Little Elm, Texas, 3-0, and beat PBA Hall of Famer Norm Duke, 3-2, in the Round-of-16 which included a 300-211 match win in the last game.
The focus of WSOB X now swings to the stepladder finals of the PBA World Championship which will be televised live Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.
As the World Championship top qualifier, four-time PBA Player of the Year Jason Belmonte of Australia, who won the Chameleon Championship Tuesday for his 20th career tour title, will try for a record 11th major win in the third major of the season.
The finals will also include O’Neill and Moore who qualified third and fifth, respectively, for the finals. The No. 2 qualifier is Matt McNiel of Minneapolis and the No. 4 qualifier is five-time tour winner Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Ariz.
A $1 million bonus will be paid if Belmonte or his opponent can bowl a 300 game in the title match.
WSOB X wraps up with the USA vs. The World team competition which will be televised Friday also at 8 p.m. on FS1.
PBA SCORPION CHAMPIONSHIP
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich., Wednesday
1, Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., $20,000
2, BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., $10,000
3, Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pa., $7,000
4, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., $6,000
Seeding Round – Moore, 224; O’Neill, 215; Prather, 212; Troup, 194.
Match 1 – Prather def. Troup, 222-208.
Semifinal – Prather def. O’Neill, 198-190.
Championship – Prather def. Moore, 200-190.
Round-of-8 (winners advance to championship round. Best-of-five matches, losers earned $3,000)
Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., def. Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 3-1 (189-203, 245-211, 176-175, 211-139).
Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., def. Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, 3-0 (222-171, 234-166, 235-201).
Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., def. EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., 3-2 (189-258, 268-190, 226-220, 211-249, 206-192).
BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., def. Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 3-1 (226-203, 244-200, 197-219, 212-205).
Round-of-16 (winners advance to Round-of-8. Best-of-five matches, losers earned $1,500)
Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., def. Nathan Bohr, Austin, Texas, 3-1 (279-233, 186-218, 221-164, 233-177).
EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Ind., def. Matt Kuba, Chicago Ridge, Ill., 3-2 (264-174, 224-232, 209-265, 245-175, 237-186).
Thomas Larsen, Denmark, def. Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 3-2 (202-242, 249-186, 265-257, 227-247, 215-206).
BJ Moore, Greensburg, Pa., def. Jason Belmonte, Australia, 3-0 (258-243, 236-190, 209-175).
Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas, def. Marshall Kent , Yakima, Wash., 3-2 (187-182, 197-198, 276-204, 195-258, 237-223).
Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., def. Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 3-2 (211-218, 199-244, 205-196, 279-247, 300-211).
Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., def. Kurt Pilon, Sterling Heights, Mich., 3-2 (245-258, 261-258, 214-215, 214-211, 255-195).
Shawn Maldonado, Houston, def. Andrew Anderson, Holly, Mich., 3-2 (199-263, 254-188, 186-236, 268-155, 247-237).
300 games – Kris Prather