BY JEF GOODGER
Defending champion Kyle Troup qualifies as the No. 4 seed in the East Region
Major champions Graham Fach (East), Sean Rash (Midwest), Dom Barrett (Southwest), Tommy Jones (South) and Jakob Butturff (West) will lead their respective regions into the PBA Players Championship Regional Finals. After 28 games of qualifying, the top five players from each region earned a spot in the telecasts that begin airing on Fox Sports’ FS1 Saturday, January 22.
The East Region features three former Players Championship winners, led by 2016 champion Fach, who averaged 234 and also posted the highest score of all players in all regions. 2020 champion Bill O’Neill is seeded third and 2021 champion Kyle Troup earned the fourth seed in an attempt to defend his title. Joining them are two players looking for their first titles: fifth seed Patrick Dombrowski and second seed Brandon Runk, the 2021 PBA East Region Rookie of the Year.
Sean Rash, a 17-time PBA Tour champion including two majors, clinched the top seed in the Midwest Region in the final game of qualifying, passing No. 2 seed AJ Johnson, who is attempting to win his first title. EJ Tackett, who owns two majors among 14 career titles, earned the third seed, followed by 2021 PBA Rookie of the Year Matthew Russo and Bailey Mavrick, who is competing in his first ever national PBA Tour event.
Two-time major winner Dom Barrett led the Southwest Region and is joined by Arturo Quintero, five-time PBA Tour champion (three majors) François Lavoie, Brad Miller and Kyle Sherman. Both Quintero and Miller are seeking their first PBA Tour titles and Sherman is attempting to win his first since 2019. Lavoie finished third in last season’s Players Championship after winning the Southwest Region.
Tommy Jones is one of two PBA Hall of Famers in the South Region finals, taking the top spot ahead of No. 2 seed Norm Duke. The Players Championship is the only major to elude Duke over his legendary career, and if he can claim the title, he’ll become the third player in PBA history to win the Super Slam of all five majors, joining Mike Aulby and Jason Belmonte. Two players seeking their first PBA Tour titles—David Stouffer and Toby Sambueno—own the third and fourth seeds, respectively, and two-time winner DJ Archer jumped into the fifth spot with a clutch final game of qualifying.
Seven time champion (one major) Jakob Butturff dominated the competition in the west to take the top seed, followed by PBA Tour champion Jake Peters, who is making his return to full-time competition in 2021. Wesley Low Jr. is the third seed and one of just five players (along with Troup, O’Neill, Lavoie and Butturff) to qualify for the regional finals two straight years. The all-time record holder in PBA Tour majors with 13, Belmonte sits fourth and is attempting to win the Players Championship for the third time. If he can do it, he’ll become the first player ever to win four different majors on three separate occasions. Rookie Cortez Schenck, bowling in his first PBA Tour event as a member, rolled 250 in his final game of qualifying to secure the No. 5 seed.
PBA Players Championship Television Schedule
Bowlero Euless – Euless, Texas
All telecasts on FS1
January 22 at 4 p.m. ET – East Region
January 22 at 6 p.m. ET – South Region
January 23 at 4 p.m. ET – Midwest Region
January 23 at 6 p.m. ET – Southwest Region
January 24 at 7 p.m. ET – West Region
January 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET – PBA Players Championship Finals
East Region Stepladder Finalists
Bowlero West End – Richmond, Va.
- Graham Fach
- Brandon Runk
- Bill O’Neill
- Kyle Troup
- Patrick Dombrowski
South Region Stepladder Finalists
AMF University Lanes – Tampa, Fla.
- Tommy Jones
- Norm Duke
- David Stouffer
- Toby Sambueno
- DJ Archer
Midwest Region Stepladder Finalists
AMF West Lanes – Milwaukee, Wis.
- Sean Rash
- AJ Johnson
- EJ Tackett
- Matthew Russo
- Bailey Mavrick
Southwest Region Stepladder Finalists
AMF Garland Lanes – Garland, Texas
- Dom Barrett
- Arturo Quintero
- François Lavoie
- Brad Miller
- Kyle Sherman
West Region Stepladder Finalists
Bowlero Cerritos – Cerritos, Calif.
- Jakob Butturff
- Jake Peters
- Wesley Low Jr.
- Jason Belmonte
- Cortez Schenk