BY JEF GOODGER
Jupiter, Fla.—Anthony Simonsen earned a berth in the PBA Players Championship Finals by winning the West Region with a 279 game over fifth-seeded Kris Koeltzow, who averaged 263 in his prior three matches to earn a spot in the final match.
“I had two game plans coming in and it was a matter of which one I was more comfortable with,” said Simonsen. “Because of the way Kris was bowling and his obviously high scoring pace, I thought I was going to have to bowl a really big game, which is why I chose to throw it straighter. I felt like it gave me a little more miss room, at least to the left.”
Simonsen, who earned the top seed by leading the West Region through 28 games of qualifying, struck 11 times in the final match, only failing to do so in the third frame. Unlike Koeltzow’s previous three opponents, who elected for Koeltzow to open the match, Simonsen opted to start.
“I want to strike first,” said Simonsen. “To me, it doesn’t matter how many shows I make, the first strike is the hardest one. Once I get the first one, I can settle in, and I was fortunate for it to work out.”
Making his TV finals debut, Koeltzow climbed the stepladder from the fifth position, knocking out Darren Tang, Jakob Butturff and Wesley Low Jr. along the way. Koeltzow put up scores of 269, 268 and 254 before rolling a 205 against Simonsen.
“I’m happy to be back bowling, especially for a major, and I put a lot of practice in,” said Simonsen. “Something clicked a couple days before the qualifying rounds and I’ve been really comfortable since.”
Simonsen is the first player to advance to the PBA Players Championship Finals, which will feature the winners from all five regions competing for a major championship title and a top prize of $250,000. Simonsen will be attempting to win his third career major title and second Players Championship, which he previously won in 2019.
The PBA Players Championship Finals will air live on FOX Broadcast Channel Feb. 21.
- Anthony Simonsen, advances to PBA Players Championship Finals
- Kris Koeltzow, earns $15,000
- Wesley Low Jr., $13,000
- Jakob Butturff, $11,000
- Darren Tang, $10,000
Match 1 – No. 5 Koeltzow def. No. 4 Tang, 269-245
Match 2 – No. 5 Koeltzow def. No. 3 Butturff, 268-213
Match 3 – No. 5 Koeltzow def. No. 2 Low, 254-226
Match 4 – No. 1 Simonsen def. No. 5 Koeltzow, 279-205
UPCOMING PBA PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP TELEVISION SCHEDULE
Bowlero Jupiter – Jupiter, Fla.
Sunday, Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. ET on FS1 – Southwest Region Finals
Saturday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. ET on FS1 – Central Region Finals
Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. ET on FS1 – East Region Finals
Sunday, Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1 – South Region Finals
Sunday, Feb. 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET on FOX – PBA Players Championship Finals