Stars Rise to Top in FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions

by Bill Vint, Professional Bowlers Association 0

SHAWNEE, Okla. (Feb. 17, 2017) – Pending the final eight qualifying games in the 52nd FireLake Professional Bowlers Association Tournament of Champions Saturday morning, Sunday’s live ESPN finals are setting up to become an instant classic.

After a string of six consecutive major championships won by players 25 or younger, Australian two-handed star Jason Belmonte, 33, ended the streak last week when he won the Barbasol PBA Players Championship for his seven career major title.

In Shawnee, players at the head of the pack following Friday’s fourth qualifying round were a group of PBA superstars including emerging star E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind., 24, PBA’s 2016 GEICO Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year and winner of the 2016 PBA World Championship. Tackett took a 58-pin lead over 38-year-old 18-time PBA Tour winner Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., the 2007 TOC champion.

Also in the thick of the race for Sunday’s finalists were 52-year-old Norm Duke, who ranks third on the list of all-time PBA Tour title winners (38): 54-year-old Pete Weber, a 37-time PBA Tour title winner and co-holder of the record for most major titles (10) with the late Earl Anthony and European star Dom Barrett of England.

Also in the mix for Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET stepladder finals, which will be held on specially-constructed pair of lanes in FireLake Arena, are 2016 TOC top qualifier Mitch Beasley, 38, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran; 2010 PBA World Champion Tom Smallwood; 2015 PBA Rookie of the Year Marshall Kent, and 11-time Tour titlist Sean Rash, the 2012 TOC winner.

The top 16 players after 31 games will bowl a final eight-game qualifying round Saturday at 10 a.m. ET to determine the top five for Sunday’s live ESPN finals at 1 p.m. ET.

Fans can follow scoring as it happens on pba.com’s Live Scoring feature. All qualifying rounds also are covered live on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video streaming service. To subscribe, visit xtraframe.tv. The live stepladder finals will air on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, and will be live streamed simultaneously on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

FIRELAKE PBA TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Friday

Fourth Round Standings (after 31 games)

1, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 7,439.
2, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 7,381.
3, Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla., 7,377.
4, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 7,337.
5, Dom Barrett, England, 7,311, $100.
6, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 7,259.
7, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 7,254.
8, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 7,198.
9, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 7,183.
10, Stuart Williams, England, 7,179.
11, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 7,169.
12, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 7,159.
13, B.J. Moore III, Greensburg, Pa., 7,152.
14, Anthony Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 7,139.
15, Brad Angelo, Lockport, N.Y., 7,097.
16, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 7,095.

Other Cashers (after 31 games):
17, Brad Miller, Maryland Heights, Mo., 7,084, $2,700.
18, Jason Sterner, Rockledge, Fla., 7,058, $2,600.
19, Bill O'Neill, Langhorne, Pa., 7,054, $2,600.
20, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 7,043, $2,400.
21, Scott Newell, Deland, Fla., 7,012, $2,300.
22, Matthew O'Grady, Rahway, N.J., 7,007, $2,200.
23, Sean Lavery-Spahr, Pasadena, Texas, 6,986, $2,100.
24, Osku Palermaa, Finland, 6,844, $2,000.

Failed to advance (after 23 games):

25, Cameron Weier, Tacoma, Wash., 5,206.
26, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 5,200.
27, A.J. Johnson, Oswego, Ill., 5,197.
28, Rhino Page, Orlando, Fla., 5,183.
29, Dino Castillo, Highland Village, Texas, 5,181.
30, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 5,179.
31, DJ Archer, Friendswood, Texas, 5,176.
32, Ronnie Sparks Jr., Redford, Mich., 5,172.
33, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 5,161.
34, Bryan Goebel, Shawnee, Kan., 5,121.
35, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 5,108.
36, Bryon Smith, Roseburg, Ore., 5,107.
37, Andres Gomez, Colombia, 5,087.
38, Ronnie Russell, Marion, Ind., 5,085.
39, Josh Blanchard, Mesa, Ariz, 5,079.
40, Anthony Pepe, Elmhurst, N.Y., 5,060.
41, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., 5,057, $100.
42, Greg Ostrander, Freehold, N.J., 5,052.
43, Parker Bohn III, Jackson, N.J., 5,049.
44, Darren Tang, San Francisco, 5,046.
45 (tie), Dave Wodka, Beavercreek, Ohio, and Aaron Lorincz, Belleville, Mich., 5,029.
47, Jake Peters, Henderson, Nev., 5,001.
48, Tom Hess, Urbandale, Iowa, 4,992.
49, Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y., 4,978.
50, Mike Bailey, Irving, Texas, 4,966.
51, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Oxford, Fla., 4,948.
52, Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 4,947.
53 (tie), Graham Fach, Canada, and Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan., 4,944.
55, Blake Demore, Springfield, Mo., 4,934.
56, Shawn Maldonado, Houston, 4,913.
57 (tie), Paul Brewbaker II, Midwest City, Okla., and Connor Pickford, Plano, Texas, 4,897.
59, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 4,885.
60, w-Kelly Kulick, Union, N.J., 4,881.
61, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 4,879.
62, w-Clara Guerrero, Colombia, 4,845.
63, Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 4,835.
64, Mike Scroggins, Amarillo, Texas, 4,817.
65, Gary Faulkner Jr., Memphis, Tenn., 4,664.
66, Mike Edwards, Tulsa, Okla., withdrew.

300 Games: Bill O’Neill, E.J. Tackett, Pete Weber.

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