ALLEN PARK, Mich. (May 29, 2018) – After the second total-pinfall positioning round bowled on two new PBA lane conditions, defending champion EJ Tackett and 2017 runner-up Jason Belmonte secured the top qualifying positions for their respective group’s semifinal stepladder final rounds of the PBA Tour Finals. Positioning round qualifying aired Tuesday on the CBS Sports Network.
After a total of four games bowled on four different lane conditions at Thunderbowl Lanes, Tackett led Group 2 players with a 912 four-game pinfall total followed by Jesper Svensson with 900, Marshall Kent 870 and Tommy Jones 843. Belmonte led Group 1 with 974 total pins followed by Anthony Simonsen 953, Dom Barrett 825 and Sean Rash, 819.
The eight finalists earned their berths in the PBA Tour Finals as the top money earners on the Go Bowling! PBA Tour in the 2016, 2017 and first four months of the 2018 season.
Tackett entered the second positioning round in second place with a 448 pinfall total based on games of 236 and 212 bowled the previous week on the 36-foot Johnny Petraglia condition and 42-foot Mark Roth lane condition. In the closely contested second round, the 2016 PBA Player of the Year bowled 206 on the 39-foot Don Carter condition and 258 on the 45-foot Dick Weber condition.
“Our group was very close,” said Tackett. “I think in the second game I was fourth at one time but I was able to put some strikes together and doubled in the 10th to move into the lead.
“Bowling on these conditions in a fast pace, you go into it looking at each condition with your best guess on equipment and how you want to play the lane, but what usually happens is that it comes down to the breaks you get and I had my share of breaks,” Tackett concluded.
Belmonte came into the second round after leading last week’s first round with a 491 total with games of 236 and 255 bowled on the Petraglia and Roth conditions. In the second round, Belmonte bowled 204 on the Carter condition and 279 on the Weber lane condition to retain his lead.
“The first game was definitely a struggle for me,” said the four-time and reigning PBA Player of the Year. “I just had to get through it. I needed to get some good breaks but didn’t get them. If you can’t strike you want to leave single pin spares but I had to deal with some challenging spares in that game.
“I was looking forward to bowling on the Weber pattern, but I know Anthony (Simonsen) was too because it’s a condition we both like,” Belmonte added. “It could have gone either way. As so often happens it comes down to who gets the breaks.”
As the top qualifiers in their groups, Belmonte and Tackett both chose the Weber condition for their semifinal round stepladder matches. The Group 1 stepladder semifinal will air on CBS Sports Network June 5 at 8 p.m. ET with Dom Barrett bowling Sean Rash in the first match. Simonsen will take on the winner, and Belmonte will bowl a best-of-two-game match against whomever survives the second match. In the Group 2 stepladder which will air June 12 at 8 p.m., Jones and Kent will bowl the opening match, Svensson will bowl the winner, and Tackett will face the second match winner in their best-of-two-game final match.
The winner of each semifinal stepladder will battle it out in a best-of-two-game match for the PBA Tour Final championship on Tuesday, June 19 at 8 p.m. ET. Preceding the championship final, the second place-place qualifiers in each of the group stepladders will compete against each other in the third-place match.
PBA TOUR FINALS POSITIONING ROUND 2 RESULTS
Thunderbowl Lanes, Allen Park, Mich.
(Aired Tuesday on CBS Sports Network)
(Combined four-game pinfall with positioning round 2 games in parentheses. First game bowled on Don Carter 39-foot lane condition. Second game bowled on Dick Weber 45-foot condition. All players advance to semifinal stepladder round)
1, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 974 (204, 279)
2, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 953 (218, 252)
3, Dom Barrett, England, 825 (238, 237)
4, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 819, (225, 215)
1, EJ Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 912 (206, 258)
2, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 900 (226, 227)
3, Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., 870 (222, 190
4, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., 843 (243, 181)
CBS Sports Network Remaining PBA Tour Finals Telecast Schedule
All times Eastern
June 5 – 8 p.m. - PBA Tour Finals – Semifinals 1
June 12 – 8 p.m. - PBA Tour Finals – Semifinals 2
June 19 – 8 p.m. - PBA Tour Finals – Championship