RENO, Nev. – For the second year in a row, E.J. Tackett of Huntington, Ind., captured the top qualifying position for the stepladder finals of the PBA World Championship after the conclusion of match play Monday at the National Bowling Stadium.
Tackett, who finished second in last year’s World Championship after losing to winner Gary Faulkner Jr. 215-202 in the title match, compiled a 12-12 match play record and 62-game 14,747 overall pinfall total, including bonus pins, to lead No. 2 qualifier 2013 World Championship winner Dom Barrett of England who finished with a 14,616 pinfall and 17-7 match play record.
Tackett, Barrett, Jason Belmonte of Australia, 2009 World Championship winner Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Mich., and Anthony Simonsen of Austin, Texas will return for the live World Championship ESPN stepladder finals Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT). The World Championship is the fifth and final major championship of the PBA’s 2016 season.
Tackett, who won the PBA Xtra Frame Storm Open, PBA Bear Open and PBA Team Challenge titles earlier this season, could only manage a 3-5 record in Monday’s final match play round with games of 257, 247, 245, 237, 255, 235, 217 and 236 but it was enough to hold on to the tournament lead. Overall for the tournament, which was conducted on five different PBA lane conditions – Cheetah, Chameleon, Scorpion, Shark and World Championship – Tackett averaged 232.05.
“My match play record didn’t show it but I bowled really well,” said Tackett, who was the 2013 PBA Rookie of the Year, “Bowling this format isn’t necessarily the toughest as far as scoring but it’s definitely the toughest physically as far as I’m concerned. I can’t say I knew I could get to this point again, but this year I really came in with more confidence. You just never know until you get here.”
As top qualifier for the stepladder finals Tackett will have to bowl only one game for the title.
“With a finals field of players made up of proven winners, especially in majors, it won’t be easy,” Tackett added. “After the year I’ve had so far I’m hoping the boost of confidence will help me get it done this time. All I can do is give it my best.”
Barrett, also a four-time Tour winner, will be trying for his first win of the season and his first Tour title since winning the Qatar Open in 2014.
Belmonte, a 12-time Tour winner that includes six majors, earned the No. 3 qualifying position with a 14,544 pinfall total and 13-10-1 match play record. The three-time reigning Player of the Year will be trying for his first World Championship title and first win of the season.
Smallwood, the No. 4 qualifier, finished with a 14,443 pinfall total and 16-6-2 record. He will be trying for his third Tour title with his last coming in the 2013 Scorpion Championship.
Simonsen finished with a 14,411 pinfall total and 14-10 match play record and held on to the No. 5 qualifying position with a 287-254 win in the final position round match against Mitch Beasley of Clarksville, Tenn.
Simonsen, who will be trying for his third career Tour title, made PBA Tour history in February when he won the USBC Masters becoming the youngest to win a major at age 19 years and 39 days.
Tickets are still available for the World Championship finals which will be available at the door or in advance by ordering on pba.com.
The GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VIII presented by Silver Legacy Resort & Casino returns to action Tuesday with best-of-five-single elimination match play rounds of the Cheetah Championship presented by PBA Bowling Challenge Mobile Game and the Chameleon Championship presented by HotelPlanner.com.
All qualifying and match play rounds of the WSOB are being covered live, exclusively by PBA’s online video streaming service, Xtra Frame. For subscription information, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame link.
PBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev., Monday
FINAL MATCH PLAY STANDINGS (after 62 games, includes match play record and pinfall with bonus pins. Top five advance to live ESPN-televised finals Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT).
1, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., 12-12, 14,747.
2, Dom Barrett, England, 17-7, 14,616.
3, Jason Belmonte, Australia, 13-10-1, 14,554.
4, Tom Smallwood, Saginaw, Mich., 16-6-2, 14,443.
5, Anthony Simonsen, Austin, Texas, 14-10-0, 14,411.
6, Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., 14-10, 14,356, $11,000.
7, Mitch Beasley, Clarksville, Tenn., 10-14, 14,347, $10,100.
8, Brandon Novak, Chillicothe, Ohio, 11-12-1, 14,307, $9,100.
9, Wes Malott, Pflugerville, Texas, 12-12, 14,259, $8,600.
10, B.J. Moore III, Greensburg, Pa., 13-11-0, 14,258, $8,000.
11, Matthew McNiel, Minneapolis, Minn., 14-10, 14,213, $7,500.
12, Martin Larsen, Sweden, 14-10, 14,120, $7,000.
13, Patrick Girard, Canada, 14-10, 14,112, $6,500.
14, Jesper Svensson, Sweden, 13-11, 14,109, $6,100.
15, Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 8-16, 14,095, $5,700.
16, Francois Lavoie, Canada, 10-13-1, 14,059, $5,400.
17, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 12-12, 14,043, $5,300.
18, Thomas Larsen, Denmark, 10-14, 14,004, $5,000.
19, Patrick Dombrowski, Parma, Ohio, 13-11, 13,962, $4,800.
20, Sam Cooley, Australia, 8-15-1, 13,931, $4,600.
21, Kristopher Prather, Milton, Fla., 10-14, 13,900, $4,400.
22, Arturo Quintero, Mexico, 8-14-2, 13,864, $4,200.
23, Matthew O'Grady, South Amboy, N.J., 9-15, 13,756, $4,200.
24, Sean Rash, Montgomery, Ill., 8-14-2, 13,550, $4,000.