ARLINGTON, Texas (Jan. 19, 2020) – After his induction into the Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Fame Saturday evening, Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, South Carolina, didn’t need any further validation of his place in bowling history, but the 41-year-old right-hander effectively put an exclamation point on that honor with a historic title match win in the PBA Hall of Fame Classic Sunday at the International Training and Research Center.
As the No. 2 seed for the stepladder finals televised live on FS1, Jones won the first tournament of the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour season for his 20th career PBA Tour title by beating top seed Darren Tang of Las Vegas, 300-237, in the championship match.
It was the 27th televised perfect game bowled in PBA Tour history and only the third in a title match. Bob Benoit and Mike Aulby were the others to bowl 300 games in a televised title match. Benoit beat Mark Roth 300-225 to win the 1988 PBA Quaker State Open and Aulby beat David Ozio 300-279 to win the 1993 PBA Wichita Open.
“I don’t even know what to think right now – it’s been a crazy week and an even crazier day,” said Jones, whose last tour win came in the 2019 PBA Bowlerstore.com Classic. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top this.
“When I got the strike in the ninth frame, it actually took some pressure off for the 10th frame because I had already won the match,” he added. “At that point I felt like I was in good shape to take a victory lap.”
Jones also joined three other PBA greats who made a tour telecast in the same week that they were inducted into the Hall of Fame: Earl Anthony in 1981, Mike Durbin, who won his third PBA Tournament of Champions in 1984, and Mark Roth in 1987.
For everyone, including Jones, his 300 game was certainly unexpected after grinding out a 190-169 semifinal match win against No. 5 seed fellow Hall of Famer Chris Barnes of nearby Double Oak, Texas, who also was trying for his 20th career win.
“We both had trouble with the (lane condition) transition and it was just a matter of who could get to the finish line first,” said Jones. “If you would have told me that I could have bowled 225 after that, it would have been a stretch.
“I used the same ball on the left lane but with a little more surface and changed to a ball that would hook earlier on the right lane,” Jones added. “I felt very comfortable with that change but still never could have predicted a 300.”
All competition during the tournament was conducted on a dual lane condition – PBA’s 45-foot Dick Weber condition on the left lane and 39-foot Mike Aulby condition on the right lane.
For the 26-year-old Tang, a three-time All-American at San Jose State in his fourth season on tour, it was his third runner-up finish.
In the opening stepladder match Barnes, who was also trying for his 20th career title, defeated 2019 Hall of Fame Classic runner-up seven-time tour winner Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, 258-223.
In the second match Barnes beat five-time PBA Tour winner two-hander Osku Palermaa of Finland, who was trying for his first tour win in almost five years, 254-249, to advance to the semifinal against Jones.
The Go Bowling PBA Tour travels to Shawnee, Oklahoma, for the second stop of the season, the PBA Oklahoma Open at the FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Jan. 20-26. FloBowling will provide live-streaming of all qualifying and match play rounds. The finals of the Oklahoma Open will air live on FS1 Sunday, Jan. 26, at 1 p.m. ET.
PBA HALL OF FAME CLASSIC
(a 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour event)
International Training and Research Center, Arlington, Texas, Sunday
1, Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C., $30,000
2, Darren Tang, Las Vegas, $15,000
3, Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, $9,000
4, Osku Palermaa, Finland, $7,000
5, Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Ariz., $5,000
Jones also earned a $10,000 bonus for bowling a televised perfect game.
Match One: Barnes def. Butturff, 258-223.
Match Two: Barnes def. Palermaa, 254-249.
Semifinal Match: Jones def. Barnes, 190-169.
Championship: Jones def. Tang, 300-237.