Tournament of Champions Heads to Oklahoma; Live ESPN Finals Set for Feb. 7

by Gianmarc Manzione 0


After hosting two highly successful Professional Bowlers Association Summer Swing events in 2014 and 2015, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Grand Casino Resort & Hotel, and FireLake Bowling Center and Arena will partner with the PBA to host the organization’s signature event in 2016, the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions.

The premier event for PBA champions will take place Jan. 30-Feb. 7, concluding with live ESPN coverage of the five-player stepladder finals staged in a special installation inside FireLake Arena at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 7. All preliminary rounds will be conducted across the parking lot at 24-lane FireLake Bowling Center.

The 2016 PBA Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremonies will be part of the package.

“Citizen Potawatomi Nation and its properties have been outstanding partners,” said PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark. “This is going to be a very special week for our players and all of our fans.”

Chris Skillings, Director of FireLake Bowling Center, said the sponsorship agreement is part of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s strategy to make the Grand Casino Resort & Hotel complex a focal point for visitors to Oklahoma.

“We are thrilled to partner with our friends at FireLake Arena to host the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions,” Skillings said. “Citizen Potawatomi Nation has proven that we are a premier destination for PBA events in recent years, and the Tournament of Champions will only build on that.”

The 2016 FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions will include a field of 96 players, including 72 PBA Tour title holders based on the number of titles each player has won, and 24 additional PBA champions who will qualify during a special TOC Regional qualifying event that will precede the first major championship of the 2016 PBA season.

The TOC gets underway with 96 players bowling eight-game qualifying squads at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 2-3. After 16 games, the top 40 advance to an eight-game cashers’ round at 10 a.m. Thursday. Based on 24-game pinfall totals, the top 24 will advance to eight-game round-robin match play rounds at 5 p.m. Thursday, and 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday. The top five players after 48 games will compete for the $50,000 first prize during Sunday’s ESPN finals.

The TOC week schedule also includes practice squads on Monday, Feb. 1, with the PBA Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremonies at 6 p.m. at the Grand Casino Resort & Hotel. Saturday, Feb. 6, will be a day of pro-am squads when Oklahoma grassroots league bowlers will bowl alongside PBA stars for their own prizes.

Australia’s Jason Belmonte is the two-time defending champion. He will attempt to join Jason Couch as the second player to win three consecutive TOC titles.

All of the preliminary rounds of TOC week, including the TOC Regional, PBA Hall of Fame ceremonies and TOC qualifying and match play rounds, will be covered live, exclusively on PBA’s Xtra Frame online video-streaming service. For Xtra Frame subscriptions, visit and click on the Xtra Frame link.


FireLake Bowling Center, Shawnee, Okla., Jan. 30-Feb. 7 (times listed are Central)

Friday, Jan. 29

3 & 5 p.m. – TOC Regional practice sessions

Saturday, Jan. 30

8 a.m. – TOC Regional Squad A, 8 qualifying games (max. field 60)

2:30 p.m. - TOC Regional Squad B, 8 qualifying games (max. field 60)

Top 1/3 of combined field advance to cashers’ round

Sunday, Jan. 31

8:30 a.m. – TOC Regional cashers’ round, 5 games

Top 24 PBA TOC-eligible title winners based on 13 games advance to FireLake TOC; top 16 players in the field advance to modified match play round

Noon – TOC, top 16, 8 games modified round-robin match play

Winner decided based on 21 games, total pinfall including match play bonus pins.

Monday, Feb. 1

10 a.m. – PBA TOC Squad A practice session

2 p.m. – PBA TOC Squad B practice session

6 p.m. – PBA Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremonies (Grand Casino Resort & Hotel)

Tuesday, Feb. 2

10 a.m. – TOC Squad A, 8 qualifying games

5 p.m. – TOC Squad B, 8 qualifying games

Wednesday, Feb. 3

10 a.m. – TOC Squad B, 8 qualifying games

5 p.m. – TOC Squad A, 8 qualifying games

Top 40 players after 16 games advance to cashers’ round

Thursday, Feb. 4

10 a.m. – TOC top 40 cashers’ round, 8 games

Top 24 after 24 games advance to round-robin match play

5 p.m. – TOC top 24, 8 games match play

Friday, Feb. 5

10 a.m. – TOC top 24, 8 games match play

5 p.m. – TOC top 24, 8 games match play

Top 5 after 48 games advance to ESPN stepladder finals

Saturday, Feb. 6

tba – Pro-Am squads

Sunday, Feb. 7

1 p.m. (2 p.m. ET) – Top 5 ESPN stepladder finals

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