Eight of the Go Bowling! PBA Tour’s top performers based on competition points earned over a two-year span – including defending champion and Australian, Jason Belmonte – will take center stage at this weekend’s Barbasol PBA Tour Finals presented by Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas.
Belmonte, a four-time PBA Player of the Year award winner who won the PBA World Championship for a record 11th career PBA Tour major this season, led qualifying for the 2019 event after he accumulated 46,770 points in PBA Tour competition over the 24-month span ending with the USBC Masters on April 1.
Belmonte won the 2018 PBA Tour Finals by defeating 2017 winner EJ Tackett 2-1 in the Race to 2 Points title match at Thunderbowl Lanes in suburban Detroit. After splitting the first two games, Belmonte won the 9th and 10th frame roll-off 40-26 for the title.
Also qualifying for the 2019 Tour Finals are 2019 USBC Masters champion Jakob Butturff (40,267 points); 2019 PBA Players Championship winner Anthony Simonsen (38,919); Tackett (37,692); 2019 PBA Playoffs winner Kris Prather (31,266); reigning PBA Player of the Year Andrew Anderson (30,983); Marshall Kent (29,447), and 2019 PBA Hall of Fame Classic champion Bill O’Neill (28,937).
In another PBA landmark televised event, CBS Sports Network will air four live two-hour shows and the one-hour finale from the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa (two shows on Saturday, July 20 and three on Sunday, July 21).
The Barbasol PBA Tour Finals will incorporate the same format as 2018 with the eight-player field divided into two four-player groups. The field will bowl four games of qualifying in their respective groups. The four-game pinfall totals for each player will be used to determine the seeding for a separate stepladder finals in each group. The final match of each group’s stepladder will be a “Race to Two Points” match with each game worth one point and, if the two games are split, the final point is awarded via a 9th and 10th frame roll off. The two group winners will then meet in another “Race to Two Points” championship match that will also use a 9th and 10th frame roll-off should there be a tie after two games.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights for the eight finalists:
Jason Belmonte, Australia: The two-handed PBA Tour Finals defending champion won the 2019 PBA Tournament of Champions and PBA World Championship earlier this year for his 10th and 11th PBA Tour major victories to top the all-time majors list. He also won the Chameleon Championship and Japan Cup. In 2018 he won the Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship with Bill O’Neill. He also concluded the 2017 season by winning the PBA World Championship.
Jakob Butturff, Tempe, Arizona: The left-hander won the PBA Oklahoma Open, PBA Lubbock Sports Shootout and the USBC Masters this season for his first major title. He was runner-up in the season-opening 2019 PBA Hall of Fame Classic, the DHC PBA Japan Invitational and PBA World Championship. In 2018 he won two PBA Tour titles.
Anthony Simonsen, Little Elm, Texas: The 22-year-old two-hander won the 2019 PBA Players Championship to become the youngest player to win two majors. He had a runner-up finish in the 2019 Go Bowling! PBA Jonesboro Open and won two titles in 2018.
EJ Tackett, Bluffton, Indiana: Was the 2018season’s only three-time winner. Finished second in the 2019 PBA Tournament of Champions, third in the Go Bowling! PBA Jonesboro Open and fifth in the PBA Players Championship. He won the inaugural PBA Tour Finals in 2017 and finished second to Belmonte in 2018.
Kris Prather, Plainfield, Illinois: Won the PBA Scorpion Championship in 2019 for his first Go Bowling! PBA Tour title, ending a streak of seven top-five and four third-place finishes over the past two seasons. Won the inaugural PBA Playoffs earlier in 2019.
Andrew Anderson, Holly, Michigan: Earned PBA Player of the Year honors in 2018 with the help of two wins including the USBC Masters. Finished third in the 2018 PBA Tournament of Champions.
Marshall Kent, Yakima, Washington: Finished third in the 2019 PBA Tournament of Champions. In 2018 had five championship round appearances including third in the PBA Players Championship and fifth in the U.S. Open. Also had two wins in the second half of the 2017 season.
Bill O’Neill, Langhorne, Pennsylvania: PBA Playoffs runner-up won the 2019 season-opening PBA Hall of Fame Classic for his 10th career tour win. Finished third in the PBA Scorpion Championship and fourth in the PBA World Championship. In 2018 he won the Roth-Holman Doubles Classic with Jason Belmonte and finished second in the Xtra Frame Parkside Lanes Open.
BARBASOL PBA TOUR FINALS
Presented by Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa
CBS Sports Network television schedule (all times Eastern)
Saturday, July 20
3 p.m. – Group 1 total pinfall round (four games)
5 p.m. – Group 2 total pinfall round (four games)
Sunday, July 21
3 p.m. – Group 1 Stepladder Finals
5 p.m. – Group 2 Stepladder Finals
7 p.m. – Championship Match.