Cooley Ready for PBA Playoffs

By Matt Stevens
April 23, 2021

Sam Cooley is ready to face off against the top 2021 PBA bowlers at this year’s KIA PBA Playoffs, which kicks off from the 25th of April (Australian time) in Milford, Connecticut.

The 2021 Kia PBA Playoffs is an invitational event made up of the top 16 PBA players of the 2021 Guaranteed Rate PBA Tour. The 16 players are invited based on 2021 points accumulated during the PBA Players Championship, Kia PBA Tournament of Champions, the PBA World Series of Bowling (five events), the USBC Masters and U.S. Open.

Competitors will compete for a $100K first-place prize, PBA Tour title, and a WWE Championship title in a head-to-head, bracket-style, race-to-two-games elimination tournament.

One of the 16 professionals to feature is Australian superstar Sam Cooley. The 29-year-old from Shellharbour Tenpin Bowl in New South Wales has undoubtedly had his best season on tour in 2021.

Cooley is the number eleven seed in the 2021 KIA PBA Playoffs. A seeding received from extraordinary performances at the World Series of Bowling, USBC Masters (6th place) and US Open (6th place). The highlight of his season winning his maiden PBA career title after claiming the PBA Cheetah Championship at the World Series of Bowling in March.  The collection of outstanding performances delivering a debut appearance at the PBA Playoffs.   

“I’m more satisfied than excited about making the playoffs for the first time”, said Sam. “Across the swing, I was very consistent leading into the Cheetah show and the 2 USBC Majors in Reno. I figured to make the playoffs; I needed to have two good showings in these events – At the Masters, I just missed the show due to bad luck on my end, and at the US Open, I was beaten for the final spot. Two sixth-place finishes with x3 point multipliers got me safely over the line”.

American Kyle Troup received the top seed for the Playoffs. Troup led the field in points with three-top seven finishes in majors this season, including his victory in the PBA Players Championship. Fellow Australian Jason Belmonte will be an omission from the event this year after opting not to participate, returning home to Australia for the birth of his fourth child. Belmonte qualified as the 14th seed.

Joining the PBA Tour in 2015, Sam’s road to success has been a long one that has involved perseverance and hard work. The 2021 PBA Tour has been unlike any other in recent memory. Organisers have bravely navigated through the global pandemic of COVID-19 and the related health and safety procedures that must be followed. For Sam, some of the differences may have played a part in his year’s success on the lanes.

“Having more than a couple of weeks in between events to physically work on my game from the ground up again – it’s been one good thing to come out of the covid-forced time off”, explained Sam. “The other key to success has been that I have spent a lot of time talking with Dr. Dean Hinitz over the phone/skype. He’s been vital to me adjusting my mindset and giving me the techniques needed to be successful, but also to realise my potential and stay out of my own way mentally”.

The round of 16 will see the number eleven seeded Cooley come up against number six seed Jesper Svensson on Monday the 3rd of May at 9 am AEST.

“Playing against Jesper is going to be a challenge, just as much if I were to play anyone else in that field,” said Sam. “My main goals are to only focus on what I can control and the process I’ve established through countless hours of practice and help from the tour reps”.

The 2021 PBA season has showcased the true potential of this quiet achiever from down under. We wish Sam all the best of luck on his PBA Playoffs debut and continue to be very proud of his achievements this year.

Follow all the news on pba.com and flobowling.com. All Australians can stream the event if they are a FloBowling subscriber. Sam’s round of 16 matchup against Jesper Svensson is scheduled for Monday the 3rd of May at 9am AEST.

Kia PBA Playoffs Champions Since 2019

2019 – Kris Prather

2020 – Bill O’Neill

The TV schedule and matches are as follows:

Please note- times can change at anytime, so please keep up to date with PBA.com and Flobowling.com for the latest news and developments.

Kia PBA Playoffs: Round of 16 – Sunday, April 25, 1 am. AEST

No. 1 Kyle Troup vs. No. 16 Andrew Anderson

No. 8 Anthony Simonsen vs. No. 9 Thomas Larsen

Kia PBA Playoffs: Round of 16 – Monday, April 26, 3.30am AEST

No. 4 Francois Lavoie vs. No. 13 Dick Allen

No. 5 Jakob Butturff vs. No. 12 Bill O’Neill

Kia PBA Playoffs Round of 16 – Sunday, May 2, 1.30am AEST

No. 2 Chris Via vs. No.15 Cristian Azcona

No. 7 Kristopher Prather vs. No. 10 EJ Tackett

Kia PBA Playoffs: Round of 16 – Monday, May 3, 9.00 am AEST

No. 3 Tom Daugherty vs. No. 14 Jason Sterner

No. 6 Jesper Svensson vs. No. 11 Sam Cooley

Kia PBA Playoffs: Quarterfinals – Monday, May 10, 2.00am AEST

Matches TBD after Round of 16

Kia PBA Playoffs: Quarterfinals – Tuesday, May 11, 10.00am AEST

Matches TBD after Round of 16

Kia PBA Playoffs: Semifinals – Sunday, May 16, 1.00am AEST

Matches TBD after Quarterfinals

Kia PBA Playoffs: Finals – Monday, May 17, 4.00am AEST

Matches TBD after Semifinals

The 2021 PBA Playoffs competitors’ points are as follows:

1.            Kyle Troup – 17450

2.            Chris Via – 16406

3.            Tom Daugherty – 15430

4.            Francois Lavoie – 15045

5.            Jakob Butturff – 14361

6.            Jesper Svensson – 12115

7.            Kristopher Prather – 11520

8.            Anthony Simonsen – 11515

9.            Thomas Larsen – 10757.5

10.          EJ Tackett – 10645

11.          Sam Cooley – 9804

12.          Bill O’Neill – 9327.5

13.          Dick Allen – 9305

14.          Jason Sterner – 8710

15.          Cristian Azcona – 8205

16.          Andrew Anderson – 8120

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