BY JEF GOODGER
The top eight PBA Tour players based on competition points earned over the past two seasons will compete in the PBA Tour Finals with nine hours of live coverage this weekend on CBS Sports Network. Held for the first time at Strikerz Bowling at Angel of the Winds Casino, PBA Tour Finals qualifying rounds begin Saturday at 3 p.m. ET and the group stepladder finals and championship match air Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on CBSSN.
PBA Tour Finals Field
Seeding for the PBA Tour Finals is determined by combined 2021 and 2022 PBA Tour points.
The players are divided into two groups for the qualifying and stepladder rounds. Belmonte, Troup, Prather and Daugherty make up Group 1. Simonsen, Tackett, Butturff and Barrett form Group 2.
Simonsen vs. Troup
For the past two seasons, the championship match has been the same: Anthony Simonsen vs. Kyle Troup. Simonsen is the defending champion, getting revenge on Troup who won the title in 2020. The winners of each group stepladder advance to the championship match, and with Simonsen and Troup in different groups, it’s possible we could see a rubber match. The championship match is contested in a Race to 2 Points format, with a 9th/10th-frame roll-off breaking a 1-1 tie if necessary.
Troup is coming off his second consecutive PBA Playoffs championship and a win in the Tour Finals would make it three straight seasons in which Troup claimed multiple PBA Tour titles.
Belmonte, Simonsen and Tackett Qualify Again
Only two players have competed in all five PBA Tour Finals events since its inception in 2017: EJ Tackett and Simonsen. Jason Belmonte has qualified for all five, but didn’t participate in 2020 or 2021. All three players are former champions (Tackett is the only player to have won the event twice) and all three are in the field this year, with Belmonte the No. 1 seed, Simonsen second and Tackett third.
Belmonte is looking to win his fifth title of the season, which would be the first time he’s ever won five titles in a single season (he won four in 2017 as well as so far in 2022). Simonsen already owns two majors this year (U.S. Open and USBC Masters) and would win three titles in a season for the first time in his career if he can successfully defend his Tour Finals title. Tackett has a win among 10 top-10 finishes this season and leads the PBA Tour in average.
Tom Daugherty, the eighth seed, is the only player in the field making his PBA Tour Finals debut. The 2021 PBA World Champion will be looking for his fifth career title against seven players who have bowled in this unique format before. As noted, Simonsen and Tackett have competed all five years of the event’s existence. Prather is making his fourth straight appearance and all other players are competing for the third time. Barrett is making his return after two years outside the top eight and Butturff re-enters after missing the top eight last year.
PBA Fans will be able to live-stream the PBA Tour Finals on CBS Sports Network. Select highlights will be available on @PBATour social handles across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
PBA TOUR FINALS TELEVISION SCHEDULE
Strikerz Bowling in Angel of the Winds Casino – Arlington, Wash.
Saturday, June 4
3-5 p.m. ET – Group 1 Positioning Round
5-7 p.m. ET – Group 2 Positioning Round
Sunday, June 5
3-5 p.m. ET – Group 1 Stepladder Finals
5-7 p.m. ET – Group 2 Stepladder Finals
7-8 p.m. ET – Championship
PBA TOUR FINALS WINNERS SINCE 2017
2017 – EJ Tackett
2018 – Jason Belmonte
2019 – EJ Tackett
2020 – Kyle Troup
2021 – Anthony Simonsen
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