Stu Williams and the Tacketts, EJ and Zac, remain on the podium after qualifying at the PBA Shawnee Classic. The man in fourth place, however, was closer to the bottom of the standings than the top after Round 1 of qualifying.

Sean Lavery-Spahr averaged more than 253 during the eight-game second round, racking up three games over 270 down the stretch to climb from 48th to fourth at Firelake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla.

“When I came in today, I didn’t really have a goal,” Lavery-Spahr said. “It just came together. I bowled 257 the first game and I felt like I had pretty good ball reaction and feel.”

After grinding out a 215 in Game 4, Lavery-Spahr needed a massive surge to advance to match play. He said the 41-foot Bear pattern is typically not conducive to high scoring, but the way the lanes transitioned and his experience at Firelake helped him average a blistering 267.50 the last four games.

“I just put my head down,” he said. “I said ‘Make some good shots. If it works out, it works out. If not, at least you have some positives to build off of.’ Thankfully, I caught a couple good breaks in the middle of those three 270 games and it all worked out.”

Also advancing to match play are Dom Barrett, Matt Ogle, Joseph Grondin, Anthony Simonsen, Dick Allen, DJ Archer, Tomas Käyhkö and Sam Cooley.

Cooley will aim for his second consecutive title, while Grondin, a 24-year-old from San Pedro, Calif., makes his PBA Tour debut in the match play round.

“The last game, as some people probably saw on BowlTV, I was pretty emotional,” Grondin said. “I knew that I was close (to the cut), but I also knew that I was okay as long as I kept pressing.”

Grondin said urethane had been thrown on his final pair earlier in the day, which forced him to move right and change balls. After an open frame in the sixth frame, he struck on his final six shots to ensure his spot in Friday’s match play round.

Despite the exhilaration of a new career-best week, Grondin said he is trying to stay neutral as he pursues his first career title.

“Just stay in the fight as long as you can,” Grondin said of his mindset this week. “Do what works well for your game with what others are doing, and just go forward from there — but it takes a lot of work to get to that point. Don’t fool yourself about that.”

The first half of round-robin match play begins at 11 a.m. ET Friday, Feb. 17 on BowlTV. After the final six games wrap up on Friday afternoon, the top four players will advance to the stepladder finals at 7 p.m. ET.

Match Play Advancers

  1. Stu Williams, 3,868 (+668)
  2. EJ Tackett, 3,833 (+633)
  3. Zac Tackett, 3,751 (+551)
  4. Sean Lavery-Spahr, 3,672 (+472)
  5. Dom Barrett, 3,658 (+458)
  6. Matt Ogle, 3,619 (+419)
  7. Joseph Grondin, 3,614 (+414)
  8. Anthony Simonsen, 3,604 (+404)
  9. Dick Allen, 3,602 (+402)
  10. DJ Archer, 3,590 (+390)
  11. Tomas Käyhkö, 3,590 (+390)
  12. Sam Cooley, 3,564 (+364)

Full standings are available here.

Tournament Schedule

Friday, Feb. 17
11 a.m. ET — Round-robin Match Play Round 1 (six games)
3 p.m. ET — Round-robin Match Play Round 2 (six games) — top 4 overall players advance
7 p.m. ET — Stepladder finals

More information on the PBA Shawnee Classic is available here.


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