The five finalists for the 2023 U.S. Open at Indianapolis’ Royal Pin Woodland were determined on Saturday afternoon and a familiar name led the 48-game marathon.

For the second straight year, EJ Tackett earned the No. 1 seed for the U.S. Open finals. He paced the field with a total pinfall of 10,858, leading the next-best player by 120 pins.

Tackett will be the top for the stepladder finals, airing at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5 live on FOX. With a win, he would claim his third career major title and become the ninth player in PBA history to complete the Triple Crown.

Tomas Käyhkö, Anthony Simonsen and Richie Teece also qualified for Sunday’s championship round by earning top-four seeds.

Simonsen, the defending champion, is seeking his fifth career major title, while Käyhkö and Teece are making their major championship debuts.

The final competitor with hopes of donning the prestigious green jacket is Kyle Troup, who advanced from Saturday afternoon’s stepladder finals featuring the No. 5-9 qualifiers.

Troup, who slipped from the fourth to the fifth seed during the final two games of match play, defeated the No. 9 seed Justin Knowles in the final match of Saturday’s stepladder.

Knowles, a two-handed lefty from Michigan, was one of the last players to earn a spot in the pre-tournament qualifier. After earning his spot into the main field at the PTQ, he secured the final spot in the 24-player match play field, then the final spot on Saturday’s show. 

The 32-year-old’s late-game heroics came to an end against Troup. He needed two strikes in the 10th frame, but failed to make the proper adjustment and split for the second consecutive time on the right lane.

Troup, making his first U.S. Open match play appearance in seven tries, will bowl for the title tomorrow afternoon.

In the previous match, Knowles defeated Denmark’s Thomas Larsen, who made his second career televised round at a major championship.

Knowles and Larsen exchanged missed single-pins early in the match, but Larsen’s three-bagger in the sixth through eighth frames gave him the advantage. Larsen could have shut out Knowles with strikes in the ninth and 10th frames — when a pocket 7-10 split in the ninth frame ended his bid for a second major title.

In the second match, No. 7 seed Marshall Kent opened the game with a pocket 7-10 of his own. He responded with five strikes in a row and held a 15-pin lead through eight frames. A 2-10 split and open in the ninth frame opened the door for Knowles.

After Knowles left a 7-pin in the 10th frame, the match swung back into Kent’s hands. He left another 2-10 split and failed to convert the spare, allowing Knowles to advance.

In the opening match, Knowles took down Frank Snodgrass, a fellow Michigan native. Snodgrass struggled to carry, compiling five single-pin-spares in the first six frames. Then a pair of errant shots in the 8th and 11th shots gave Knowles all the room he needed.

Troup returns to the lanes for a showdown with England’s Teece, as the finals of the 2023 U.S. Open begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5 live on FOX.

Final Scores

Troup def. Knowles, 215-191

Knowles def. Larsen, 215-190

Knowles def. Kent, 206-198

Knowles def. Snodgrass, 211-203