EJ Tackett Moves in Front at PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers
EJ Tackett, who has earned the top seed in three of four majors, has moved into the lead of the PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers.
Tackett averaged 231.71 across 24 games of qualifying, including 12 games on the 39-foot Carter pattern on Tuesday. The 30-year-old overtook the lead during Wednesday’s competition on the 45-foot Weber pattern.
Jakob Butturff, who defeated Tackettt at the PBA Scorpion Championship two weeks ago, also held the lead at times throughout Wednesday’s competition. He trails Tackett by 33 pins entering Thursday’s advancer rounds.
Chris Via, Matt Russo and Anthony Simonsen round out the top five players through 24 games. Simonsen sat in 47th place following Tuesday’s qualifying, but averaged over 231 to climb into the top five.
Bill O’Neill, who led the first round of qualifying, sits in seventh place. Defending champion Jason Belmonte is in 16th place, averaging 218.42.
Ramsey Basurto entered the final round of qualifying as the cut in 42nd place. While he had advanced to the main field in five of nine pre-tournament qualifiers this season, he had yet to finish better than 45th.
With a final six-game block of 1,354, Basurto climbed into 20th place to make his first career cut on the PBA Tour.
“This was a blessing today,” Basurto said. “It feels good to finally get like a monkey off my back, first cash ever in a national event and it’s nice to be at a major.”
Basurto said he has stuck to a predetermined gameplan too often this season, which has contributed to his poor performances late in tournaments. Today, he listened to what his ball motion told him to do.
“I literally grabbed my urethane as the last ball out of the paddock and just smashed it with some surface,” Basurto said. “I was trying it on the outside to break the lanes down. It actually had a good shape on this bay and I stuck with it.”
Players said the newer lane surfaces on the high end of Bowlero North Brunswick, lanes 49-82, have played more difficult throughout the week. Basurto was too busy striking to notice.
Wesley Low Jr. and Samuel DeWitt III earned the final two spots inside the cut at +307.
The top 42 players will return to the lanes for two six-game advancer rounds at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday.
After those dozen games, the field will be trimmed to the top 24 players. Players will face a dual-pattern format — Weber on the left lane and Carter on the right lane — for the duration of the tournament.
After 12 more games on Friday, the top 12 players advance to the televised bracket finals.
Tackett’s younger brother, Zac, sits in 12th place through four rounds. The brothers are competing with heavy hearts this week as their grandfather, Gomer Tackett, passed away on Monday morning.
Leaders Through Round 4
- EJ Tackett, 5,585 (+785)
- Jakob Butturff, 5,552 (+752)
- Chris Via, 5,402 (+602)
- Matt Russo, 5,362 (+562)
- Anthony Simonsen, 5,361 (+561)
- Keven Williams, 5,357 (+557)
- Bill O’Neill, 5,349 (+549)
- Dom Barrett, 5,331 (+531)
- Tom Daugherty, 5,258 (+458)
- Jesper Svensson, 5,257 (+457)
Full standings are available here.
All times are listed in Eastern.
Thursday, May 4 | BowlTV
11 a.m. — Advancers Round 1 (six games)
5 p.m. — Advancers Round 2 (six games)
Friday, May 5 | BowlTV
11 a.m. — Top-24 Round (six games)
5:30 p.m. — Top-18 Round (six games)
Saturday, May 6 | FS1
10 p.m. — Round of 12 (single-game matches)
Tickets for the 4 p.m. taping are available here.
Sunday, May 7 | FS1
Noon — Round of Eight (Race-to-Two matches)
4 p.m. — Round of Eight (Race-to-Two matches)
Tickets for the shows are available here.
Saturday, May 13 | FS1
12:30 p.m. — Round of Four (Race-to-Two matches)
Sunday, May 14 | FOX
1 p.m. — Championship Round (Best-of-Five match)
More information on the PBA Players Championship presented by Snickers is available here.