Tackett nears fourth consecutive championship round appearance 

EJ Tackett loves the opportunity to compete in his home state of Indiana. 

Through 24 games and the first elimination round, Tackett leads the Just Bare PBA Indiana Classic at David Small’s Championship Lanes in Anderson, Ind.

Dating back to 2021, Tackett has finished no lower than fourth place in each of the five PBA Tour title events in the Hoosier State.

“I've been bowling in these bowling centers my whole life, so that’s a huge advantage,” Tackett said. “When I go to make moves, I know what has happened every single time I've ever moved here. You can be a frame, or two or three ahead of everyone else and then you don't get in trouble.”

Tackett, averaging more than 246, has accumulated a total pinfall of 5,910 (+1,110) as the field has been trimmed to 24 players. 

“I feel like getting to the pocket is kind of the easy part,” Tackett said of the high scoring pace on the 37-foot Viper pattern. “A lot of balls will get there, it's just about getting the right roll and ball to get the pins to mix up and and knock them down. It’s all about leaving the least amount of 10-pins.”

Zach Wilkins, Kyle Troup, Pontus Andersson and Benjy Martinez round out the top five.

Wilkins fired games of 256, 279, 246, 279, 268 and 225 (a 1,553 six-game series) to climb into second place. The 27-year-old Canadian continues his breakout season as he steamrolls towards a fifth straight top-18 finish.

Aside from his U.S. Open title, Troup said his performances this season have been disappointing. He has finished 46th, 51st and 38th in the three non-U.S. Open events.

“I'm pretty excited to accomplish my goal, which was just to make a Classic tournament cut,” Troup said.

Troup credited his improved mental game for his strong performance thus far. He said he has been reading Mind Gym, a gift from Storm ball rep Jim Callahan, throughout rounds to keep his mind busy. (Although Troup admitted it’s the second time Callahan gifted him the book; he said the first copy is probably sitting in his dresser drawer.)

“The book is probably the only reason why I'm bowling as well as I am,” Troup said. “I felt like the biggest improvement that needed to happen was mentally because I’ve been in a bad headspace. It’s not Sudoku this week, though. I've been reading that book throughout bowling, more just to keep my mind busy. If not for the book, I would probably be all in my head and, who knows, I probably wouldn’t be making this cut.”

Stu Williams, sitting in seventh place, closed the first elimination round on Wednesday evening with his second 300 game of the tournament. A total of 10 perfect games have been thrown at the event so far.

Andrew Anderson (+715) earned the last spot in the cut with a 229.79 average.

The 24 remaining players will compete at 10 a.m. ET Thursday, with the top 12 players advancing to the final elimination round. AJ Chapman currently holds 12th place at +824, a 234.33 pace.

The final elimination round will begin at 6 p.m. ET.

All qualifying and match play rounds will be livestreamed on BowlTV.

The Just Bare PBA Indiana Classic finals will be held Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are available here.

More information on the Just Bare PBA Indiana Classic is available here.

Leaders after Elimination Round 1

  1. EJ Tackett, 5,910 (+1,110)
  2. Zach Wilkins, 5,870 (+1,070)
  3. Kyle Troup, 5,824 (+1,024)
  4. Pontus Andersson, 5,747 (+947)
  5. Benjy Martinez, 5,743 (+943)
  6. Arturo Quintero, 5,717 (+917)
  7. Stu Williams,  5,713 (+913)
  8. Tom Daugherty, 5,686 (+886)
  9. Marshall Kent, 5,666 (+866)
  10. Dom Barrett, 5,664 (+846)
  11. Wes Malott, 5,642 (+842)
  12. AJ Chapman, 5,624 (+824)
  13. Cristian Azcona, 5,623 (+823)
  14. Kris Prather, 5,618 (+818)
  15. Anthony Simonsen, 5,606 (+806)
  16. Jason Belmonte, 5,602 (+802)
  17. Matt Russo, 5,593 (+793)
  18. Timmy Tan, 5,573 (+773)
  19. Bailey Mavrick, 5,568 (+768)
  20. DJ Archer, 5,561 (+761)
  21. Tom Hess, 5,535 (+735)
  22. AJ Johnson, 5,518 (+718)
  23. Jesper Svensson, 5,516 (+716)
  24. Andrew Anderson, 5,515 (+715)

Full standings are available here.

Just Bare PBA Indiana Classic Schedule

David Small’s Championship Lanes | Anderson, IN

All times Eastern

Thursday, Feb. 22
10 a.m. — Elimination Round 2 (six games)
Cut to top 12 players; pins carry over
6 p.m. — Elimination Round 3 (six games)
Top five players advance to championship round

Saturday, Feb. 24
7:30 p.m. — Just Bare PBA Indiana Classic finals


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